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Commonly Confused Words - Part Two

Last updated 5 years ago

Each of us has our own little grammar ogres - the words we misspell or misuse over and over without realizing it.

Many commonly confused words are homophones groups (same sound, different spelling and meaning). Others are words with sounds so similar that they are often confused.

How confident are you with these confusing word pairs?

Affect / Effect
affect – Affect is a verb; it shows action. The way you speak may affect the way you are perceived.

effect – Effect means result or outcome. What effect will the new law have on your decision?

Alot / Allot
alot –This Is NOT a word!
The phrase a lot should always be written as two words: I spend a lot of time writing.

Don't confuse a lot with allot, which means to give a planned amount: She plans to allot six cookies for each child at the party.

Every day / Everyday
every day – This means each day or every singe day. This restaurant is open every day.

everyday – Spelled as one word, this means ordinary, usual, or common. I don't use my everyday dishes when my boss comes to dinner.

Loose / Lose
loose – This word means not tight or without ties. Wear loose clothing when you exercise.

lose – This word means the opposite of win. The Giants can't lose today's game.

Past / Passed
past – This word indicates a time before the present moment. He left his bad habits in the past.

passed – This word describes something that has gone by. We passed the time by reading our new books. It is also used as a gentle way to describe death: My grandmother passed away before I was born.

One good way to avoid confusion with words like these is to make your very own homophone list.

  • Find a list of homophones that cause trouble. Go through the list and circle three or four pairs that are problems for you.
  • Next, write definitions for them in your own words, and write each one in a sentence.
  • When you've mastered these, find a few more.

A little effort can bring a lot of confidence in taming homophone ogres!

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