Confusing English Words
Some words are spelled very similarly but have different meanings. Often the meanings of these similar words are related, but sometimes they are not.
Commonly confused words:
advice / advise
‘I need to give my friend some advice’.
I need to advise my friend’.
compliments / complements
‘Pass my compliments on to the chef’.
‘The colour of your t-shirt really complements your skin tone’.
principle / principal
‘It is the principle of the matter that really counts’
‘The principal problem in the essay is the bad grammar’
conform / confirm
‘It is important to conform to expectations’
‘I need to confirm my dentist appointment’
note / notice
‘You should take notes at the meeting’,
‘The notice clearly stated that they were not allowed to smoke’
‘He always notices if you wear a new tie’
‘They ate apple crumble for dessert’
‘The camels walked for five hours across the Sahara desert’
‘The lion’s mane was spectacular’
‘The main problem is his lateness’
‘The garden is quite big’
‘You must be quiet when studying in the library’
barmy / balmy
‘He is crazy – completely barmy!’
‘What a balmy evening – perfect for dining outside’.
course / coarse
‘The English language course was easy to understand’
‘Plot a course for that island, Captain. We will set sail tonight’
‘The texture of that wool is really coarse. I prefer smooth fabrics’.
pedal / peddle
‘Press your foot on the accelorator pedal to increase the speed’
‘The street seller decided to peddle his goods around the town’
Confusing English words for EFL students – check out our blog!
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