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Commonly Confused Words

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Commonly Confused Words [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2008, 20:30
a vs. an Rule. Use a when the first letter of the word following has the sound of a consonant. Keep in mind that some vowels sound like consonants when they’re sounded out as individual letters.
Examples:
• a finger
• a hotel
• a U-turn (pronounced You-turn)
• a HUD program
• a NASA study
Rule. Use an when the first letter of the word following has the sound of a vowel. Remember that some consonants sound like vowels when they’re spoken as individual letters.
Examples:
• an FBI case (F is pronounced ef here)
• an honor (H is silent here)
• an unusual idea
• an HMO plan (H is pronounced aitch here)
• an NAACP convention (N is pronounced en here)
Deciding whether to use a or an before abbreviations can be tricky. The abbreviation for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) causes confusion because it can be pronounced as a word (fak), or one letter at a time (F-A-Q). Using the guidelines above, one would say a FAQ when it is pronounced as one word, and an FAQ when it is pronounced one letter at a time.
accept
except to agree; to receive
but, with the exception that
ad
add advertisement
to perform addition
ades
aides
AIDS
aids fruit drinks
people who help; assistants
acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
helps, assists
adverse

averse unfortunate; strongly opposed (refers to things, not people)
Examples: an adverse reaction to the medication
adverse weather conditions
having repugnance (refers to people)
Example: He is averse to a military draft.
advice (noun)
advise (verb) recommendation
the act of giving a recommendation
affect vs. effect Rule 1. Use effect when you mean bring about or brought about, cause or caused.
Example: He effected a commotion in the crowd.
Meaning: He caused a commotion in the crowd.
Rule 2. Use effect when you mean result.
Example: What effect did that speech have?
Rule 3. Also use effect whenever any of these words precede it: a, an, any, the, take, into, no. These words may be separated from effect by an adjective.
Examples: That book had a long-lasting effect on my thinking.
Has the medicine produced any noticeable effects?
Rule 4. Use the verb affect when you mean to influence rather than to cause.
Example: How do the budget cuts affect your staffing?
Rule 5. Affect is used as a noun to mean emotional expression.
Example: She showed little affect when told she had won the lottery.

air
err
heir what we breathe
make a mistake
one who inherits something
aisle
I’ll
isle passageway
contraction for I will
a small island
all
awl entire, everything
a tool
allot
a lot to parcel out
always two words meaning many
allowed
aloud gave permission to
said out loud; spoken
all ready
already means all are ready
Example: We are all ready to go.
refers to time
Example: Is it summer already?
all together

