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Commonly confused words - Oxford Dictionaries

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Commonly confused words - Oxford Dictionaries

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Commonly confused words - Oxford Dictionaries

Take a look at these two sentences one of them contains a mistake:


I poured over book after book.
We pored over the catalogues.
Are you uncertain which one is right? There are a lot of words in English that look or sound alike but have very different
meanings, such as pore and pour or flaunt and flout. Its easy to get them confused and most electronic spellcheckers
wont be much help in this type of situation: they can tell you if a word has been spelled wrongly but they cant generally
flag up the misuse of a correctly spelled word.
Heres a quick-reference list of pairs of words that regularly cause people problems. The words follow the accepted
British English spelling. Some of them do have alternative American spellings and you will find these at the main
dictionary entry on this website.
Word 1
accept
adverse

Meaning
to agree to receive or do
unfavourable, harmful

Word 2
except
averse

Meaning
not including
strongly disliking; opposed

advice
affect
aisle

recommendations about what to do


to change or make a difference to
a passage between rows of seats

advise
effect
isle

to recommend something
a result; to bring about a result
an island

all together all in one place, all at once


along
moving or extending horizontally on
aloud
out loud

altogether
a long
allowed

completely; on the whole


referring to something of great length
permitted

altar
amoral
appraise

a sacred table in a church


not concerned with right or wrong
to assess

alter
immoral
apprise

to change
not following accepted moral standards
to inform someone

assent
aural
balmy

agreement, approval
relating to the ears or hearing
pleasantly warm

ascent
oral
barmy

the action of rising or climbing up


relating to the mouth; spoken
foolish, crazy

bare
bated
bazaar

naked; to uncover
bear
in phrase 'with bated breath', i.e. in great suspense baited
a Middle Eastern market
bizarre

to carry; to put up with


with bait attached or inserted
strange

berth
born
bough

a bunk in a ship, train, etc.


having started life
a branch of a tree

birth
borne
bow

the emergence of a baby from the womb


carried
to bend the head; the front of a ship

brake
breach
broach

a device for stopping a vehicle; to stop a vehicle


to break through, or break a rule; a gap
to raise a subject for discussion

break
breech
brooch

to separate into pieces; a pause


the back part of a gun barrel
a piece of jewellery

canvas

a type of strong cloth

canvass

censure

to criticize strongly

censor

to seek peoples votes


to ban parts of a book or film; a person
who does this

cereal

a grass producing an edible grain; a breakfast food


serial
made from grains

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/commonly-confused-words

happening in a series
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Commonly confused words - Oxford Dictionaries

chord

a group of musical notes

cord

a length of string; a cord-like body part

climactic

forming a climax

climatic

relating to climate

coarse

rough

course

complacent smug and self-satisfied

a direction; a school subject; part of a


meal
complaisant willing to please

council

to add to so as to improve; an addition that


improves something
a group of people who manage or advise

cue

a signal for action; a wooden rod

queue

curb

to keep something in check; a control or limit

kerb

currant

a dried grape

current

defuse
desert

to make a situation less tense


a waterless, empty area; to abandon someone

diffuse
dessert

complement

compliment
counsel

to praise or express approval; an


admiring remark
advice; to advise
a line of people or vehicles
(in British English) the stone edge of a
pavement
happening now; a flow of water, air, or
electricity
to spread over a wide area
the sweet course of a meal

discreet
careful not to attract attention
disinterested impartial
draught
a current of air

discrete
separate and distinct
uninterested not interested
draft
a first version of a piece of writing

draw
dual
elicit

an even score at the end of a game


having two parts
to draw out a reply or reaction

drawer
duel
illicit

ensure

to make certain that something will happen

insure

envelop
exercise
fawn

to cover or surround
physical activity; to do physical activity
a young deer; light brown

envelope
exorcise
faun

to provide compensation if a person dies


or property is damaged
a paper container for a letter
to drive out an evil spirit
a mythical being, part man, part goat

flaunt
flounder
forbear
foreword
freeze
grisly

to display ostentatiously
to move clumsily; to have difficulty doing something
to refrain
an introduction to a book
to turn to ice
gruesome, revolting

flout
founder
forebear
forward
frieze
grizzly

to disregard a rule
to fail
an ancestor
onwards, ahead
a decoration along a wall
a type of bear

