Confusing words

Mar 20, 2012

Hi guys!

Today we’re going to look at words that are often confused.


These verbs are different because raise is transitive (it has an object) and rise is intransitive( no object). E.g.- Parents raise their children.

The government have raised taxes.

The sun rises.

Taxes have risen.

2. advise/advice

Advise is a verb. Advice is a noun.

Practise/practice is the same.

3. a shame/ashamed

A shame is the same as a pity. E.g. What a shame!

Ashamed is the same as embarrassed. E.g. She saw me naked. I’m so ashamed.

4. affect/effect

Basically, the difference is that affect is always a verb, and effect is nearly always a noun.

E.g. The weather has affected the trains.

The weather has had a big effect on the trains.

But ‘to effect a change’ means ‘to make a change happen’

5. sensitive/sensible

Sensitive means easily affected. It can be a good or bad thing. E.g. He’s very sensitive to the needs of others.

She’s always complaining about his behaviour. She’s far too sensitive in my opinion.

On the other hand, sensible means mature or serious, and is always good.

E.g. Oldest children are usually the most sensible.

6. quite/quiet

It’s not difficult to tell the difference in meaning, but check the spelling.

7. wage/salary

A wage is per hour/per week or per month.

A salary is per year.

8. economic/economical

Economic means ‘to do with the economy’. Economical means cheap.

E.g. The government has to agree on the economic policy.

Using diesel is more economical than petrol.

9. out of work/off work

Out of work means unemployed. Off work means on holiday or on leave (such as maternity leave).

10. say/tell

Remember that we say something (to sb.)/that… and we tell sb. sth./ that…

E.g. She told me the truth.

Jamie said that he wanted to talk.

Cheers guys. See you next time. Keep reading the English blogs.

Good luck with your English!

Click here to enrol for English courses in London.

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