English has a lot of commonly confused words.
They either look alike, sound alike but have completely different meanings. Other words look and sound different but are similar in meaning, and it’s hard to comprehend which is the correct one in a given context. Even computer spell check won't catch these mistakes.

Here’s a list of pairs of words that regularly cause people problems


Accept - consent to receive or undertake
Except - not including; other than

Adapt - make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify
Adept - very skilled or proficient at something
Adopt - legally take (another’s child) and bring it up as one’s own

Adverse - unfavourable, harmful
Averse - strongly disliking; opposed

Advice – n. guidance or recommendations offered with regard to prudent action
Advise -v. offer suggestions about the best course of action to someone

Affect - have an effect on; make a difference to
Effect - a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause

Aid - help, typically of a practical nature
Aide - an assistant to an important person, especially a political leader

Airs - affected manners intended to impress others
Heirs - people legally entitled to the property or rank of another on that person’s death

Altar - a sacred table in a church
Alter - to change

All right - Of a satisfactory or acceptable quality
Alright - alright is a single word meaning "OK"

All together - applied to people or things that are being treated as a whole
Altogether - completely or totally

All ways - by every means or method
Always - at all times; on all occasions

Allude - suggest or call attention to indirectly; hint at
Elude - escape from or avoid (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skilful or cunning way

Allusion - an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference
Illusion - an instance of a wrong or misinterpreted perception of a sensory experience

Aloud - audibly; not silently or in a whisper
Allowed - let (someone) have or do something (past tense)

Alternately - with two things continually following and succeeded by each other; one after the other
Alternatively - as another option or possibility

Amiable - having or displaying a friendly and pleasant manner
Amicable - characterized by friendliness and absence of discord

Among - is used for three or more
Between - is used for two things

Amoral - lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something
Immoral - Not conforming to accepted standards of morality

Amount - is used with uncountable and abstract nouns
Number - is used with countable and concrete plural expressions

Any one - any one person
Anyone - anybody, any person at all

Appraise - assess the value or quality of
Apprise - inform or tell (someone)

As may be used as a conjunction that introduce dependent clauses. it may also be used as a preposition in comparative constructions
Like is a preposition is followed by a noun or pronoun. It may also be used as an adjective meaning "similar"

Ascent - a climb or walk to the summit of a mountain or hill
Assent - the expression of approval or agreement

Assure - tell someone something positively or confidently to dispel any doubts they may have
Ensure - make certain that (something) shall occur or be the case
Insure - arrange for compensation in the event of damage to or loss of (property), or injury to or the death of (someone)

Bad - of poor quality; inferior or defective
Badly - in an unsatisfactory, inadequate, or unsuccessful way (adverb)

Bazaar - a Middle Eastern market
Bizarre - strange

Belief - an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists (noun)
Believe - accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of (verb)

Berth - a bunk in a ship, train, etc.
Birth - the emergence of a baby from the womb

Beside - at the side of; next to (preposition)
Besides - in addition; as well (adverb)

Blonde - a person with fair hair and skin (woman)
Blond - a person with fair hair and skin (man)

Born - existing as a result of birth
Borne - carried or transported by

Borrow - take and use (something that belongs to someone else) with the intention of returning it
Lend - grant to (someone) the use of (something) on the understanding that it shall be returned
Loan - a thing that is borrowed, especially a sum of money that is expected to be paid back with interest

Brake - a device for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle, typically by applying pressure to the wheels
Break - an interruption of continuity or uniformity

Breach - to break through, or break a rule; a gap
Breech - the back part of a gun barrel

Breath - the air taken into or expelled from the lungs (noun)
Breathe - take air into the lungs and then expel it, especially as a regular physiological process (verb)

Bridal - of or concerning a bride or a wedding (adjective)
Bridle - the headgear used to control a horse, consisting of buckled straps to which a bit and reins are attached