altogether refers to a group; all of us or all of them together
Example: It is wonderful to be all together to celebrate your birthday.
entirely
Example: It is not altogether his fault.
altar
alter pedestal, usually religious
Example: They exchanged wedding vows at the altar of the church.
to modify
Example: Please don't alter your plans until we have the final schedule approved.
allude
elude
illude to refer indirectly
Example: He alluded to his past as a spy.
avoid capture
Example: The fugitive eluded the police for a month.
mislead
Example: He illuded her about his age.
allusion
illusion an indirect mention of something
false perception
ambiguous
ambivalent to have more than one meaning
Example: The law was ambiguous.
to have mixed feelings
Example: She is ambivalent about her wedding dress.
amicable
amiable friendly (refers to things, not people)
friendly (refers to people)
Example: The amiable couple had an amicable divorce.
among
between involves three or more
Example: Who among us has not lied?
involves just two
Example: She couldn’t decide between Chinese and Thai food.
amount
number used for things not countable
Example: We couldn't handle that amount of ill will.
used for things that can be counted
Example: The number of accidents increased by ten percent.
ant
aunt a bug
the sister of a parent
ante
auntie a bet placed before playing
affectionate term for a parent’s sister
anxious
eager to have anxiety or worry
Example: She is anxious about taking the test.
excited
Example: She is eager to get a puppy.
any more
anymore something additional or further
Example: It didn’t rain any more this year than last year.
any longer, nowadays
Example: Harry doesn’t travel anymore.
appraise
apprise to put a value on something
to notify
arc
ark arch, crescent, half moon
a vessel or a refuge
ascent (noun)
assent (noun or verb)
consent movement upward
enthusiastic agreement; to agree
agreement
assistance (noun)
assistants (noun) help
people who help
assumption
presumption an idea not based on evidence
an idea based on evidence
assure
ensure
insure to promise or say with confidence
to make sure something will/won't happen
to issue an insurance policy
ate
eight past tense of eat
the number after seven
aural
oral having to do with hearing
having to do with the mouth
averse (see adverse)
awed
odd in a state of amazement
unusual; opposite of even when referring to numbers
aye
eye
I yes
organ one sees with
pronoun
bald
bawled having no hair
cried
ball
bawl a sphere
to cry or wail loudly
band
banned a group, sometimes a group of musicians
forbidden
bare
bear naked, unconcealed, plain
the animal
base
bass the bottom; vulgar; headquarters (singular)
low vocal or instrumental range (pronounced like lace); a type of fish ( pronounced like lass)
based
baste be dependent or supported
to moisten; to criticize or lash out at
bases (noun, verb)
basis (noun) headquarters (plural of base); builds on
foundation; belief
be
bee to exist or live
insect
beach
beech sandy area with water
type of tree with smooth, gray bark
beat
beet to strike violently; to flutter or flap; to pound as with a drum; to defeat; to stir vigorously
a plant with a fleshy red or white root
beau
bough (noun)
bow (noun)
bow (noun, verb) boyfriend (pronounced like owe)
branch of a tree (pronounced like cow)
part of a set with arrows (pronounced like owe)
boat front, a male's form of curtsy, bending at the waist; comply (pronounced like cow)
because vs. since Rule. Because and since can be used almost interchangeably although because always indicates cause and effect and since is used for a relationship or time.
Example: Since I have some extra money, I will buy shoes. (not cause and effect)
Example: I will go to the game because my daughter is on the team. (cause and effect)
Example: I have wanted to talk to you since yesterday. (time)
been
bin form of be used with has or have
container
bell
belle chime or alarm; a signal
beautiful or charming woman
berth
birth a boat dock; bedroom or bed
being born; beginning
better
bettor of higher quality
someone who places bets
between (see among)
biannual
biennial
semiannual twice a year
every two years
twice a year (same as biannual)
