COMMONLY MISUSED WORDS
Many words in English are commonly misused in our daily activities. It’s commonly happened to the words that are included in homophones. Each of two or more words having the same pronunciation but different spelling and meaning is called homophone.
The following is example of commonly misused words with simple definition
Advice (n) — a suggestion, an opinion, or a recommendation
I should have followed your advice and declined the job offer
Advise (v) — give advice to somebody
She advise me to go home
Adapt, Adept, Adopt
Adapt (v) – to adjust or modify
They adapt to the conditions here, the climate, the training, the food
Adept (adj) – skilled, proficient
He adept at counting money very quickly
Adopt (v) — legally take another’s child and bring it up as one’s own
There are many people eager to adopt a baby
Assure, Ensure, Insure
Assure (v) — to promise; to make a positive declaration
I assure you that the loan will be repaid according to the terms specified in the note.
Ensure (v) — to make certain
To ensure the timely completion of this project, please hire additional qualified personnel.
Insure (v)— to protect against financial loss
We insure all our facilities against fire, flood, and earthquake damage through Great Western Indemnity.
Beside (PREPOSITION)— by the side of
Please place the new scanner on the table beside Ms. Carter’s computer.
Besides (PREPOSITION)— in addition to
Parents can find something for their kids on the web besides games and fun
Breach (n) — a violation of a law or an agreement; a hole or a gap; a break in friendly relations
The judge ruled that a breach of contract transpired when the building was not ready for occupancy by the date agreed upon.
Breech (n) — the part of a firearm or a cannon that is located behind the barrel
The British reloaded their weapons, filling the breech with powder and using their rods to push in the balls
Cease (v) — to stop or come to an end
Please cease shipment of any further orders to Home Décor until its outstanding balance has been paid.
Seize (v) — to take possession of; to take
Did the IRS seize the company’s assets for nonpayment of taxes?
Ceiling (n) — top inside surface of a room
Hard landscape materials are the walls, floors and ceilings of our outdoor rooms
Sealing (v) — present participle of seal; to close with a coating to make secure
We will be sealing and mailing all our holiday cards on December 4.
Cite, Sight, Site
Cite (v) — to quote or mention; to summon to a court appearance
Dr. Rosenthal can cite many authorities who have researched the problem of pollution in major United States cities.
Sight (v) — to see
Tell me when you sight Istiqlal Mosque !
Site (n) — a location
He is on the site of the accident
Command (n) — an order
In some ways, the president of the corporation has to obey the command of the corporation in order to compete.
Commend (v) — to praise or compliment
Please commend the sales staff for its fine job in promoting our product line at the Dallas convention.
Complement (v) — to complete or make perfect
The paintings you selected for the reception area will complement the office decor.
Compliment (v) — to praise or flatter.
Mr. Rose did compliment me on the fine job I had done.
Costumer (n) — one who deals in or makes costumes
Allison Parker was the costumer for the Valley Playhouse production of Cats.
Customer (n) — one who purchases a commodity or service
Does the customer wish to send the wrapped wedding gift to the bride or just take it with her?
Deceased (adj) — dead; no longer living
They are watching the cremation of deceased person
Diseased (adj) — having a disease
The diseased trees are simply cut down and burned
Defer (v) — to put off or delay
She deferred the payment of rent until June
Differ (v) — be unlike; dissimilar
The second set of data differed from the first
Device (n) — an invention or mechanism
The automatic collating and stapling device on the copier worked perfectly during the demonstration.
Devise (v) — to think out or plan
Were you able to devise an overtime plan that would be equitable to all employees?
Decent, Descent, Dissent
Decent (adj) — good enough standar or quality
Find me a decent cup of tea.
Descent (n) — moving downward; ancestry
It is the steepest descent on the course, and runs for nearly 2 miles.
Dissent (n) — differences or disagreement
There seems to be considerable dissent among the council members concerning the resolution to expand our city’s police department.
Farther (adj) — a greater distance [always a measurable amount of space]
The driving distance from the plant to the warehouse is farther than I had anticipated.
Further (v) — to help move forward. ADVERB; to a greater degree or extent.
The Arden Foundation contributed $5 million to further research in spinal cord injuries.