Broach - to raise a subject for discussion
Brooch - a piece of jewellery

By – so as to go past (adverb)
Buy - a purchase
Bye - the transfer of a competitor directly to the next round of a competition in the absence of an assigned opponent

Canvas - a type of strong cloth
Canvass - to seek people’s votes

Cereal - a grass producing an edible grain; a breakfast food made from grains
Serial - happening in a series

Censor - an official who examines material that is about to be released, such as books, movies, news, and art, and suppresses any parts that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security
Sensor - a device that detects or measures a physical property and records, indicates, or otherwise responds to it
Censure - the expression of formal disapproval

Chord - a group of musical notes
Cord - a length of string; a cord-like body part

Cite - quote (a passage, book, or author) as evidence for or justification of an argument or statement, especially in a scholarly work
Site - an area of ground on which a town, building, or monument is constructed
Sight - the faculty or power of seeing

Climactic - forming a climax
Climatic - relating to climate

Coarse - rough or loose in texture or grain
Course - the route or direction followed by a ship, aircraft, road, or river

Complement - a thing that completes or brings to perfection
Compliment - a polite expression of praise or admiration

Conform - comply with rules, standards, or laws
Confirm - establish the truth or correctness of (something previously believed, suspected, or feared to be the case)

Congenial - (of a person) pleasant because of a personality, qualities, or interests that are similar to one's own
Congenital - (especially of a disease or physical abnormality) present from birth

Conscience - an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behaviour
Conscious - aware of and responding to one's surroundings; awake

Continual - frequently recurring; always happening
Continuous - forming an unbroken whole; without interruption

Corps - a main subdivision of an armed force in the field, consisting of two or more divisions
Corpse - a dead body, especially of a human being rather than an animal

Council - an advisory, deliberative, or administrative body of people formally constituted and meeting regularly
Counsel - advice, especially that given formally

Creak - (of an object, typically a wooden one) make a scraping or squeaking sound when being moved or when pressure is applied
Creek - a narrow, sheltered waterway, especially an inlet in a shoreline or channel in a marsh

Credible - able to be believed; convincing
Creditable - (of a performance, effort, or action) deserving public acknowledgement and praise but not necessarily outstanding or successful

Criteria - a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided (plural)
Criterion - a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided

Curb - to keep something in check; a control or limit
Kerb - the stone edge of a pavement

Currant - a dried grape
Current - happening now; a flow of water, air, or electricity

Dairy - A building or room for the processing, storage, and distribution of milk and milk products
Diary - A book in which one keeps a daily record of events and experiences

Defuse - to make a situation less tense
Diffuse - to spread over a wide area

Draught - a current of air
Draft - a first version of a piece of writing

Desert - abandon (a person, cause, or organization) in a way considered disloyal or treacherous
Dessert - the sweet course eaten at the end of a meal

Device - a thing made or adapted for a particular purpose, especially a piece of mechanical or electronic equipment
Devise - plan or invent (a complex procedure, system, or mechanism) by careful thought

Discreet - careful and prudent in one’s speech or actions, especially in order to keep something confidential or to avoid embarrassment
Discrete - individually separate and distinct

Disinterested - not influenced by considerations of personal advantage
Uninterested - not interested in or concerned about something or someone

Dual - having two parts
Duel - a fight or contest between two people

Each - to, for, or by every one of a group (used after a noun or an amount), used to refer to every one of two or more people or things, regarded and identified separately
Every - refers to all the members of a group inclusively

Elicit - evoke or draw out (a response, answer, or fact) from someone in reaction to one's own actions or questions
Illicit - forbidden by law, rules, or custom

Emigrant - a person who leaves their own country in order to settle permanently in another
Immigrant - a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country

Eminent - (of a person) famous and respected within a particular sphere or profession
Imminent - about to happen

Ensure - to make certain that something will happen
Insure - to provide compensation if a person dies or property is damaged

Envelop - to cover or surround
Envelope - a paper container for a letter

Explicit - stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt
Implicit - implied though not plainly expressed

