Commonly Misused Words in English - Part 1

English can be a tricky language, especially if it's your second language. Even native English speakers have a hard time deciphering the difference between similar sounding words and it is a fairly common occurrence for words to be misused - you've probably seen a few examples of this in books or online. So, let's look at Part 1 of the most commonly misused words in English:

Advice and Advise

Advice with a "c" is the noun (as in asking for a recommendation or guidance) whereas Advise with an "s" is the verb form (as in advice being given to someone). Some examples:

John was pleased to accept Jane's advice
Jane advised John to accept the job offer.

Accept and Except

Accept is a verb and means to willingly receive, or admit or approve something whereas Except can be used as a conjunction in a sentence or a preposition and relates to the exclusion of something:

I am pleased to accept your job offer.
I like my job except for the long hours.

Adverse and Averse

Both are adjective but adverse means hostile to something whereas averse means holding a dislike to something:

John could not promote the assistant because of an adverse report from the manager.
Jane is averse to office politics.

Affect and Effect

Affect is to have an influence on something whereas Effect relates to a result, something that has been caused:

How do long working hours affect your social life?
The effects of long working hours are fatigue and stress.

Aid and Aide

Aid is help, to receive assistance in some way and Aide is a helper, a person who acts as an assistant or gives assistant:

The richer countries should give more aid to poorer nations.
He worked as an aide to the president.

All ready and already

All ready means someone or something is ready whereas Already means something that happened previously or at a specified time:

Are you all ready for your job interviews?
She was already at work by the time I arrived.

Allusion and Illusion

Both are nouns. Allusion means to hint at something and Illusion relates to a false idea about something:

John made no allusion to the result of the job interview.
It is an illusion to think long working hours are good for staff.

Apprehend and Comprehend

These are both verbs, but Apprehend means to grasp the meaning of something whereas Comprehend means to understand something fully:

John can just about apprehend the report's findings.
Jane comprehended the report without any difficulty.

Amiable and amicable

Both are adjectives and Amiable means loveable or likeable and Amicable means friendly:

Jane has many amiable qualities that make her a popular employee.
John and the assistant reached an amicable agreement concerning the promotion.

Assent and Ascent

Both are nouns but Assent meant to agree to something and Ascent means to go upwards:

John gave his assent to the new proposal.
John's house is on a hilltop and the ascent is quite steep.


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