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Frequently Confused Word Pairs: Notes and Examples SPI 3002.1.13 Select the appropriate word in frequently confused pairs (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/they’re,

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Presentation on theme: "Frequently Confused Word Pairs: Notes and Examples SPI 3002.1.13 Select the appropriate word in frequently confused pairs (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/they’re,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Frequently Confused Word Pairs: Notes and Examples SPI 3002.1.13 Select the appropriate word in frequently confused pairs (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/they’re, it/it’s, you/you’re, whose/who’s, which/that/who, accept/except, affect/effect, between/among, capitol/capital, principal/principle, stationary/stationery, who/whom, allusion/illusion, complement/compliment, cite/site/sight, counsel/council, coarse/course, farther/further, lose/loose, fewer/less, advice/advise, precede/proceed, adapt/adopt, eminent/imminent, assure/ensure/insure).

2 affect / effect – Affect is a verb meaning “to influence.” Use affect in sentences meaning influences, such as, “ The prosecutor’s speech affected the jury’s decision.” “ The bright colors affect how the patients feel.”

3 –Use effect as a verb to mean “to bring about” or “to accomplish.” This word effect is used only for specific meaning, such as “The treatment will effect a cure for the disease.” Note: This sentence came directly from a grammar book. However, the grammar checking program on Microsoft Word flags it as incorrect with “affect” as the correction. The grammar checking program is incorrect.

4 affect / effect “ High gas prices did not effect a change in most people’s travel habits.” Notice that “effect” as a verb usually has a specific direct object with it to focus attention on that which is focused or brought about.

5 affect / effect Typically, “effect” is used as a noun to mean “the result of some action.” – Example: “ The bright colors have a beneficial effect on the patients.” – Example: “ The hurricane had a devastating effect on Mississippi’s economy.”

6 off / off of Do not use off or off of to replace from. Here’s the money I borrowed off you. (incorrect) Here’s the money I borrowed from you. (correct)

7 kind of / sort of *In formal situations, avoid using either of these expressions for the adverb rather or somewhat. The waves were sort of rough. (incorrect) The waves were rather [or somewhat] rough. (correct)

8 a while / awhile *The noun while, often preceded by the article a, means a “period of time.” * Awhile is an adverb meaning “for a short period of time.” I haven’t heard from your pen pal for a while. I usually read awhile before going to bed.

9 all ready / already all ready (adjective) *all prepared already (adverb) *previously We were all ready to leave. We had already painted the sets.

10 suppose to / supposed to *To express an intention or plan, use the verb form supposed before an infinitive. We were supposed to (not suppose to) meet Wendy at eight o’ clock.

11 who’s, whose * Who’s is the contraction of who is or who has. * Whose is the possessive for of who. Who’s [who is] the narrator of “A Christmas Memory”? Whose autobiography is titled Black Boy?

12 which, that, who * Who refers to persons only. * Which refers to things only. * That may refer to either persons or things. Isn’t Walt Whitman the poet who [or that] wrote Leaves of Grass? [person] They decided to replace Miss Forestier’s necklace, which they did not know was fake. [thing] The necklace that the Loisels bought cost thirty-six thousand francs. [thing]

13 who / whom * Who – (nominative case) is a pronoun used as a subject in sentences and subordinate clauses. Who gave Michelle the beautiful flowers? The man who gave Michelle the flowers is her husband.

14 who / whom * Whom – (objective case) is a pronoun used as a direct object in sentences and subordinate clauses. You baked these delicious cookies for whom? The teachers wondered whom the seniors selected as class president.

15 your, you’re * Your is a possessive form of you. * You’re is the contraction of you are. What is your opinion of General Zaroff? You’re [you are] my best friend.

16 its, it’s * Its is the possessive form of it. * It’s is the contraction of it is or it has. The bird has stopped its singing. It’s [it is] an easy problem. It’s [it has] been raining since noon.

17 their, there, they’re * Their is a possessive form of they. *As an adverb, there means “at that place.” There is also used to begin a sentence. * They’re is the contraction of they are. Harry Pope lay there quietly. There is a conflict between Odysseus and the Cyclops. Their daughter, Juliet, was in love with a Montague. They’re throwing pebbles at Miss Lottie’s flowers.

18 counsel, council *As a noun, counsel means “advice.” *As a verb, counsel means “give advice.” * Council is a noun meaning “group called together to accomplish a job.” I’m grateful for your counsel. [noun] Did the doctor counsel her to get more rest? [verb] The city council will debate the issue.