bite
byte to use one’s teeth to tear food
computer term for eight bits of information
billed
build charged a fee
construct
blew
blue past tense of blow
the color
bloc
block a group united for a particular purpose
city street; a cube-shaped object
boar
bore male pig
someone or something not interesting
board
bored piece of wood; a group of people
uninterested
boarder
border someone who pays for room and food
perimeter; boundary
bode
bowed predict
bent (pronounced like owed)
bold
bowled daring
to have gone bowling; knocked over
bolder
boulder more daring
a large rock
boos
booze sounds made by disapproving audience
alcohol
bough (see beau)
bow (see beau)
boy
buoy male child
a naval beacon or marker
brake
break stop
separate into pieces
bread
bred a food; slang for money
past tense of breed; raised
brewed
brood (verb, noun) fermented
mull over; a cluster or family
brews
bruise ferments
a black-and-blue mark, contusion
bridal
bridle relating to brides
a harness, usually for a horse
bring
take you bring something towards
you take something away
broach
brooch to raise a topic
a bauble; a piece of jewelry
brows
browse the hairs in the arch above the eyes
search for, peruse
but
butt (noun/verb) except
bottom; joke object; to ram
buy
by
bye purchase, acquire
near, next to
short for goodbye
cache
cash hidden stash
money
calendar
colander chart of days and months
sieve to drain off liquids
can
may able to
permission to
cannon
canon large, mounted gun
rule, commandment
canvas
canvass awning cloth, tarp
to poll; a poll
capital
capitol assets; essential; main city
statehouse
carat
caret
carrot
karat unit of weight in gemstones
a proofreading mark to show insertion (^)
edible root
a unit for measuring the fineness of gold
cast (noun, verb)
caste group of actors; to throw
a social class, a rigid system of social distinctions
cay
key
quay a small, low island (also spelled key)
a small, low island; instrument for opening locks
(pronounced key) wharf, dock, pier
cede
seed to surrender
reproductive germ
cell
sell prison room; basic structural unit of an organism
to exchange for money
censor (verb, noun)
censure
sensor disallow; person who disallows
Example: The soldier's letters were censored before mailing.
to disapprove of; criticize strongly
Example: The children were censured by the principal.
a device that measures heat, light, etc. and transmits a signal to a control or measuring instrument
cent
scent
sent a penny
a smell, aroma
transmitted
cereal
serial breakfast food
a series or array
chance
chants accident(al)
chorus, melody
chased
chaste went after
pure, virginal
chews
choose how one eats food with teeth
to pick
childish
childlike immature
innocent
Chile
chili
chilly a country in South America
a type of pepper; a dish with peppers in it
cold, brisk
choral
coral
chorale
corral a cappella, singing without instruments
material that makes up reefs; orange color
a hymn, a choir
horse pen
chord
cord
cored three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously; line segment joining two points on a curve
a rope or strand of flexible material
removed the center of something
chute
shoot (verb, noun) an inclined shaft
to discharge from a weapon; a stem
cite
sight
site to assert; to quote from; to subpoena
vision, the power to see
a location or position
classic
classical important; fundamental
having to do with Greek or Roman antiquity; pertaining to eighteenth-to nineteenth-century music
clause
claws in grammar, a group of words containing a subject and verb; part of a contract
an animal’s nails
click
clique a sound
a group
climactic
climatic having to do with the climax
having to do with the climate
close (verb, adjective)
clothes to shut (pronounced like rose); nearby (pronounced like dose)
apparel
coarse
course rough, lacking in fineness of texture; crude
a class; a path
colander (see calendar)
colonel
kernel an officer in the military
a seed
complement
compliment completing part of an order
praise
confidant
confident someone confided in
certain, sure
connote
denote to suggest, imply
Example: A growling dog connotes danger.
to be a sign of
Example: Certain clouds denote rain on the way.
consent (see assent)
continual