Fair - in accordance with the rules or standards; legitimate
Fare - the money a passenger on public transportation has to pay

Farther - more distant in space than another item of the same kind
Further - additional or more

Fawn - a young deer; light brown
Faun - a mythical being, part man, part goat

Fewer - is used when talking about things that can be counted
Less - is used when talking about things that can't be counted

Forbear - politely or patiently restrain an impulse to do something; refrain
Forebear - an ancestor

Foreword - a short introduction to a book, typically by a person other than the author
Forward - in the direction that one is facing or travelling; towards the front

Forth - out and away from a starting point
Fourth - constituting number four in a sequence; 4th

Found - past and past participle of find
Founded - Establish or originate (an institution or organization)

Freeze - to turn to ice
Frieze - a decoration along a wall

Fun - activities that are enjoyable or amusing
Funny - arousing or provoking laughter

Gorilla - a powerfully built great ape with a large head and short neck, found in the forests of central Africa
Guerrilla - a member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces

Grisly - gruesome, revolting
Grizzly - a type of bear

Heroin - a highly addictive analgesic drug derived from morphine, often used illicitly as a narcotic producing euphoria
Heroine - a woman admired or idealized for her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities

Historic - famous or important in history, or potentially so
Historical - of or concerning history; concerning past events

Hoard - a stock or store of money or valued objects, typically one that is secret or carefully guarded
Horde - a large group of people

Interested - having or showing interest; especially curiosity or fascination or concern
Interesting - arousing or holding the attention

Incredible - impossible to believe
Incredulous - (of a person or their manner) unwilling or unable to believe something

Intolerable - unable to be endured
Intolerant - not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one's own

Its - is the possessive form of it
It's - is short for 'it is

Later - goodbye for the present; see you later
Latter - situated or occurring nearer to the end of something than to the beginning

Lay - not ordained into or belonging to the clergy
Lie - the way, direction, or position in which something lies

Lessen - make or become less; diminish
Lesson - an amount of teaching given at one time; a period of Learning or teaching

Lightening - to reduce the weight of
Lightning - electrical discharge in the sky

Loathe - feel intense dislike or disgust for
Loath - reluctant; unwilling

Loose - not firmly or tightly fixed in place; detached or able to be detached
Lose - be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something)

Marital - of or relating to marriage or the relations between husband and wife
Martial - of or appropriate to war; warlike

May be - might be
Maybe - perhaps

Peace - freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquillity
Piece - a portion of an object or of material, produced by cutting, tearing, or breaking the whole

Peek - a quick and typically furtive look
Pique - a feeling of irritation or resentment resulting from a slight, especially to one's pride
Peak - the pointed top of a mountain

Peer - a member of the nobility in Britain or Ireland, comprising the ranks of duke, marquees, earl, viscount, and baron
Pier - a structure leading out from the shore into a body of water, in particular

Perspective - the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point
Prospective - (of a person) expected or expecting to be something particular in the future

Plain - not decorated or elaborate; simple or ordinary in character
Plane - completely level or flat

Practice - the use of an idea or method; the work or business of a doctor, dentist, etc.
Practise - to do something repeatedly to gain skill; to do something regularly

Prescribe - to authorize use of medicine; to order authoritatively
Proscribe - to officially forbid something

Precede - come before (something) in time
Proceed - begin or continue a course of action

Premise - a previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion
Premises - a house or building, together with its land and outbuildings, occupied by a business or considered in an official context

Principal - first in order of importance; main
Principle - a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning

Profit - a financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating, or producing something
Prophet - a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God

Quiet - making little or no noise
Quite - to the utmost or most absolute extent or degree; absolutely; completely

Quote - a quotation from a text or speech
Quotation - a group of words taken from a text or speech and repeated by someone other than the original author or speaker

Rain - moisture condensed from the atmosphere that falls visibly in separate drops
Reign - the period during which a sovereign rules
Rein - a long, narrow strap attached at one end to a horse's bit, typically used in pairs to guide or check a horse while riding or driving