19 accept, except * Accept is a verb that means “to receive” or “to agree to.” * Except is usually a preposition meaning “but.” * Except may also be a verb that means “to leave out or exclude.” Will accept our thanks? Everyone will be there except you. The government excepts people with very low incomes from paying taxes.

20 between, among *In general use among to show a relationship in which more than two persons or things are considered as a group. The committee will distribute the used clothing among the poor families in the community. There was confusion among the players on the field.

21 between, among *In general, use between to show a relationship involving two persons or things, or to compare one person or thing with an entire group. Mr. and Mrs. Ito live halfway between Seattle and Portland. [relationship involving two places.] Emilo could not decide between the collie, the cocker spaniel, and the beagle. [items within a group]

22 allusion, illusion *An allusion is an indirect reference. *An illusion is a false idea or appearance. Her speech included an allusion to one of Robert Frost’s poems. The shimmering heat produced an illusion of water on the road.

23 capital, capitol *A capital is a city that is the seat of government. * Capital can also mean “money or property.” *As an adjective, capital can mean “involving execution” or “referring to an uppercase letter.” * Capitol, on the other hand, refers only to a building in which a legislature meets.

24 capital, capitol What is the capital of Vermont? Anyone starting a business needs capital. Capital punishment is not used in this state. Hester Prynne embroidered a capital A on her dress. The capitol has a gold dome.

25 cite, site, sight *To cite is “to quote or refer to”. Cite can also mean “to summon to appear in a court of law.” *As a noun, sight means “vision.” As a verb, sight means “to see.” *As a noun, site is a place or a location.

26 cite, site, sight Consuela cited three sources of information in her report. The officer cited the driver for speeding. My sight is perfect. [noun] The board of education has chosen a site for the new high school. [noun]

27 complement, compliment *As a noun, complement means “something that completes”; as a verb, it means “to complete.” *As a noun, compliment means, “a flattering remark”; as a verb, it means “to praise.” This purple scarf complements your outfit perfectly. Phyllis received many compliments on her speech.

28 to, too, two * To means “in the direction of”’ it is also part of the infinitive form of a verb. * Too means “very” or “also.” * Two is the number after one. John walks to school. She likes to read mystery books. We have two kittens.

29 stationary, stationery * Stationary means “fixed” or “unmoving.” * Stationery is writing paper. This classroom has stationary desks. Rhonda likes to write letters on pretty stationery.

30 principal, principle *As a noun, principal means “head of a school”; it can also mean “a sum of money borrowed or invested.” *As an adjective, principal means “main” or “chief.” * Principle is a noun meaning “basic truth or belief” or “rule of conduct.” Mr. Schneitman, our principal, will speak at the morning assembly. [noun] What was your principal reason for joining the club? [adjective] The principle of fair play is important in sports.

31 lose, loose *The adjective loose means “free,” “not firmly attached,” or “not fitting tightly.” *The verb lose means “to misplace” or “to fail to win.” Don’t lose that loose button on your shirt. If we lose this game, we’ll be out of the tournament.

32 farther, further *Use farther in referring to physical distance. *Use further in all other situations. San Antonio is farther south than Dallas. We have nothing further to discuss.

33 How much further is it to Grandmother’s house? INCORRECT

34 fewer, less *Use fewer with nouns that can be counted. *Use less with nouns that can’t be counted. * Less may also be used with numbers that are considered assingle amounts or single quantities. There were few students in my math class than in my physics class. I used less sugar than the recipe recommended. I can be there in less than thirty minutes.

35 coarse, course * Coarse means “rough,” “crude,” “not fine,” “of poor quality. * Course can mean “a school subject,” “a path or way,” “order or development,” or “part of a meal.” To begin, I will need some coarse sandpaper for my project. Mrs. Baldwin won’t tolerate coarse language. Are you taking any math courses this year?

36 assure / ensure / unsure * Assure means “to state with confidence.” * Ensure means “to secure or guarantee” or “to make sure or certain.” * Insure means “to guarantee against loss or harm” or “to issue or procure an insurance policy.” Joey assured his mother that his homework was finished. Diligent preparation will ensure your success in this class. The bank insists that I insure my new car before I drive it.

37 eminent, imminent *The adjective eminent means “high in state or rank,” “lofty,” “high,” or “prominent.” *The adjective imminent means “likely to occur at any moment.” The Pope is an eminent figure in some religious circles. Since the storm was imminent, the baseball game was postponed.

38 advice, advise * Advice (noun) is “an opinion offered as a guide to action.” * Advise (verb) is “to give counsel to” or “to offer an opinion or suggestion.” The Pope is an eminent figure in some religious circles. Since the storm was imminent, the baseball game was postponed.


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