continuous repeated but with breaks in between; chronic
Example: The continual problem of our car not starting forced us to sell it.
without interruption in an unbroken stream of time or space
Example: The continuous dripping of the faucet drove me crazy.
core
corps
corpse center or crucial part
trained group
dead body
cosign
cosine to sign along with
a trigonometry term
council
counsel (verb, noun) a group of people meeting for a purpose
advise; advice, an attorney
creak
creek a sound
a stream
crews
cruise many groups
a trip or vacation by sea
criteria
criterion plural of criterion
a standard for evaluating or testing something
cue
queue a hint; a stimulus
a line of people waiting
currant
current type of small berry
up to date
curser
cursor someone who swears or wishes misfortune on another
a blinking symbol indicating position on a computer screen

dam
damn a barrier obstructing the flow of liquid
a swear word or curse
dammed
damned blocked from flowing
doomed
days
daze twenty-four-hour periods of time
to stun or overwhelm
dear
deer affectionate term
the animal
denote (see connote)
desert (noun, verb)
dessert a desolate area; to abandon
extra s for sugary treat
desperate
disparate lost all hope, in despair
entirely dissimilar
device (noun)
devise (verb) an invention
to invent
dew
do
due condensation in the morning
to take action
owed by a certain date
die
dye to cease to live; the singular of dice
to stain or color using an agent
different from vs. different than vs.
differently than Rule. Use different from not different than.
Example: The weather was different from what we expected.
You may use differently than when a clause precedes and follows the expression.
Example: He works differently than she does.
discreet
discrete careful, confidential
individual, distinct
discussed
disgust talked over
repulsion
does
does female deer (plural) (pronounced like hose)
a form of to do (pronounced like fuzz)
doughs
doze unbaked loaves of bread
to sleep
dual
duel two-fold
fight
eager (see anxious)
effect (see affect)
e.g.

