Confused Words... help at last!
Confused words need not be your weakness when it comes to the English language.
In fact, you can make confusing words your strength by learning the words most often confused from the pages of this site.
Get started by clicking on the VOCABULARY button at the top of this page or use the confused words link to take you to the first in a series of pages containing words that are commonly confused.
You can also start below with the words on this page. These were considered confusing by students just like you.
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 something or someone.
His smile had a strange effect on me.
Effect can also mean "the end result."
Example: 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.
Amount / Number
Amount is a noun referring to non count nouns
Unfortunately, a huge amount of oil leaked out of the tank.
Number is a noun referring to count nouns
Though few in number, judges have much power in Greece.
Complimentary / Complementary
Complimentary is an adjective which means “given freely, or giving praise”
The teacher was very complimentary about my work.
Complementary is an adjective, which means, “supplying needs”
The complementary relationship of the bee and the flower is quite remarkable.
Different from / Different than
Different from is a preposition, which precedes a noun phrase
He is different from your average shop owner.
Different than is a preposition which precedes a noun clause
London isdifferent than we had imagined.
Enough is an adverb, which precedes a noun and follows an adjective
He knows enough English to study in England.
She is fastenough to win the race.
Every so often / Ever so often
Every so often is an adverb meaning “occasionally”
They come every so often. I wish they could come more frequently.
Ever so often is an adverb meaning “frequently”
They come ever so often. I wish they would stay home.
First / Former
First as an adjective refers to three or more items
The first five skiers fell.
Former as an adjective refers to two or fewer items
The former Secretary of State for the U.S., Colin Powel, was the first black to hold that position.
From / Since / For
From is a preposition followed by a noun or noun phrase.
As a time marker, it requires to or another preposition.
From now on I will lead the way.
From Monday to Friday, I work like a slave.
Since is a subordinate conjunction followed by a clause.
It expresses “the time something began” or “the beginning of time”
Since Wednesday, I have walked 6 miles a day.
For is a preposition followed by a noun or noun phrase.
It expresses “the length of time (duration) something has lasted.”
For two weeks I have walked to work every day.
Lie / Lay
Lie is an intransitive verb meaning “to recline”
He lies down for a nap after his lunch.
Lay is a transitive verb which means “to put or place”
He lay the book on the desk and left the room.
A Few / A little
A few means “some / not many.” Used with countable nouns.
A few people were standing outside the shop waiting to get in.
A littlemeans “some / not much.” Used with non-count nouns.
He gave me a little cheese to eat with my bread.
Passed / Past
Passed is a transitive verb and past participle of the verb pass
She barely passed the exam.
Past is a preposition or adjective meaning “by”
We will keep school open past June.
She walked past without saying hello.
Raise / Rise
Raise is a transitive verb meaning to move to a higher place.
Tom raised his hand to answer a question.
Rise is an intransitive verb meaning to go up or ascend.
The sunrises in the morning.
Say / Tell
Say is a transitive verb meaning to express in words
I said that she should stay home tonight.
Tell is an intransitive verb also meaning to express in words
I told him to stay home but he didn’t listen.
(Never, never, NEVER told to him)
Sit / Set
Sit is an intransitive verb meaning to rest on something.
Sit on the bench and not on the grass.
Set is a transitive verb meaning to place something.
She set the soup and spoons on the table.
Speak / Speech
Speak is a verb meaning “to say out loud”
“Speak louder. I can’t hear you!”
Speech is a noun meaning “what is said aloud”
Politicians give the same boring speech over and over again when running for political office.
Than / Then
Than is a conjunction used in comparisons
She is taller than her sister.
Then as an adjective or adverbial conjunction relates to time
First we will work; then we will go out for lunch.
Watch / See
Watch is a transitive verb meaning “to look at or observe carefully”
He watched his grand children playing in the yard
See is a transitive verb meaning “to perceive with the eye”
He saw the children go into the house.
Once again, I thought that was all the confused words there were. Guess what? I found some more and I’m in the process of preparing them to add to this site so come back soon as there will be more confused words here shortly...
...And here they are! That didn't take too long did it? Click on confused words for another confused words page.
Now, is that the end of confused words for students like you? Hardly, but the next pages should help you learn the more commonly confused words.