English is a complex language, and it's easy to confuse some of its words. People are often unsure how to tell the difference between words that sound alike but have different meanings. In this post, we'll look at 10 commonly confused words and how to tell them apart.
Affect vs. Effect
The difference between affect and effect is a common source of confusion. Affect is a verb that means to produce a change or influence something. Effect is a noun that means the result of a change or the influence of something. For example, a law could "affect" the way people do business, and its "effect" could be an increase in prices.
Accept vs. Except
The difference between accept and except is another common source of confusion. Accept means to receive, agree to, or admit. Except means to exclude or leave out. For example, you might "accept" a job offer, but "except" certain conditions.
Advice vs. Advise
Advice and advise are related words that are often confused. Advice is a noun that means a suggestion given for a decision or action. Advise is a verb that means to offer a suggestion for a decision or action. For example, you might ask a friend for "advice" on how to handle a situation, and he might "advise" you to take a certain course of action.
Allusion vs. Illusion
The difference between an allusion and an illusion is another common source of confusion. An allusion is a figure of speech that refers to something without mentioning it directly. An illusion is a false impression or belief. For example, you might make an "allusion" to a famous person without naming them directly, or you might be under the "illusion" that you can fly.
Principal vs. Principle
Principal and principle are often confused because they sound alike. Principal is a noun that means the head of a school or an amount of money that is borrowed or invested. Principle is a noun that means a fundamental truth or law. For example, a school could have a "principal" who is in charge of the school, and the school could have a "principle" that all students must follow.
Compliment vs. Complement
The difference between a compliment and a complement is another common source of confusion. A compliment is a remark that expresses praise or admiration. A complement is something that completes or enhances something else. For example, you might pay someone a "compliment" on their outfit, and the shoes they are wearing might be a good "complement" to the rest of their outfit.
Lose vs. Loose
Lose and loose are often confused because they sound alike. Lose is a verb that means to be deprived of something or fail to win. Loose is an adjective that means not tight or not attached securely. For example, you might "lose" a race, or the strap on your shoes might be "loose".
Stationary vs. Stationery
Stationary and stationery are often confused because they sound alike. Stationary is an adjective that means not moving or fixed in one place. Stationery is a noun that means paper and envelopes for writing letters. For example, a car might be "stationary" when it is stopped at a red light, and you might buy "stationery" to write a letter.
Than vs. Then
The difference between than and then is another common source of confusion. Than is a conjunction that is used in comparisons. Then is an adverb that is used to indicate a time or a consequence. For example, you might say that one thing is "bigger than" another, or you might say "then" we can go to the store.