How often do your friends or teachers catch when you confuse some English words that look or sound similar? Always? Usually? Sometimes? No matter how often they may catch you it can drive anyone crazy. Right? In order to help you not to confuse them anymore, today we decided to share with some of the most confusing words students usually have problems with.
All of these words we have brainstormed and/or have quickly written down in our notepad over the past years of teaching and learning English.
For all the words, we have provided the examples ourselves except the words 12 and 20 for which we used Macmillan Online Dictionary. If you have more examples or more confusing words, we will be happy to see them in your comments.
1. Check in VS check-in
Check in: When you arrive at the airport you must check in your entire luggage except hand luggage. Check-in: You can check in your luggage in the check-in department/section (please notice that check-in department is used with a hyphen in the middle. Otherwise, it becomes a verb which is ‘check in.
2. Celebrity VS celebrate
Celebrity: In the Oscar awards ceremony you can see a lot of Hollywood celebrities like Tom Cruise, Jennifer Anniston, and many others. Celebrate: Yesterday we celebrated my birthday.
3. Royalty VS royal
Royalty: Will Smith does not have to work to earn money anymore. He lives on royalties which come from the movies he starred in some years ago. Royal: Dubai is ruled by Al-Maqtum’s Royal family.
4. There VS their
There: My car is over there near the school. Their: Their children are very naughty but very clever.
5. AM VS PM
AM: I will see you at 10:00 am in the morning not 10:00 pm in the evening. PM: I will see you at 10:00 am in the morning not 10:00 pm in the evening.
6. Weather VS whether
Weather: If the weather is fine, we will go camping. Whether: They asked me whether I was from North or South Korea.
7. Plan VS plane
Plan: My plan for the next five years is to get married and start my own family business. Plane: If the weather remains bad until morning, planes may not be able to fly.
8. Live VS life
Live: I live in a quite village and I am quite happy because my life is peaceful and nice. Life: I live in a quite village and I am quite happy because my life is peaceful and nice.
9. Sit VS seat
Sit: Please do not stand here. Please sit down. There is a seat right there in the corner. Seat: Please do not stand here. Please sit down. There is a seat right there in the corner.
10. Fiance VS fiancee
Fiancé: Fiance is a male who is getting married. Fiancée: Fiancee is a female who is getting married.
11. Bride VS groom
Bride: Bride was wearing a beautiful white dress while a groom was dressed in a smart black suit. Groom: Bride was wearing a beautiful white dress while a groom was dressed in a smart black suit.
12. County VS country
County: a region that has its own local government in some countries such as the UK and US. At the age of 12, he represented his county at cricket (Macmillan Online Dictionary). Country: The country that I come from is Uzbekistan.
13. Witch VS which
Witch: A witch came in the middle of the night and took the chair which was near the door and turned it into a beautiful flower and disappeared. Which: A witch came in the middle of the night and took the chair which was near the door and turned it into a beautiful flower and disappeared.
14. Cross VS across
Cross: When crossing the roads you must be extra careful these days as there lots of crazy drivers out there. Across: There was no bridge over the river, so he had to dive in and swim across the water.
15. Be used to doing VS used to do
To be used to something: I am used to waking up at 6 am in the morning every day. Used to do something: I used to smoke a lot when I was young but now I do not.
16. Lend VS borrow
Lend: Although I have it, I will not lend you any money. When I needed to borrow some money from last year, you did not help. Borrow: Although I have it, I will not lend you any money. When I needed to borrow some money from last year, you did not help.
17. Take VS give
Take: When I was going home, I suddenly saw a kitten lying on the ground crying. I was so sorry for it and decided to take it with me. Give: My brother always gives me a lot of chocolates when I pass my Math exam.
18. Since VS science
Since: Since 2001 this university has produced 500 successful graduates. Science: Science and technology are developing very fast in our century that we should not be always happy about it.
19. Web-site VS blog
Web-site: If you want to get more information about our company products, please visit our official web-site. Blog: Wherever I travel I always visit most unusual places, take pictures of them and publish them on my travel blog.
20. Conversation VS conservation
Conversation: Because I was late for work this morning my conversation with my boss was not very pleasant one. Conservation: the careful use of energy, water, and other resources, so that they are not wasted or lost (Macmillan Online Dictionary)
21. Clock VS O’clock
Clock: My father gave me a clock and I hang it on the wall so as not to be late for my lessons. O’clock: I am meeting with my friends at 2 o’clock in the evening to play football together.
22. Look VS see
Look: Open you window and look at your garden. You will see that flowers are blossoming everywhere. Spring has finally come! See: Open you window and look at your garden. You will see that flowers are blossoming everywhere. Spring has finally come!
23. Hear VS listen
Hear: Did you also hear that noise in the next room? There must be someone in our house. Listen: When your teacher is explaining you a new grammar, you must listen to him very carefully.