The Top 10 Confusing English Words
Should you accept an invitation or except one? Do you eat dessert or desert after your meal? English is full of confusing words. Here are some tips on using the right word at the right time!
dessert and desert
Dessert is a sweet dish, while the desert is hot, dry and full of sand.
accept and except
To accept means to receive or agree to something, while except means excluding.
there and their
The former is an adverb of place while the latter is a possessive pronoun e.g. Their house is over there.
principle and principal
Principles are beliefs, values or basic truths, while principal means the head of a school, or the main thing.
advice and advise
The former is a noun while the latter is a verb, so you can advise someone by giving them good advice.
borrow and lend
To borrow means to receive something as a loan, while to lend means to give something as a loan. E.g. Can I borrow your car? Sorry, I can't lend it to you today
despite and although
These have a similar meaning but are used differently. Despite is a preposition while although is a conjunction. E.g. He won the race despite his injury. He won the race although he had an injury.
affect and effect
The former is a verb while the latter is a noun, e.g. The effect of the war is enormous; it has affected all sectors of the economy.
personal and personnel
Your personal details include your name, age and nationality, while personnel means the employees of a company.
assure and ensure
To assure someone means to remove doubt or reassure them, while ensure means to make certain that something happens. E.g. I assured him that you would be there, so please ensure that you get to the meeting on time.