30 Commonly Confused Words in English for ESL Learners

Commonly Confused Words in English! In this lesson, you will learn the list of popular 30 English word pairs that confuse absolutely everyone with their meaning and examples with ESL printable infographics.

Commonly Confused Words List

Here is the useful list of English word pairs that make you confuse:

Accept vs. Except

What is the difference between accept vs except?

Accept:

Accept means to agree to take something or to say yes to an offer or invitation.

  • I accept full responsibility for the failure of the plan.

Except: 

Except means not including; but not. Except also means with this difference or in this case only

  • It’s cool and quiet everywhere except in the kitchen.

Advice vs. Advise

Advice:

Advice is a noun which means guidance or recommendations offered with regard to prudent future action.

  • I need some advice on which computer to buy.

Advise:

Advise is a verb which means to offer suggestions about the best, to give some advice

  • His doctor advised him against smoking

Affect vs. Effect

Affect:

Affect is a verb which means to have an effect on; make a difference to.

  • It’s a disease that affects mainly older people.

Effect: 

Effect is a noun which means a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.

  • I think I’m suffering from the effects of too little sleep.

Allowed vs. Aloud

Allowed:

Allowed means give (someone) permission to do something.

  • The loophole has allowed hundreds of drink-drivers to avoid prosecution.

Aloud:

Aloud means audibly; not silently or in a whisper.

  • Children love to have stories read aloud to them.

Allude vs. Elude

Allude:

Allude means suggest or call attention to indirectly; hint at.

  • He alluded to problems with the new computers.

Elude:

Elude means evade or escape from (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skillful or cunning way.

  • They had minor breakthroughs but real success eluded them.

Ate vs. Eight

Ate:

Ate is past of “eat” which means to put or take food into the mouth, chew it and swallow it:

  • He ate every bit of the pudding.

Eight:

Eight is equivalent to the product of two and four; one more than seven, or two less than ten; 8.

  • The two buildings are eight metres apart.

Break vs. Brake

Break:

Break means to separate or cause to separate into pieces as a result of a blow, shock, or strain.

  • The rope broke with a loud snap.

Brake: 

Brake means to make a moving vehicle slow down or stop by using a brake.

  • He should not brake the car abruptly on an icy road.

By vs. Buy

By

By is a preposition which is used to show the person or thing that does something:

  • We were amazed by what she told us.

Buy

Buy means to get something by paying money for it:

  • The bank will supply and buy back foreign currency.

Capital vs. Capitol

Capital:

Capital means the most important city or town of a country or region, usually its seat of government and administrative center.

  • Australia’s capital city is Canberra.

Capitol:

Capitol is the building in which the USCongress meets.

  • The Capitol is a magnificent building.

Coarse vs. Course

Coarse:

Coarse means rough or loose in texture or grain.

  • My clothes were made of coarse cloth.

Course:

Course a set of classes or a plan of study on a particular subject, usually leading to an exam or qualification

  • They’re going away on a training course next week.

Emigrate vs. Immigrate

Emigrate:

Emigrate means leave one’s own country in order to settle permanently in another.

  • He’s decided to emigrate and start a new life in America.

Immigrate:

Immigrate means come to live permanently in a foreign country.

  • They had no choice but to immigrate.

Ensure vs. Insure

Ensure:

Ensure means make certain that (something) shall occur or be the case.

  • I will ensure that the car arrives by six o’clock.

Insure: 

Insure means arrange for compensation in the event of damage to or loss of (property), or injury to or the death of (someone), in exchange for regular advance payments to a company or government agency.

  • It is advisable to insure your life against accident.

Farther vs. Further

Farther:

Farther means to a greater distance.

  • The cinema was farther down the road than I thought.

Further: 

Further means to a greater distance or degree, or at a more advanced level.

  • We expect to see further improvement over the coming year.

Fewer vs. Less

Fewer: 

Fewer means used to emphasize how small a number of people or things is.

  • Women commit fewer crimes than men.

Less: 

Less means a smaller amount of; not as much.

  • Do you pay less tax if you’re self-employed?

For vs. Four

For

For is a preposition which means intended to be given to.

