Commonly Confused English Words–Are You Bored or Boring?
English has many words with similar spellings and similar pronunciations, but with different meanings. It is easy for someone learning English to confuse some of them. Today I talk about 15 commonly confused English words. I give you definitions, parts of speech, and example sentences. At the end there is a download to give you practice in understanding the meanings of these commonly confused words.
Below are 15 commonly confused words in English. These are words that you may use often, but you may wonder if you are using them correctly. Many native English speakers also have difficulty using some of these words correctly, so you are not alone.
When you install a new program on your computer, you have to accept the terms and conditions.
I hope the university accepts me.
Everyone except my sister was invited to the party.
2. advise, advice
My parents advised me to get a good education.
My advice to you is to get a good education.
3. affect, effect
These words are very confusing, even to native English speakers. The sound almost exactly the same, but their meaning are different.
The El Niño weather pattern affects how much snow we have in the winter.
The cough medicine had a strong effect on Ana. It made her so sleepy that she could not drive.
4. be, have
These verbs are usually easy for native English speakers, but people learning English often have trouble with them.
I am cold and hungry.
I have 3 children.
5. beside, besides
When you set the table, place the fork beside the plate.
Besides my rent and my utilities, I have to pay on a loan for my car.
6. bored, boring
These words are both adjectives. They are very commonly confused by English language learners.
Ahmed was bored last week because there was nothing good on TV and all his friends were busy.
My economics class is boring because the professor never has any expression in his voice.
7. customer, client
When you shop in the supermarket, you are a customer. This is because the workers may change, but it doesn’t matter.
Mr. Smith is a lawyer with many clients.
8. expect, wait
I expect it to be warm next week.
I don’t like waiting in line, but if I leave, I’ll lose my place.
9. fun, funny
I went to fun party last night, and I had fun there.
The movie I saw last night was so funny that I couldn’t stop laughing.
10. its, it’s
The dog wagged its tail.
It’s cold outside today!
11. lend, loan, borrow
Can you lend me $10 for lunch? I left my wallet at home.
Can you loan me your car? Mine is broken.
The bank gave me a loan so I could buy my car.
I borrowed money from the bank when I bought my house.
12. listen, hear
He enjoys listening to music.
When I was driving home I heard a siren.
13. miss, lose
I was late and I missed my bus.
I missed the chance to get a better job because I did poorly during the interview.
I can’t see anything because I lost my glasses.
14. point, period, dot
Pi is defined as three point one four (3.14).
Always put a period at the end of a sentence.
15. take, bring
Both of these are verbs. Many native English speaker make mistakes using these verbs.
I need to take some dinner to a sick friend.
You now know some of the most common easily confused words in English. If you learn these words well, you will know some things that even native English speakers don’t know, and you will make fewer errors in your spoken English. The download will give you some additional practice.
Idioms of the Day
- To put your foot in your mouth . This means to say something inappropriate. She put her foot in her mouth when she said she didn’t like her boss, and then saw that her boss was in the room.
- To get up on the wrong side of the bed . This means to be in a very bad mood for no apparent reason. My boss must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, because he yelled at everyone all day.
Now it’s your turn! I packaged all of this vocabulary into some flashcards for you to study. Test yourself on this commonly confused English words with the flashcards below: