English is a complicated language that can get people wrong especially in the area of written communication. There are many words that can confuse people when they are presented in written text. But for the sake of brevity and space, we will only take up nine of the most frequently confused words in the English language.
1. Affect and Effect
These words hardly confuse experienced writers. But many people, especially those who speak English as their second language often mistake one for the other. Affect and effect are two different terms with different meanings. Affect is a verb that denotes influence while effect is a noun that signifies result or outcome.
2. Alright and All Right
“Alright” and “all right” may point to the same meaning but “alright” has always been considered as inappropriate because some purists consider it as the illiterate form of “all right.”
The correct usage of these words is becoming less of an issue today because more and more writers are using alright in their works. But for the sake of clarification, you should remember that “all right” is the standard form.
3. Lose and Loose
Many people interchange these words by mistake. It is because they forget the correct spelling of the word that they want to say. The word “lose” is a verb which means misplace or be defeated. On the other hand, “loose” is an adjective which means slack, roomy or movable.
4. Desert and Dessert
These words often confuse some people. They actually refer to two different things. The word “desert” is a noun. It refers to a dry, barren place where there’s no rain or water. It can also be a verb that means to abandon. The word “dessert” refers to food that people usually eat at the end of a meal.
5. To and Too
These three words are totally different from each other and using one for the other can make your sentence incomplete or confusing. “To” can be a proposition or an infinitive while “too” is an adverb that means “also” or “very.”
6. Stationary and Stationery
These two words are pronounced in almost the same way. It is the reason why writers are prone to use one for the other. The word “stationary” refers to a state or condition which means fixed or motionless. “Stationery” is a noun that refers to paper that people use for writing, like paper and envelope.
7. It’s and Its
Many people easily make a mistake of interchanging these two words. “It’s is a contraction for “it is.” “Its” on the other hand, is an adjective and the possessive form of it. To avoid interchanging them, you should always use “it’s” when you mean “it is.”
8. Altogether and All Together
Many writers think that these two words mean the same thing, but they are actually different from each other. The word “altogether” refers to totality. It means “all in all” or “in total.” “All together” is an adverb which refer entirety. They can either mean “all” or “together.”
9. Fewer and Less
“Fewer” and “less” are both adjectives that have different uses. The word “fewer” is used on objects that you can count, like people, books, cars, or houses. “Less” is used on things that you cannot count such as water, sand, oil, or powder.
Filed Under: General Writing