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English has a lot of commonly confused words. They either look alike, sound alike or look and sound alike but have completely different meanings. The following list of pairs of commonly confused words with easy examples will help you keep them straightened out.
1. Advice vs. Advise
Advice: is a noun meaning “an opinion given with the intention of helping”
1.My mother still gives me advice even though I’m 40 years old.
2. If you need some advice about which courses to take, you can talk to the professors.
Advise: is a verb meaning “to give counsel or advice”
1.The salesman advised the customer to buy the product.
2. The experts advise the president about complex situations.
2. Allusion vs. Illusion
Allusion: is a noun meaning “an indirect or passing reference”
1.There was an allusion to Shakespeare in his speech.
2.She made an allusion of her son’s illness.
Illusion: is a noun meaning “something that is false or not real but that seems to be true or real”
1.They created a video game that gives the illusion that you are really skiing.
2. Mirrors on the walls give the room the illusion of being much bigger than it really is.
3.Censure vs. Censor
Censure: can be used as a verb or as a noun.
As a verb censure means “to criticize severely”
As a noun meaning “an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism”
1.The congress will censure one of its members for conflict of interest. (The word censure here is a verb)
2.His dishonest behavior came under severe censure. (The word censure here is a noun)
Censor: can be used as a verb or as a noun.
As a verb it means to examine ( a book, movie, etc.)
As a noun it refers to a person who censors.
1.His letters were censored. (The word censor here is a verb)
2.The film censors said that the film contained offensive language against minorities. (The word censor here is a noun)
4. Amiable vs. Amicable
Amiable: refers to a person who is friendly, good-natured, and pleasant.
1.She had an amiable conversation with her friend.
2. I love going to my doctor’s office because his staff is so amiable.
Amicable: means “friendly and peaceable”, and is used to describe agreements or relationships between groups or people.
1. After years of disagreement, the two countries came to an amicable agreement.
2. Most customer service agents are amicable people who are good at settling disagreements.
5. Diffuse vs. Defuse
Diffuse: is a verb and means to spread.
1.Many dangerous ideas are diffused over the Internet by extremists.
2.They constitute a large diffuse community.
Defuse: is a verb and it means to remove the fuse from ( an explosive device)
1. The agent tried to defuse the bomb.
2.The secretary general is trying to defuse the middle east crisis.
6.Envelop vs. Envelope
Envelop: is a verb and it means to wrap up, cover, or to surround
(an enemy force).
1. The baby was enveloped in a white blanket.
2. Our troops enveloped the enemy.
Envelope: is a noun and it refers to a flat paper container used to enclose a letter or document.
1.His resignation was in a sealed envelope along with this letter.
2. I forgot to put a stamp on the envelope.
7. Elicit vs. Illicit
Elicit: is a verb that means evoke or draw out (a response, answer, or fact) from someone in reaction to one’s own actions or questions.
1.The teacher elicited the answer from his students.
2.Investigators tried to elicit the truth from the convict.
Illicit: is usually used as an adjective and means forbidden by law, rules, or custom.
1. He sells illicit drugs.
2. The act seeks to prevent the illicit human trafficking.
8. Aid vs. Aide
Aid: means help, assistance or support.
1. They sent medical aid to the victims of the earthquake.
2. They gave aid to their allies.
Aide: it refers to a person who helps, a helper or an assistant.
1.The news was revealed by a presidential aide.
2.The nurse’s aide will bring you a glass of water.