Words Often Confused

Words often confused are like anything else in life. With a little patience and a lot of hard work you should be able to master the following confusing words.

Below, you will find words often confused that begin with the letter "A." I've separated the pages alphabetically to make them a little easier to learn.

I thought it might be a little intimidating for students trying to learn these confusing words to see a list with hundreds and hundreds of words on it!

You see, I actually wanted to help you learn the words often confused the most.

Be sure to visit the other pages to see all of the words my students and I've collected so far.

Accept / Except / Expect


Accept is a verb that means to "receive or take" or "to give a positive answer to a proposition or offer."

"Do you accept travelers' checks?" (receive, take)

Susan accepted his offer of a job. (gave a positive answer)

The club accepted three new members. (received)

Except as a preposition, meaning "with the exception of." (Commonly used)

"Everybody except John went to the party." (John didn't go)

Except as a verb means, "to exclude," "to keep out." (Rarely used)

The boys excepted Frank from their club.(They did not accept him)

Expect is a verb that means, "waiting for sth to happen" or "believed to be the state of sth"

I expect them to show up at any minute.

I expect that they'll want to see my passport.




Admission / Admittance

I went to the U.S. Consulate but was refused admittance.

No admission will be charged at the school concert.

There is no admittance into that country without a visa.



Advice / Advise (note spelling differences between BritishEnglish and American English)

Advise is a verb.

The doctor advised her to quit smoking.

Advice is a noun.
She gave me some good advice.



Affect / Effect

Affect as a verb means "to influence, act upon, or change sth or sme"

The noise inside the stadium affected his performance.

Effect is usually a noun (thing) meaning to have an impact on sth or sme.

His smile had a strange effect on me.

Effect can also mean "the end result."

The drug has many adverse side effects.

Verb. To influence

Noun. The resulting emotion

Verb. To cause to happen

We were all affected by the drought.

The effect of the drought was an increase in food prices.

The drought effected an increase in price



Air / Airs

There was air pollution near the factories.(air = gas we breathe)

I don't like people who put on airs.(pretend to be something they are not)

There was an air of excitement when the match began.(feeling of excitement)



All ready / Already

All ready is an adjective phrase meaning "completely ready."

We were all ready to leave at eight o'clock. (everyone was ready)


Already is an adverb of time meaning "by, or before, a specific time."

They had already left by 3 o'clock.

He had already eaten when I arrived. (before I arrived)



Almost / Most / Mostly

She is the most intelligent student in the class. (superlative degree)

The people in Hong-Kong are mostly Chinese. (largely, primarily)

Most of the students wish to have a rest after long hours of work. (majority)



Altogether / All Together

Altogether is an adverb meaning "completely."

"I am altogether upset with you."



All together is an adjective phrase meaning "in a group."

The children sang a song all together.



Alone / Lonely

Alone as an adverb means "solely" or "exclusively."

John managed to tie his shoes alone.


Alone as an adjective means "solitary" or "separate."

John enjoyed being alone in the house.

Lonely means "without company" or "cut off from others."

John was lonely when he remained all alone in the house.



Amount / Number

Amount is used with non count nouns

Unfortunately, a large amount of oil leaked out of the tanker.

Number is a noun used with countable nouns

Though few in number, judges have much power in Greece.




As a whole / On the whole

Let us take the whole incident into consideration as a whole.

Jack is, on the whole, an industrious student.



Assure / Ensure / Insure
The manager assures us that the recorder would be repaired properly.

The owner of the goldsmith wants to insure against robbery.

You must check your work carefully to ensure that you do not make any mistakes.



You know, I keep adding to these words often confused pages so if you know of any more words often confused that I haven't included, why not let me know about them so I can include them?

To go to the next page of words often confused click on the preceding link.

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