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Confusing words in English

Updated: Feb 1, 2019

Homophones, Complex Grammar, Puzzling Pronunciation



Finally speak correctly and avoid making the most common mistakes in English language.








Affect or effect?


Affect is a verb meaning ‘influence or cause someone or something to change’:

The cold weather has really affected her health.
New technologies continue to affect how we live.

Effect is a noun that means ‘the result of an influence’:

The pollution in the city had a bad effect on me.
Most people these days understand the serious effects of smoking.

Source: English Grammar Today





Aisle vs Isle


Aisle - a long, narrow space between rows of seats in an aircraft, cinema, or church:


Would you like an aisle seat or would you prefer to be by the window?

Aisle - a long, narrow space between the rows of shelves in a large shop:


You'll find the shampoo and the soap in the fourth aisle from the entrance.

Isle - (used especially in place names) an island:


Explore the more remote Caribbean isles.

Source: www.dictionary.cambridge.org



Conscious vs Conscientious


Conscious - to notice that a particular thing or person exists or is present:


I think she's very conscious of being the only person in the office who didn't have a university education.

Conscientious - working hard and careful to do things well


She is a very conscientious student.

Source: www.dictionary.cambridge.org




Especially or specially?


Especially and specially are adverbs.

Especially means ‘particularly’ or ‘above all’:

She loves flowers, especially roses.
I am especially grateful to all my family and friends who supported me.
Not: Especially I am

We use specially to talk about the specific purpose of something:

This kitchen was specially designed to make it easy for a disabled person to use.
He has his shirts made specially for him by a tailor in London.

Source: English Grammar Today






Serious vs Series


Serious - not joking


I was serious when I said I liked your dress.

Series - a set of television or radio programmes that are all about a particular subject, person, or group of people


Friends is the best series ever! I didn't miss any of the episodes.




Compliment vs Complement


Compliment - verb: to say something nice to or about someone

noun:something nice that you say to praise someone


He kept paying me compliments on my new haircut.
I was just complimenting my mun on her wonderful dress.


Complement - verb: to combine or complete each other

noun: - something that combines well with something else


Strawberries and chocolate complement each other perfectly.
The photographs are a great complement to the text of the article.


Die vs Dye


Die - to stop being alive


This old man is dying of cancer.

Dye - to change the colour of something using a special liquid:


How to dye your hair blonde at home?




Practicable vs Practical


Practicable -manageable and possible; capable of happening


Is this a practicable solution or only an empty promise?

Practical - 1. functional; efficient 2. realistic; down-to-earth 3.useful or suitable


I need some practical suggestions on how lose weight.
My wife is always practical and full of common sense.
I need a practical car for the family.





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