hoard
imply
loath

a store
to suggest indirectly
reluctant, unwilling

horde
infer
loathe

loose

to unfasten; to set free

lose

a large crowd of people


to draw a conclusion
to hate
to be deprived of; to be unable to find

meter
militate
palate
pedal

a measuring device
to be a powerful factor against
the roof of the mouth
a foot-operated lever

metre
mitigate
palette
peddle

a metric unit; rhythm in verse


to make less severe
a board for mixing colours
to sell goods

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/commonly-confused-words

a sliding storage compartment


a fight or contest between two people
not allowed by law or rules

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Commonly confused words - Oxford Dictionaries

pole

a long, slender piece of wood

poll

pour

to flow or cause to flow

pore

voting in an election
a tiny opening; to study something
closely

the use of an idea or method; the work or business


practise
of a doctor, dentist, etc.
to authorize use of medicine; to order
proscribe
authoritatively

to do something repeatedly to gain skill;


to do something regularly

principal
sceptic
sight
stationary
storey
titillate

most important; the head of a school


a person inclined to doubt
the ability to see
not moving
a level of a building
to arouse interest

principle
septic
site
stationery
story
titivate

a fundamental rule or belief


infected with bacteria
a location
writing materials
a tale or account
to make more attractive

tortuous
wreath

full of twists; complex


a ring-shaped arrangement of flowers etc.

torturous
wreathe

full of pain or suffering


to surround or encircle

practice
prescribe

to officially forbid something

Back to usage.
You may also be interested in
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Can or may?
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Commonly confused words - Oxford Dictionaries

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-ize, -ise, or -yse?
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English spelling changes
fore- or for-?
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Commonly confused words - Oxford Dictionaries

Forming adverbs
Forming comparative and superlative adjectives
How words are built
i before e except after c
Plurals of nouns
Prefixes and suffixes
Spelling differences and changes
Minuscule or miniscule?
Currying favour
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One word or two?
British and American spelling
Spelling rules and tips
Tracking the changes
Using capital letters
Verb tenses: adding -ed and -ing
Words containing the letter q
Words ending in a vowel plus l
Words ending in -cede, -ceed, and -sede
Words ending in -ch and -tch
Words ending in -re/-er
Words ending in -sion, -tion, and -cion
Words with misleading beginnings
Punctuation
Full stop (.)
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Commonly confused words - Oxford Dictionaries

Top tips for online writing


Top tips for creative writing
Top tips for writing a successful speech
Top tips for writing a review
Building a piece of writing
Structure
Cohesion
Clichs and redundant expressions
Avoiding clichs
Avoiding redundant expressions
Applying for a job
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Usage
A historic event or an historic event?
Adverse or averse?
Affect or effect?
All right or alright?
Allude or elude?
Alternate or alternative?
Among or amongst?
Amoral or immoral?
Assume or presume?
Appraise or apprise?
Bare or bear?
Between you and me
Bored by, of, or with?
Bring or take?
British and American terms
Can or may?
Cannot or can not?
Censure or censor?
Cite, site, or sight?
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Commonly confused words - Oxford Dictionaries

Climactic or climatic?
Commonly confused words
Complement or compliment?
Continual or continuous?
Could of or could have?
Denote or connote?
Dialect
Different from, than, or to?
Diffuse or defuse?
Discreet or discrete?
Disinterested or uninterested?
Elicit or illicit?
Enquire or inquire?
Ensure or insure?
Especially or specially?
Farther or further?
Flair or flare?
Flaunt or flout?
Formal language
Grizzly or grisly?
He or she versus they
Historic or historical?
Hopefully
I or me?
i.e. or e.g.?
Imply or infer?
Informal language
Irregardless
Its or its?
Laid or lain?
Learnt or learned?
Less or fewer?
Like
Literally
Literary language
Loose or lose?
May or might?
Neither and nor
Old-fashioned language
Onto or on to?
Phenomenon or phenomena?
Principal or principle?
Shall or will?
Slang
Standard English
Thankfully
That or which?
Themselves or 'themself?
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Commonly confused words - Oxford Dictionaries

These or those?
To or too?
Who or whom?
Tortuous or torturous?

English (UK)
English (UK)

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