5 Commonly Confused Words in English

***there is a quiz at the end of this article***

What are 5 Commonly Confused Words in English?

As you might know, English is full of confusing words that sound the same but are pronounced differently. It’s also full of words and phrases that share common meanings, but when you use them in the wrong context, they get a completely different meaning.

I understand that these confusing words thing can be so annoying, and that’s why I came up with a list of the most confusing words in English along with some examples and explanations that will help you understand them more.

So, let’s take a closer look 5 commonly confused words in English with some examples!

Breath/Breathe

This is one pair that ESL students confuse a lot when it comes to speaking and writing. Now, it should be clear that these two words are pronounced and spelled differently.

Breath (without -e) is a noun, and it’s the air that goes in and out of your lungs. Without it, you can’t live.

  • When she walked into the room, her face was red, and she was out of breath.
  • Did you smoke again? I can smell it in your breath.
  • His breath always smelled of garlic.

Breathe (with -e) is a verb, and it’s the action of taking air into and out of your lungs.

  • I was so scared of the spider that I couldn’t even breathe.
  • Our coach told us to breathe in and out slowly before we start training.
  • Can you please open the window? It’s airless here and I can’t breathe.

Compliment/Complement

This is another pair that looks and sounds the same but differs in both meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. Once you understand the difference in meaning between these words, they become easier to use.

Compliment (with -i) is a noun, and it means a remark that expresses admiration or approval that someone gives you because they like something about you and because they want to show you respect and admiration.

  • Great authors don’t just accept compliments. They accept criticism as well.
  • She was so sad that her husband doesn’t pay her any compliments anymore.
  • Thanks for the compliment! I really appreciate it.
  • I always take it as a compliment when people tell me that I’m very friendly.

Complement (with -e) is a verb. If one thing complements another thing, it goes well with it. So, two things complement each other, they look more attractive and beautiful when combined together.

  • The rhythm of this music complements her voice well.
  • These two colors complement each other perfectly.
  • Do strawberries and cream complement each other?

Accept/Except

Now, these ones are actually different when it comes to spelling, and it’s obvious, right? But what people confuse here is the pronunciation of these words. Though their pronunciation sounds similar, there is a slight difference there that you have to pay attention to. Let’s take a look at the meaning of each word and some examples of it.

Accept is a verb, and it means to say yes to something like an offer or an invitation. It simply means to agree to do something. If you accept an invitation from a friend to go to a party, you agree to go to that party.

  • Do you think that she’ll accept my apology?
  • I don’t think I’ll accept your offer. I’m sorry!
  • Did she accept his marriage offer?

Except means to exclude something. If you say that you have everything you need except something, you mean that you don’t have that “something”.

  • All my friends have come to my birthday party except for Jenny.
  • I have everything I have ever dreamed about except happiness.
  • The boss has made mention of everything except the new rules.

Everyday/Every day

How many of you have been using these two words interchangeablly? People always use “everyday” and don’t even know that there is a difference between the two words.

Everyday (without space) is an adjective, and you use it to describe something that happens every day or on a regular basis.

  • Everyday activities.
  • Everyday problems.
  • Everyday routine.

Every day simply means what it says; it describes something that you do every single day.

  • I go to school every day.
  • Every day, I work on my listening skills.
  • I love to remind her of how much I love her every single day.

Desert/Dessert

This is probably one of the most confusing pairs in English. They have a different pronunciation, almost the same spelling, and a totally different meaning. So, what is the difference between them?

Desert is an area of land covered with land where there very little rain and no plants.

  • The desert sun was so hot that we felt dizzy walking.
  • We have to visit the Sahara desert one day.
  • Twelve people were lost in the desert last month.

Dessert is something sweet such as a pudding or fruit that you eat at the end of a meal.

  • What are we going to have for dessert?
  • I think I’m going to make strawberry ice cream for dessert.
  • What would you like for dessert?

So, I hope this blog about 5 commonly confused words in English helped you understand the difference between these confusing words guys!

Commonly Confused Words

Confusing Words

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80 thoughts on “5 Commonly Confused Words in English”

  1. I was confused 😐
    Even though i foreknew each n every word idk why i got 8πŸ™„
    But thank you so much for amazing quizπŸ’•

    Reply
  2. Yeahhh… Happy.. I got 9/10 …
    Make more quiz.. They are so helpfull and interesting.. I love it…
    and please explain uses of could and would in easy way. Especially in past form..

    Reply

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