Confusing Words in English

The English language is beautiful but at the same time complicated, for example the many confusing words in English.

Sometimes, even a native English speaker finds this language confusing and makes some minor mistakes. In fact, a writer makes the mistake whilst even knowing the meaning of the word because of the confusion of spelling. There are many English words whose pronunciations are the same but the spelling and meaning is different such as knew and new.

There are  many confusing words in English which can be difficult to recognize whilst speaking and writing. We do it unknowingly without the knowledge that a simple word can change the entire meaning of the sentence.

The word structure creates more complication for a writer who is expected to deliver  reliable and excellent material without compromising the grammar throughout his or her work. Though he or she might be well-acquainted with the complex nature of the English language, he or she cannot avoid mistakes sometimes since there are many similar words with different meanings and spelling.

If you want to be perfect and write flawless English you need to put in a lot of effort to get a good command over English and to have the ability to distinguish the words correctly. The best way to avoid the mistakes is to read it loudly to yourself. In a case of confusion, you can do a double check by referring to a dictionary to be on the safe side.

::Confusing Words and Meaning

In the English language, you will have experienced these mistakes several times. You do not need to be ashamed of these mistakes. These are common and many people go through this phase. You need improvisation and regular effort to write good and correct English. Below are some confusing words that explain how similar sounding words when pronounced have completely different meanings.

1. Affect / Effect

The pronunciation of these words is almost the same but they have totally different meanings.

Affect is a verb that means the reason of some change. For example, you can say that an irregular sleeping habit can affect your health. This means if you will not get adequate sleep, in the long run, it can create health complications. Your health complication is the result of inadequate sleep.

Here affect is used to explain the consequence of some habit or some other thing.

What about the meaning of effect? The effect is the ultimate result of some action.

If you do not follow a healthy way of life illness may be the resulting effect.

Both these words have totally different meanings. But their pronunciation is nearly the same. It can create confusion for a writer or a speaker.

2. Lose/Loose 

It is difficult to distinguish these two words if you do not know the meanings. The pronunciation of these words is nearly the same and the spelling is nearly the same with a minor variation. However the meaning is totally different.

Lose is a verb. The meaning of lose is to lose something that means you do not have something anymore. Someone has taken it or you have just left it somewhere without your knowledge. You can lose your valuable things, your relationship or anything that does not belong to you anymore.

It is difficult to distinguish between the two words. We confuse them as being the same words.

Loose is an adjective. It is something that might be partially unattached, not tight, or not fitting properly. It can also be used as a verb that can be used to unite or let go of something.

3. Advice / Advise

Again the pronunciation of these words is nearly same. It is a noun and the meaning of advice is to recommend something. You can give advice to your friend on an important or minor issue. You can say that I gave him some advice to study hard and regularly.

Advise is a verb. It is difficult to distinguish between these two words if you have not used them before. The meaning of these words is nearly the same, but the use and the spelling is different.

You can advise your friend and colleagues and take advice from them.

4. Compliment / Complement

It is really hard to distinguish between these words. The pronunciation of these two words is the same and the spelling is nearly the same.

One is often confused to choose the right word on the right occasion regarding these two words. A compliment is to praise something or somebody. For example, you can say that I like your dress sense. That means you are praising her and complimenting him or her. A compliment is to say something nice. It can be about education, clothing or cooking.

Complement has a totally different meaning. It is used when say two things go well together. You can say that they are complementing each other. This word is often used in the fashion industry for example. You can say the necklace complements the costume.

5. Resign / Re-sign

These two words are a little different. The spelling and pronunciation of these two words is almost the same except for the hyphen.

The meaning of resign is to quit a job. You can say that I am not satisfied with the current working condition and I am planning to resign.

Re-sign has an opposite meaning. It means that you are signing a contract again.  When pronouncing re-sign we emphasize the first syllable ..re. For example, you can say that I like this job so I would like to re-sign  the contract for a couple more years.

There are many other words like further and farther, aisle and isle, amoral and immoral, adverse and averse, aural and oral, appraise and apprise, broach and brooch, and baited and bated, whose pronunciations are nearly the same, but the spelling and meaning are totally different.

Sometimes we find it difficult to notice the difference as we find that the spelling is also almost the same such as compliment and complement, and resign and re-sign.

So in conclusion  to write correct English you need to have a good command of the English vocabulary which can be developed through reading good books and newspapers and listening to well spoken English by native speakers such as the news readers and reporters on the BBC or CNN.

Yes it requires effort but do keep working at it, you will be rewarded in the long run.

Good luck.

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