Many words in English have the same spellings and pronunciations. So, you may easily get confused about which word to use in the sentence. Some of these words are confusing even for native speakers, especially in writing. For example, when do we use “lose” and when do we use “loose”? English words like these can be very confusing, can’t they? Yes, of course. English is a language that has a wide vocabulary. You may easily come across this type of confusing word groups. If you feel worried to speak and avoid misunderstanding, it may stop and badly affect your learning and motivation, communication with others. You shouldn`t stop your conversations to think about which word is correct or suitable.  Especially when you’re writing, you should look out for these words and be careful that you’re using the correct one. Remember to double-check your spelling. You can start from a point to learn the differences between these common confusing words.   We made a list of the most common confusing words for you. You may have a better understanding in the use of them regarding the context. So, let`s start!


1. Advice and Advise

With these words, we have similar spellings. Advice is a noun while advise is its verb. Both of them mean to give good guidance on an issue.


My father gave me one piece of advice – “Always be on time.” (noun)

He advised her to save her money more carefully. (verb)


2. Affect and Effect

The main difference is between two words grammatical, although they’re pronounced slightly differently. Usually, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. They mean the results of particular actions.


I’m worried that your bad habits will affect your whole life. (verb)

Before you start a discussion with your boss, think of the effects of your actions (noun).


3. Bear and Bare

Bear when used as a verb means to endure hardship or hold something heavy.  Bare, meanwhile, is an adjective that means naked or uncovered, or a verb which means to uncover or reveal.


A broken bed cannot bear your weight. (verb)

Carpenters with bare hands often get hurt. (adjective)

Bare your hand so that we can see your tattoo. (verb)


4. Compliment and Complement

As a verb and noun, compliment is a praise word and means saying something nice about someone. Complement is used when something that completes something else. It’s often used to describe things that go well together


I complimented my sister on her delicious cooking (verb).

Her red skirt complements her shoes. (They match perfectly)


5. Empathy and Sympathy

Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s perspective or feelings. Sympathy is a feeling of sorrow for someone else’s suffering. A sympathizer is someone who agrees with a particular ideal or cause.


His empathy enabled him to avoid a quarrel.

Jack’s sympathy made him give money to his sick neighbor.


6. Further and Farther

These two are very confusing. Further and farther both have the same meaning but are used in different situations. Farther — with far — is used when we’re talking about physical distance. Further refers to metaphorical distance and is used for more abstract situations.


In a race, you can say “She ran farther and faster than him.”

The professor told us: “If you have any further questions you can ask me at the end.”


7. Lay and Lie

To lay means to put or to place. To lie means to deceive someone by not telling the truth.


Lay the new books on my desk.

I will never lie to you until the end of my life.


8. Lose and Loose

Lose – pronounced with a “z” sound – is a verb meaning to not have something anymore, to be unable to find something or to not win. You lose your cell phone, or you lose your way while driving somewhere. Loose – with an “s” sound – on the other hand, is an adjective that means free, unattached, or not tight. It’s also a verb meaning to untie or let go of something.


I don’t want my football team to lose the game.

A loose sweater feels very comfortable.


9. Principal/Principle

The principal can be a noun or adjective. As a noun, it refers to the person in charge of a school or organization. A principle (always a noun) is a firmly held belief or ideal.


Their school principal has made a speech on the first day of the school.

Our principle is to collaborate and work together to finish the job earlier.


10. Desert vs Dessert

Desert it a big dry portion of land that has plants. Dessert is a sweet confection served as the last course of a meal.


The northern part of our country is a desert.

After the dinner, she served a dessert ‘baklava’ that she made herself.

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