i.e. for example
Example: My living expenses have increased, e.g., rent, food, and utilities.
that is, in other words
Example: My living expenses have drained my finances, i.e., I have less money in the bank at the end of every month.
eight (see ate)
elicit
illicit evoke, extract, draw out
illegal
elude (see allude)
elusive
illusive difficult to describe, evasive
Example: The point of the novel is elusive to me.
plausible or possible; deceptive
Example: She had the illusive dream of finding happiness by traveling. (plausible, possible)
Example: She had an illusive idea that she was qualified for the job. (deceptive, delusional)
emigrate
immigrate to exit one country in order to live in another country
to enter a new country to live
empathy
sympathy to understand another's feelings
to feel compassion or sadness for another
ensure (see assure)
epic
epoch saga
a period of time, an age
err (see air)
every day
everyday each day
Example: I learn something new every day.
ordinary
Example: These are my everyday clothes.
except (see accept)
eye (see aye)
facts
fax objective data
short for facsimile; technology that sends images by phone
faint
feint to go unconscious
pretense
fair (adjective, noun)
fare impartial; an exhibition
payment or expense for travel
fairy
ferry imaginary being possessing magical powers
type of boat
farther
further refers to physical distance only
Example: We had to walk farther than the map indicated.
refers to physical distance like farther; moreover; in addition; to a greater extent
Examples: We need to discuss this further.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We had to walk further.
faux
foe fake, imitation
enemy, opponent
faze
phase to perturb or fluster
a period or situation
feat
feet an extraordinary act or accomplishment
twelve-inch increments; appendages at end of legs
feted
fetid celebrated, honored
noxious, gross
fewer
less
under refers to a number that can be counted
Example: Fewer days off.
refers to an uncountable amount
Example: Less rain, less fear.
used for direction
Example: Under the mattress, not under $100.
find
fined discover
penalized
fir
fur type of tree
hairy coat of an animal
flair
flare style
erupt
flea
flee insect
to run away
flew
flu
flue past tense of fly, to have moved through the air with wings
a virus
part of a chimney
floe
flow sheet of floating ice
pour, proceed, spew
flour
flower grain
the bloom of a plant
for
fore
four preposition
ahead
the number after three
forego
forgo to go in front of, precede
to do without
foreword
forward introduction to a book written by someone other than the author
opposite of backward
fort
forte a military fortification
someone’s strong point, talent
forth
fourth forward
number after third
foul
fowl offensive, disgusting
certain birds
frees
freeze
frieze releases
to make cold
a decorative band on the wall
further (see farther)
gait
gate a manner of walking or stepping, stride
Examples: trotting, galloping, limping
barrier
gilt
guilt gold-covered
blame
gone