Real - actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed
Really - in actual fact, as opposed to what is said or imagined to be true or possible
Reality - the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them
Realty - real, fixed property

Receipt - the act of receiving, an acknowledgment (usually tangible) that payment has been made
Recipe - directions for making something

Regimen - a prescribed course of medical treatment, way of life, or diet for the promotion or restoration of health
Regiment - a permanent unit of an army typically commanded by a colonel and divided into several companies, squadrons, or batteries and often into two battalions

Respectable - regarded by society to be good, proper, or correct
Respectful - feeling or showing deference and respect
Respective - belonging or relating separately to each of two or more people or things
Respectfully - Feeling or showing deference and respect
Respectively - Separately or individually and in the order already mentioned

Retch - Make the sound and movement of vomiting
Wretch - An unfortunate or unhappy person

Rifle - A gun, especially one fired from shoulder level, having a long spirally grooved barrel intended to make a bullet spin and thereby have greater accuracy over a long distance
Riffle - Turn over something, especially the pages of a book, quickly and casually

Rise - Move from a lower position to a higher one; come or go up
Raise - an increase in salary
Arise - (of a problem, opportunity, or situation) emerge; become apparent

Sale - the exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something
Sell - give or hand over (something) in exchange for money

Seam - a line along which two pieces of fabric are sewn together in a garment or other article
Seem - give the impression or sensation of being something or having a particular quality

Sensual - of or arousing gratification of the senses and physical, especially sexual, pleasure
Sensuous - relating to or affecting the senses rather than the intellect
Sensible - able to feel or perceive

Sever - divide by cutting or slicing, especially suddenly and forcibly
Severe - (of something bad or undesirable) very great; intense

Shear - a strain in the structure of a substance produced by pressure, when its layers are laterally shifted in relation to each other
Sheer - nothing other than; unmitigated (used for emphasis)

Stationary - not moving or not intended to be moved
Stationery - writing paper, especially with matching envelopes

Storey - floor, level
Story - an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment

Straight - extending or moving uniformly in one direction only; without a curve or bend
Strait - (of a place) of limited spatial capacity; narrow or cramped

Than - introducing the second element in a comparison
Then - at that time; at the time in question

Their - belonging to or associated with the people or things previously mentioned or easily identified
There - in, at, or to that place or position
They're - is a contraction for “they are”

Titillate - to arouse interest
Titivate - to make more attractive

Tortuous - full of twists and turns
Torturous - characterized by, involving, or causing excruciating pain or suffering

Vicious - deliberately cruel or violent
Viscous - having a thick, sticky consistency between solid and liquid; having a high viscosity

Waist - the part of the human body below the ribs and above the hips
Waste - (of a material, substance, or by-product) eliminated or discarded as no longer useful or required after the completion of a process

Wary - feeling or showing caution about possible dangers or problems
Weary - feeling or showing tiredness, especially as a result of excessive exertion or lack of sleep

Wave - a long body of water curling into an arched form and breaking on the shore
Waive - refrain from insisting on or using (a right or claim)

Weak - lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks; lacking physical strength and energy
Week - a period of seven days

Wear - the wearing of something or the state of being worn as clothing
Ware - pottery, typically that of a specified type

Were - is past tense of are
We're - is a contraction for we are

Weather - the state of the atmosphere at a place and time as regards heat, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc
Whether - expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives

Wet - covered or saturated with water or another liquid
Whet - sharpen the blade of (a tool or weapon)

Which - asking for information specifying one or more people or things from a definite set
Witch - a woman thought to have evil magic powers

Who's - is a contraction for “who is”
Whose - belonging to or associated with which person

Wreath - a ring-shaped arrangement of flowers etc.
Wreathe - to surround or encircle

Wont - one's customary behaviour in a particular situation
Won't - is a contraction for “will not”

Your - belonging to or associated with the person or people that the speaker is addressing
You're - is a contraction for “you are”

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