  • There’s a phone message for you.

Four

Four is an equivalent to the product of two and two; one more than three, or six less than ten; 4.

  • A horse stumbles that has four legs.

Forth vs. Fourth

Forth:

Forth means out from a starting point and forward or into view.

  • April showers bring forth May flowers.

Fourth:

Fourth means constituting number four in a sequence; 4th.

  • He declined to make projections about fourth quarter earnings.

Foreword vs. Forward

Foreword:

Foreword is a noun that means an introductory note or preface.

  • This book has a foreword by the President.

Forward:

Forward is an adjective or adverb that means toward the front.

  • Her chin was thrust forward aggressively.

Hear vs. Here

Hear:

Hear means perceive with the ear the sound made by (someone or something).

  • Men love to hear well of themselves.

Here: 

Here means in, at, or to this place or position.

  • Children here walk several miles to school.

Loose vs. Lose

Difference between loose vs. lose in English:

Loose:

Loose means not firmly or tightly fixed in place; detached or able to be detached.

  • There were some loose wires hanging out of the wall.

Lose:

Lose means be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something).

  • You must lose a fly to catch a trout.

Peace vs. Piece

Peace:

Peace means freedom from disturbance; tranquility.

  • They had worked for peace during the long era of conflict.

Piece

Piece means a portion of an object or of material, produced by cutting, tearing, or breaking the whole.

  • He cut the cake into six pieces.

Plain vs. Plane

Plain

Plain means not decorated or elaborate; simple or ordinary in character.

  • I want a plain black jumper with no fancy trimmings.

Plane

Plane means a flat surface on which a straight line joining any two points on it would wholly lie.

  • I looked towards the plane. Six passengers had already disembarked.

Principle vs. Principal

Principle:

Principle means a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.

  • They work on a principle of heat absorption.

Principal:

Principal means the person with the highest authority or most important position in an organization, institution, or group.

  • The principal castigate the student who have insult their teacher.

Quiet vs. Quite

Quiet:

Quiet means making little or no noise.

  • Be quiet or you’ll wake the whole house!

Quite:

Quite means to the utmost or most absolute extent or degree; absolutely; completely.

  • He was quite agreeable to accepting the plan.

Stationary vs. Stationery

Stationary:

Stationary means not moving or not intended to be moved.

  • The bus crashed into a stationary vehicle.

Stationery:

Stationery means the things needed for writing, such as paper, pens, pencils, and envelopes.

  • If you need more stationery, I’ve got a good contact in a local printing firm.

Than vs. Then

Than: 

Than means introducing the second element in a comparison.

  • He pain of the mind is worse than the pain of the body.

Then:

Then means at that time; at the time in question.

  • I’ll call you tomorrow – I should have the details by then.

To vs. Too

What is the difference between to and too in English?

To:

To means used before a verb to show that it is in the infinitive.

  • There is no end to learning.

Too: 

Too means more than is needed or wanted; more than is suitable or enough.

  • It is never too old to learn.

Weak vs. Week

Weak:

Weak means lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks; lacking physical strength and energy.

  • Every man has his weak side.

Week:

Week means a period of seven days.

  • After a week of camping, I really needed a bath.

Weather vs. Whether

Weather: 

Weather means the state of the atmosphere at a place and time as regards heat, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc.

  • We are hoping for good weather on Sunday.

Whether:

Whether means expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives.

  • It all boils down to whether you want to go or not.

Which vs. Witch

Which:

Which means asking for information specifying one or more people or things from a definite set.

  • Behavior is a mirror in which everyone shows his image.

Witch: 

Witch means a woman thought to have magic powers, especially evil ones, popularly depicted as wearing a black cloak and pointed hat and flying on a broomstick.

  • The witch enchanted the princess with magic words.

Who vs. Whom

Who:

Who means what or which person or people.

  • She asked me if I knew who had got the job.

Whom:

Whom is used instead of “who” as the object of a verb or preposition.

  • I met a man with whom I used to work

Confused Words in English | Infographics

Commonly Confused Words

Commonly Confused Words

Commonly Confused Words

30 Commonly Confused Words in English for ESL Learners 1

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