12 more confusing words

Confusing words in English

Few weeks back I posted a topic of confusing words and I believe there are many more that can lead to confusion to students of English language learners. So, here we go. I’m posting another post on some more words that can confuse students. IETLS students will often use these words in their speaking or in their writing skill and I don’t want you to misuse these words/spellings.

Understand these 12 confusing words clearly

I have tried to explain these words with some illustrations as well as with explanatory notes.

1. Agree with vs agree to

Agree with something (an opinion or policy) or someone: It is usually followed by noun

– I agree with his point of view.

Agree to do something: it is often followed by verb

Use of "Agree to"

Image by Mike Baldwin (CartoonStock.com)

– I agree to do as he says.

– He will never agree to apply for a leave.

– I agree with their proposal.


2. Capture vs captivate

Capture: imprison someone for a crime or illegal activity

The robbers were captured and punished.

Captivate: strongly impress someone

I was captivated by the natural beauty of Spain. It was such a great journey that I’ll never ever forget it.


3. A few vs few

A few = not many

I visited the Rajdoot hotel just a few days ago

Few: not many or hardly any

Few people recognize him as a great father.


4. have to do something vs have something to do

Have to do something means you will have to do it. You’re forced to do it.

I will have to complete the project assignment before the deadlines.

Have something to do means you have some pending work which you should do. It’s something you do yourself and it’s not done forcefully. It’s obligatory.

I have got to prepare my presentation for the next week’s seminar.


5. Homework vs housework

Almost everyone might be familiar with these words but still some candidates find it difficult to understand. So, I thought about adding these two as well.

Homework is a kind of work that teachers give to their students to do at home

Housework is something that you do at your home like cleaning, watering plants, etc.


6. Increase vs improve

Increase: to become or make something greater in degree, amount or number

The earnings increased over time at an average rate of 8% per year.

Improve: to make something better or become better

The situation improved over the course of five years and people are now heading back to their mother land.

You cannot say “the situation increased”

Similarly, cannot say “the earnings improved”.


7. Industrious vs industrial

Industrious (adj): hard-working person

Sir James Arthur was an industrious person with great passion for what he did.

Industrial (adj): concerned with industries

The council is planning to develop an industrial centre in the outskirts of the city.


8. Intend vs tend

Intend: you plan to do something,

I intend to study Mathematics in the future.

Tend to: showing probability

People tend to be upset in negative situations of life.


9. Loose vs lose

Loose means not tightly fitted, free to move

He was wearing loose pyjamas when I visited him.

Lose (v): opposite of win

Arsenal lost the football match to Manchester United, but surely they did gave them a great competition.


10. Immigrant vs emigrant

Immigrant: someone who travels to another country to settle, study or work

Many immigrants travel to western countries for study and work.

Emigrant is someone who leaves his native land.


11. Dependent vs dependant

Dependent: needing someone or something for success, health, etc

Your IELTS success is dependent on your efforts and practice.

Dependant: In British English, someone relying on you for food, clothes, etc.

Jason was totally dependant on his father for his university fees.


12. Compliment vs complement

Complement Vs Compliment confusing words

Image by Falibu.com

Compliment: a remark of praise

Ann’s friends always ask about her latest fashion accessories and she considers it as a compliment

Complement: to make good combination with someone or something

They both complement each other so well that they seem inseparable.


So, there it is. I’ve just highlighted 12 commonly confused words in English. I would surely love to hear from you, my readers. Are there any other words that you want me to discuss and write about? I’m sure there are. I hope to hear something from you.

Good bye for now.

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