went used with has or have
Examples: Ella has gone to the store.
Barry and Ella have gone to the beach.
past tense of go
Examples: Ella went to the store.
Barry and Ella went to the beach.
gored
gourd stabbed with a horn or tusk
hard-shelled fruit
gorilla
guerrilla largest of the apes
soldier using surprise raids; irregular tactics
graft
graphed attach; acquisition of money dishonestly
diagrammed
grate
great a cover or partition of parallel or crossed bars
excellent
grill
grille method of cooking; barbecuing
an openwork barrier for a gate
groan
grown a low, mournful sound of pain or grief
to have increased in size
guessed
guest conjectured, offered an opinion
company, honoree
guise
guys appearance or assumed appearance
men
hair
hare what grows on one’s head and body
rabbit
hall
haul passageway or large room
to pull, drag, or lower
halve
have divide into two
to possess
hangar
hanger shed or shelter for housing airplanes
something to hang a garment on in the closet
haut/haute
hoe high-class, fancy as in haute couture (pronounced oh or oht)
flat-bladed gardening tool
have vs. of should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve are contractions for should have, could have, and would have. No such wording as should of, could of, would of
hay
hey dried grass
interjection used to call attention
heal
heel to alleviate or cure
back part of the foot; scoundrel
healthful
healthy something that promotes health
Example: Organic food is thought to be healthful.
to have good health
hear
here to listen; to give an official hearing
in this spot
heard
herd listened
a flock of animals
heir (see air)
heroin
heroine a narcotic derived from morphine
female admired for courage or ability
hi
high a greeting, informal for hello
elevated
higher
hire more elevated
to pay for services
him
hymn pronoun referring to male person or animal
song in praise of religious deity
hoard
horde stockpile, amass
a large group, crowd
hoarse
horse cracked voice
animal
hoes
hose flat-bladed gardening tools
a flexible tube for conveying liquid
hole
whole an opening
entire, complete
holy
wholly religious
entirely, completely
hostel
hostile boarding house or inexpensive lodging
antagonistic
hour
our sixty minutes
possessive pronoun
I (see aye)
idle
idol
idyll or idyl not active; unemployed
someone admired
interlude, breathing space; romance, fairy tale
i.e. (see e.g.)
I'll (see aisle)
illicit (see elicit)
illude (see allude)
illusion (see allusion)
illusive (see elusive)
immigrate (see emigrate)
imply
infer to indicate without being explicit
to conclude from evidence
in
inn preposition; inside
small hotel
inc.
ink abbreviation for incorporated
fluid in pens
incite
insight to prompt to action
understanding, comprehension
incredible
incredulous astonishing
Example: Her gymnastic moves were incredible.
skeptical
Example: Citizens are incredulous about the reason for the increase in the price of gas.
ingenious
ingenuous clever
naive or simple
innocence
innocents to be without guilt
people who are without guilt
insure (see assure)
irregardless
regardless no such word exists
in spite of, without regard
isle (see aisle)
it's
its contraction for it is or it has
Example: It’s for a good cause.
possessive pronoun
Example: The cat hurt its paw.
jewel
joule gem
in physics, a unit of work or energy
karat (see carat)
kernel (see colonel)
key (see cay)
knead
kneed
need work with bread dough
hit with one’s knee
to require
knew
new past tense of know, to have understood
opposite of old
knight
night a soldier in the Middle Ages
period between sunset and sunrise
knot
not interlacing of cord or rope
used to express negation
know
no understand, comprehend
a negative to express dissent
knows
nose understands
part of the body one smells with

lacks
lax is deficient in
slack, easy-going
ladder
latter the thing with rungs that you climb
the second of two
Example: If given a choice between vanilla and chocolate ice cream, I'll take the latter.
lain
lane past participle of lie as in lie down
narrow road or passage
lay vs. lie lay vs. lie chart
Present Past Participle (A Form of Have)
To recline lie, lying lay has/have/had lain
To put or place
(verb followed by an object) lay, laying laid has/have/had laid
To tell a falsehood lie, lying lied has/have/had lied

