10 COMMON CONFUSING PAIRS OF WORDS
1. MOURN vs MOAN :
Moan, as a verb, means to make a complaint in an unhappy voice, usually about something which does not seem important to other people.
The British always moan about the weather.
Mourn is a verb that means to feel or express great sadness, especially because of someone's death.
Many people in the UK mourned the death of Princess Diana.
2 CAPITAL vs CAPITOL:
- Capital is a noun used to describe the most important city or town of a country or region, usually its seat of government.
For example: London is the capital of England.
- Capitol is a noun used to describe a building in which a US state government meets.
For example: The Capitol is a public building.
NB: Both words are pronounced same way.
3 COMPLEMENT vs COMPLIMENT :
- Complement is a verb, which means to make something seem better or more attractive when combined.
For example: "The colours blue and green complement each other perfectly."
- Compliment is a noun, which means a remark that expresses approval, admiration or respect.
For example: "It was the nicest
compliment anyone had ever paid me."
4 COUNCIL vs COUNSEL :
- Council is a group noun. It refers to a group of people elected or chosen to make decisions or give advice on a particular subject, to represent a particular group of people, or to run a particular organization.
For example: "The local council has decided not to allocate any more funds for the project."
- Counsel can be a verb, which means to give advice, especially on social or personal problems.
For example: "She counsels the long-term unemployed on how to get a job."
Counsel can also be a noun, which means advice.
For example: "I should have listened to my father's counsel, and saved some money instead of spending it all."
NB: Both words are pronounced same way.
5 FEWER vs LESS :
Most people get this wrong - including native speakers. The general rule is to use fewer for things you can count (individually), and less for things you can only measure
There were fewer people in the class than usual. (People can be counted.)
There were fewer days below freezing last winter. (Days can be counted.)
I drink less coffee than she does. (Coffee cannot be counted individually it has to be measured).
It looks bad when there's less
information about your company on a site than there is for other companies.
!Note - The lines between less and fewer are getting blurred, i.e. a sign in a shop might say, "10 items or less," because "10 items or fewer," seems pompous to many people. Or maybe it's because less takes fewer letters.
6 HOLIDAY vs WEEKEND :
A holiday (noun), a time, often one or two weeks, when someone does not go to work or school but is free to do what they want, such as travel or relax. You usually have to book your holiday with your boss.
For example: "Where are you going on holiday this year? Somewhere nice I hope."
The weekend (noun) - In the UK, the weekend is Saturday and Sunday, or from Friday evening until Sunday night. It's the part of the week in which many workers living in the UK do not go to work. It is a time for leisure and recreation, and/or for religious activities. ...
For example: "What are you doing this weekend? Anything nice?"
7 LATER vs LATTER :
Later is an adverb. It's used to express time, either in the future or after the time you have mentioned.
For example: "I'll see you later on Second Life."
Latter is an adjectiv, which means near or towards the end of something
For example: "I got tired during the latter part of the walk."
Latter can also be used to describe the second thing of two things mentioned.
8 RAISE vs RISE :
When used as a verb, they both have the same general meaning of "to move upwards". The main difference is that rise is an intransitive verb (it does not take an object), while raise is a transitive verb (it requires an object):
As you can see from the examples below, nobody pushes up the sun, whereas Laide moved her hand upwards.
rise (v) Something rises by itself
The sun rises in the east.
The chairman always rises to the occasion.
I will rise tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. to walk the dog.
Rise is an irregular verb: rise / rose / risen
raise (v) Something else is needed to raise something.
Laide raised her hand.
They can't raise the Titanic.
Raise is a regular verb: raise / raised / raised
As a noun rise describes an upward movement.
There was a steep rise in drug-related crimes.
As a noun raise describes an increase in salary.
For example: When people ask for a
raise , they often go about it in an entirely wrong way.
!Note - you can raise children, which means to look after them as they grow up.
!Note - sometimes people ask for a pay rise.
9. MORAL vs MORALE :
Moral as a noun or an adjective, which is used to describe standards of good or bad character and behaviour. It can also be used to describe a kind of story that tells you how you should or should not behave.
Wilde was condemned by his critics for writing an "immoral" book; he claimed it was a very moral work.
Morale is a noun that describes the amount of confidence felt by a person or group of people, especially when in a dangerous or difficult situation.
During the second world war lipstick was kept in production in the UK because of its effect on morale.
10 PRECEDE vs PROCEED :
Precede is a verb that means to be or to go before something or someone in time or space.
For example: Ecological extinction caused by overfishing precedes other human disturbance to coastal ecosystems.
Proceed is a verb that means to continue as planned.
For example: The government has decided not to proceed with the legislation.