Every morning, as part of my daily routine, I exercise my mind with the Elevate – Brain Training app. I tend to do well in most of the Writing games, but there is one that almost always trips me up no matter how many times I play it: Error Avoidance. In this game, you’re provided with a series of sentences, each containing two words that can easily be confused, and your goal is to fill the gauges on the screen by correctly choosing whether to swap the words or leave them as they are. I’ve played rounds of this game that lasted several minutes because I kept either mixing up the words I didn’t know or second-guessing the ones I did. It seems even for native speakers, English is a difficult and confusing language!
I’ve featured a list of 25 sets of easily confused words on my blog before, but playing Error Avoidance has inspired me to share some more. So for your reference, here are 25 more sets of easily confused words to watch out for in your writing. Enjoy!
2) Abstruse / Obtuse – To be “abstruse” is to be difficult to understand. To be “obtuse” is to be slow to understand.
3) Allude / Elude – To “allude” to something is to call attention to it indirectly. To “elude” is to evade or escape from danger.
4) Amoral / Immoral – To be “amoral” is to lack a moral sense. To be “immoral” is to not conform to accepted standards of morality.
5) Amuse / Bemuse – To “amuse” is to entertain someone. To “bemuse” is to bewilder or confuse someone.
6) Appraise / Apprise – To “appraise” something is to assess its value or quality. To “apprise” is to inform someone.
7) Credible / Creditable / Credulous – To be “credible” is to be convincing or able to be believed. To be “creditable” is to be worthy of acknowledgment. To be “credulous” is to be too ready or willing to believe things.
8) Elegy / Eulogy – An “elegy” is a reflective poem, typically a lament for the dead. A “eulogy” is a speech of praise about someone who has recently died.
9) Emigrate / Immigrate – To “emigrate” is to permanently leave one’s home country. To “immigrate” is to move to a new country.
10) Endemic / Epidemic – To be “endemic” is to be exclusive to a particular area. An “epidemic” is a widespread occurrence of a disease or phenomenon.
11) Entomology / Etymology – “Entomology” is the study of insects. “Etymology” is the study of the origin of words.
12) Envelop / Envelope – To “envelop” is to wrap up or surround something completely. An “envelope” is a paper container used for holding letters.
13) Existent / Extant – To be “existent” is to be real. To be “extant” is to still be present.
14) Flaunt / Flout – To “flaunt” is to show off. To “flout” is to openly disregard the rules.
15) Flounder / Founder – To “flounder” is to struggle helplessly. To “founder” is to sink or fail.
16) Forbear / Forebear – To “forbear” is to refrain from doing something. A “forebear” is an ancestor.
17) Imply / Infer – To “imply” is to strongly suggest something. To “infer” is to draw a conclusion based on evidence and logic.
18) Inequality / Inequity – “Inequality” is a lack of equality. “Inequity” is a lack of fairness or justice.
19) Moral / Morale – To be “moral” is to be concerned with principles of right and wrong. “Morale” is the confidence and enthusiasm of a person or group of people.
20) Perpetrate / Perpetuate – To “perpetrate” is to commit a crime. To “perpetuate” is to make something continue indefinitely.
21) Persecute / Prosecute – To “persecute” is to treat someone unfairly, typically because of race, religion, or political views. To “prosecute” is to institute legal proceedings against someone.
22) Rational / Rationale – To be “rational” is to be in accordance with reason or logic. “Rationale” is a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action.
23) Sallow / Shallow – To be “sallow” is to have an unhealthy yellow or pale complexion. To be “shallow” is to lack depth.
24) Sanguine / Saturnine – To be “sanguine” is to be positive and optimistic. To be “saturnine” is to be slow and gloomy.
25) Upmost / Utmost – To be “upmost” is to be the highest. To be “utmost” is to be the greatest or most extreme.
What about you? Are there any words you often get mixed up? What other pairs or sets of words would you add to this list?