Lightening (v) — [GERUND]; illuminating or brightening; lessening or alleviating
Lightening facial serum with vitamin B3, helps to enhance skin’s brightening.
Lightning (n) — the flashing of light produced by atmospheric electricity
During the storm flashes of lightning streaked across the sky.
Loose (adj) — not fastened, not tight or shut up
When trying to kick faster, keep your legs loose and relaxed.
Lose (v) — to fail to keep; to mislay
We do not want to lose any of our accounts in the Philippines because of this temporary shortage.
Peak (ADJECTIVE or NOUN) — highest point; top
Traffic reaches a peak between 8 and 9 in the morning.
Peek (n) — a glance
I take a quick peek at the card to my left and read the name.
Personal (adj) — private; individual
You can’t take a personal phone call at work.
Personnel (n) — employees
All personnel have been notified that the company will be acquired by Certified Investment Corporation, effective July 1.
Principal (n) — a person who holds a high position or plays an important role
The school principal will be resigning next year.
Principle (n) — rule or standard
He has always refused to compromise his principles.
Stationary (adj) — not movable or not moving
Only two of the interior walls in this office suite are stationary.
Stationery (n) — writing material or related to writing materials
Prepare this letter on Mr. Parks’ personal stationery.
Weather (n) — the state of the atmosphere
The weather is unpredictable today.
Whether (CONJUNCTION) — an introduction of alternatives
I don’t know whether to accept or refuse.
CONFUSINGLY RELATED WORDS
Other commonly confused words whose meanings and usage are often misused are :
Among (prep) is used for relationships of more than two items
The collaboration among the writer, the illustrator, and the printer.
Between (prep) is used for only two items
The agreement between the two companies.
Amount (n) is total or quantity of something that can not be counted
He spent a fair amount of time there.
Number (n) is quantity of something that can be counted
I had eaten a number of cookies.
Can, May, Might
Can refers to ability
We can produce 300 chips per hour.
May is used to formally request permission
“May I call you this night?”
Might refers to possibility
We might see declines in prices this year.
Explicit (adj) — clear; easy to understand; evident; unambiguous
The area of this part can be found once we have an explicit description of its graph.
Implicit (adj) — implied; ambiguous
This paper contains his famous deep implicit function theorem
Fewer is used for counting items
People these days are buying fewer newspapers.
Less is used for non-counting items
People want to spend less time in traffic jams.
That usually introduces as essential phrase that is not set off by commas
This is the room that we were looking for. (essential)
Which introduces a non-essential phrase that is set off by commas
The old car, which I’ve had for years, has finally broken down. (not essential)
Lay is a transitive verb meaning to place
Lay the equipment on the table.
Lie is an intransitive verb meaning to recline
Lie down on the couch
Imply — Not interchangeable. Something implied is something suggested or indicated, though not expressed.
Farming implies early rising
Infer — Something inferred is something deduced from evidence at hand.
Since he was a farmer, we inferred that he got up early
Comprise — The whole comprises (or includes) the parts
The United States comprises fifty states.
Compose — The parts compose (or make up) the whole.
Organic compounds compose the fertilizer used by the farmer.
Shall (HELPING VERB) — denotes future time in the first person in formal writing
I shall give your request the utmost consideration.
Will (HELPING VERB) — used with all three persons in business style
We will call you tomorrow.
Disinterested (adj) — free from selfish motive or interest; unbiased
All the judges for this competition have been certified to be disinterested parties.
Uninterested (adj) — not interested
Employees who are uninterested in the success of the company are certainly not candidates for promotion.
Convince (v) — to bring a person to your point of view
we had to convince politicians that they needed to do something
Persuade (v) — to induce a person to do something
He believes this would persuade many motorists to switch to a second-hand purchase.
Bi- ; Semi-
Bi- (PREFIX) — two
Our newsletter is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
Semi- (PREFIX) — half
Bulletins to the staff are issued semimonthly, on the 1st and 15th of each month.
Because of, Due to
Because of (PREPOSITION) — by reason of
He lost the first game because of carelessness
Due to (PREPOSITION) — as a result of
The accident was due to bad weather
- Bull, Victoria. 2008. Oxford Learner’s Pocket Dictionary (4th Edition). UK: Oxford University Press