Examples in the Present Tense:
I like to lie down for a nap at 2:00 p.m.
I am lying down for a nap today.
The hens lay eggs.
The hen is laying eggs.
I am tempted to lie about my age.
I am not lying about my age.
Examples in the Past Tense:
I lay down for a nap yesterday at 2:00 p.m.
The hen laid two eggs yesterday.
He lied on the witness stand.
Examples with a Participle (has, have):
I have lain down for a nap every day this week.
The hen has laid two eggs every day this week.
He has lied each day on the witness stand.
lead
led a metal element (pronounced like red); present tense of led (pronounced like seed)
guided, past tense of to lead
leak
leek unintended discharge of liquid or gas
type of onion
lean (adjective, verb)
lien not fatty; to incline
a claim on property to secure debt payment
leased
least rented
smallest in size or amount
less (see fewer)
lessen
lesson to make less
a unit to be learned or studied
lie
lye a falsehood; present tense of lie down (see lay vs. lie chart above)
a caustic substance
lightening
lightning to make lighter
a brilliant electric spark in the sky
loan
lone something lent for temporary use
only, solitary
loose
lose opposite of tight
opposite of win; misplace
Mach
mock (adjective, verb) ratio with the speed of sound: Mach 1 = the speed of sound Mach 2 = twice the speed of sound
artificial; ridicule
made
maid created
cleaning lady
mail
male correspondence
masculine; opposite of female
main
mane primary, chief, leading
long hair on the back of a horse or lion
maize
maze corn
labyrinth
mall
maul plaza, focal point
abuse, claw
manner
manor behavior
palatial residence
marquee
marquis canopy, shelter; projection over a theater entrance
aristocrat, nobleman
marry
merry to wed
cheerful
marshal (verb, noun)
martial assemble; a judge
militant, aggressive
may (see can)
meat
meet (verb, noun)
mete animal flesh used for food
to connect, touch; an event
administer, allot
medal
meddle decoration, badge
to interfere unwantedly
metal
mettle earth element
boldness
mind (noun, verb)
mined intelligence; obey
excavated to extract ores
miner
minor (noun, adjective) one who excavates to extract ores
someone under legal age; small
missed
mist failed to hit
fog, fine spray
moan
mown lament; sound of suffering
cut grass
mode
mowed method, manner
to have cut grass
mood
mooed an emotional state
the sound a cow made
moose
mousse an animal
type of dessert
morning
mourning start of the day, between night and afternoon
sorrow over someone’s death
muscle
mussel fibrous tissue
edible marine bivalve
mustard
mustered yellow condiment
assembled, gathered
naval
navel pertaining to ships
belly button, umbilicus
need (see knead)
new (see knew)
night (see knight)
no (see know)
none
nun not one, not any
female member of a religious order
nose (see knows)
not (see knot)
number (see amount)
oar
or
ore a blade for rowing
conjunction
metal-bearing mineral or rock
odd (see awed)
of (see have)
on to vs. onto Use onto if you can add up before on.
Examples: He climbed (up) onto the roof.
She held on to her child in the crowd.
one
won single unit
past tense of win
oral (see aural)
ordinance
ordnance a law
military weapons and ammunition
our (see hour)
overdo
overdue to do to excess
past due
packed
pact past tense of pack
an agreement or treaty
pail
pale bucket
lacking color
pain
pane physical or emotional suffering
a plate of glass or panel
pair
pare
pear two of something
to remove or peel
type of fruit
palate
pallet
palette roof of the mouth; taste
a low, portable platform
a range of colors; a board to hold and mix colors
passed
past past tense of pass
the time before the present
patience
patients willingness to wait
people under medical care
pause
paws a temporary stop
animal feet
peace
piece calm
a portion of something
peak
peek
pique top of a mountain
glance furtively
to wound someone’s pride or to excite interest
pealed
peeled rang bells
removed a layer
pedal
peddle foot-operated lever
to sell, hawk, or dispense
peer
pier person who is an equal
a structure extending out over water
perpetrate
perpetuate to commit, as in a crime
to prolong or sustain
Example: The myth that the sun revolved around the earth was perpetuated for centuries.
phase (see faze)
pi
pie 3.1416, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter
baked food filled with fruit or meat
pistil
pistol female organ of a flower
type of gun
plain (adjective, noun)
plane not fancy; evident; simple; treeless area of land
a flat or level surface; short for airplane
pleas
please cries for help; appeals
a polite word; to satisfy
plum
plumb a type of fruit
perpendicular
pole
poll a long, cylindrical piece of wood or metal
a collection of opinions; survey
pore
pour small hole
to send liquid flowing
praise
prays
preys express approval
makes requests to God
hunts for food; victimizes
precedence
precedents
presidents priority
examples, criteria
chief executives
presence
presents (noun, verb) appearance, being present
gifts; offers
presumption (see assumption)
pries
prize looks closely; wedges open
award or reward
principal (noun, adjective)
principle head of school; chief; of first importance
fundamental belief
profit
prophet gain
predictor, seer
pros
prose professionals, experts
literature
quarts
quartz units of liquid measure (four quarts to a gallon)
a mineral
quay (see cay)
queue (see cue)
rain
reign
rein water that falls in drops from the sky
rule, administration
bit, harness
raise
raze lift up
flatten, tear down completely
rap (noun, verb)
wrap a type of music; to strike sharply
to enclose in a covering
rapped
rapt
wrapped struck sharply
fascinated
enclosed in a covering
read
red present and past tenses of to comprehend writing
a color
real
reel actual, authentic
stumble, falter
recede
reseed to move back, withdraw
to seed again
reek
wreak to smell bad
to cause trouble wreak havoc
regardless (see irregardless)
rest
wrest relax
take from
retch
wretch vomit
lowly being, scoundrel
review
revue survey
a satirical show
right
rite
write correct; opposite of left
ritual, ceremony
to compose letters or words
ring
wring sound of a bell; jewelry worn around a finger
to twist
road
rode
rowed street, path, highway
past tense of ride
past tense of row
roe
row fish eggs
aisle (pronounced like oh); propel with an oar (pronounced like oh); fight (pronounced like wow)
role
roll (noun, verb) part in a play or film
a bun; to rotate
roomer
rumor one who rents a room
innuendo, gossip
root
rout
route base of a plant
defeat (pronounced rowt)
path (pronounced like root or rowt)
rot
wrought decay, decompose
accomplished
rote
wrote by memory, formula
past tense of write
rude
rued impolite, unmannerly
regretted, repented
rye
wry seed from a grain
mocking, ironic, droll

sacks
sax large bags
saxophone
saver
savor one who saves
to appreciate a taste
scene
seen a view, a setting
to have viewed with eyes
scent (see cent)
sea
see a body of salt water
to view with eyes
seam
seem line formed by pieces of fabric sewn together
appear
sear
seer
sere scorch, burn, or char
one who sees (as in the future)
withered, dry
seas
sees
seize bodies of salt water
views with eyes
to grab hold of
seed (see cede)
sell (see cell)
semiannual (see biannual)
sensor (see censor)
sent (see cent)
serf
surf (noun, verb) slave
breaking waves; to ride a surfboard
serial (see cereal)
set
sit one sets a thing
Example: Please set the table.
one sits oneself
Example: Please sit down at the table.
sew
so
sow to stitch
in the manner indicated
to scatter or plant seed
sewer
suer a conduit for carrying off waste
one who sues
shear
sheer to cut
transparent
shoe
shoo foot attire
interjection used to scare away an animal
shoot (see chute)
sic

sick a Latin term used to indicate that something written is intentionally left in the original form, which may be incorrect.
Example: She wrote, "They made there [sic] beds."
ill
sics
six attacks
a number
sight (see cite)
sign
sine an indication
a trigonometry term
since see because
sink
synch or sync to submerge; to descend to a lower level; where you wash dirty clothes
to synchronize, to coincide or match up
site (see cite)
slay
sleigh kill
snow vehicle, sled
sleight
slight cunning, skill
slender, of little substance
slew
slough past tense of slay
swamp (pronounced slew or slau)
soar
sore to fly at great height
in pain
soared
sword flew at great height
a bladed weapon
sole
soul bottom of foot; lone
the spiritual part of humans
some
sum a certain unspecified number
the total from adding numbers
son
sun male offspring
star that is the central body of the solar system
sonny
sunny diminutive of son
lit or warmed by the sun; cheerful
spade
spayed digging tool
to have removed the ovaries of an animal
staid
stayed solemn, serious
remained, waited
stair
stare step
to look without blinking
stake
steak a pole
cut of meat
stationary
stationery in one place
writing paper
steal
steel (noun, adjective) rob
iron alloy; determined
step (verb, noun)
steppe moving by lifting the foot; degree
vast grasslands
stile
style turnstile, passageway
fashion
straight
strait not curved or bent
narrow passage of water connecting two bodies of water
succor
sucker relief, assistance
fool
suede
swayed leather finished with a soft, napped surface
past tense of sway; persuaded
suite
sweet a connected series of rooms
opposite of sour
summary
summery an abstract or brief account
of the summer
sundae
Sunday ice cream with syrup
day of the week
sympathy (see empathy)
tacks
tax short nails
percent of earnings paid to the government
tail
tale hindmost animal appendage
story
take (see bring)
tare
tear (verb) allowance for the weight of packaging
rip, pull apart
taught
taut past tense of teach
tightly stretched
tea
tee a beverage
a peg from which a golf ball is hit
team
teem group playing on the same side in a game
swarm
tear (noun)
tier salt water coming from eyes when sad (pronounced like ear)
a row or layer
tense
tents nervous strain
portable shelters used for camping
than
then used for comparison
indicates time, answers when
their
there
they're possessive pronoun
location
contraction for they are
threw
through past tense of throw
in one end and out the other
throes
throws agonizing struggles
tosses, hurls
throne
thrown royal seat or office
was tossed
thyme
time herb of the mint family
past, present, future sequences of events
ticks
tics parasites; sounds of a clock
facial twitches
tide
tied ebb and flow of the ocean
past tense of tie
to
too
two in the direction of, toward; used with the infinitive form of verbs (to go, to run, to hit)
also, to an extensive degree
Example: It is too hot to jog.
the number after one
toad
toed
towed similar to a frog
having a toe
pulled, hauled
told
tolled said
sounded a bell
tort
torte a breach of contract
a rich cake made with little or no flour
tracked
tract followed
an extended area of land; a political or religious pamphlet
troop
troupe a body of soldiers
a group of traveling performers
vain
vane
vein excessively concerned about one’s appearance
a blade moved by wind as in weather vane
blood vessel
vary
very to change or alter
extremely
verses
versus lines of poetry
as compared to another choice; against
vial
vile small container for holding liquids
repulsive, depraved
vice
vise bad habit; immoral practice
device used to hold an object firmly
wade
weighed to walk through water
to have put on a scale
wail
whale mournful cry
marine mammal
waist
waste narrowest part of the human torso (usually)
to squander or spend uselessly
wait
weight to be available or ready
quantity of heaviness or mass
waiver
waver a relinquishment of some right
to feel indecisive; vary
warn
worn to notify
carried on the body; deteriorated
warrantee
warranty person who is given a written guarantee
written guarantee
way
weigh direction
to measure mass
weak
week lacking strength
seven days starting with Sunday
wear
where to carry on the body
in what place?
weather
whether state of the atmosphere in a location
if
weave
we've to interlace thread or yarn to make a fabric
contraction for we have
went (see gone)
were
we're past tense of are
contraction for we are
wheeled
wield moved on wheels
to exercise power; to handle a weapon effectively
which
witch what one?
sorceress
while
wile during or in the time that
a trick to fool, trap, or entice
whine
wine complaining cry
fermented grape juice that becomes an alcoholic beverage
whined
wind
wined past tense of whine, complained
what one does to keep a watch ticking on time (pronounced like kind); air current (pronounced like sinned)
to supply with wine
whirled
world
whorled spun rapidly
planet Earth
shaped like a coil
whole (see hole)
wholly (see holy)
who's
whose contraction for who is
Example: Who’s at the door?
possessive case of who
Example: Whose coat is this?
won (see one)
wont (adjective, noun)
won't accustomed; habit
contraction for will not
wood
would tree trunk material
expressing an intention
Example: I would if I could.
wrap (see rap)
wrapped (see rapt)
wreak (see reek)
wrest (see rest)
wretch (see retch)
wring (see ring)
write (see right)
wrote (see rote)
wrought (see rot)
wry (see rye)
yoke
yolk harness for oxen
yellow center of an egg
yore
you're
your long past
contraction for you are
possessive pronoun

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Re: Commonly Confused Words [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2008, 20:39
Excellent post. It would make it a lot easier if you can break it into few posts to make it easy for reading.

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Re: Commonly Confused Words [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2008, 20:43
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Here I go.. Upload the .doc file, now it must be clear to understand

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File comment: I have just copied this from some website.. might be usefull for you GMATians :)
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Re: Commonly Confused Words [#permalink]

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New post 03 Oct 2008, 05:17
Good post. Thanks

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Re: Commonly Confused Words   [#permalink] 03 Oct 2008, 05:17
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