Confusing words

Confusing words: loose, lose

Be careful: loose and lose are similar in both spelling and pronunciation but their meanings are completely different. Loose Loose is an adjective. It means ‘not tight’ or ‘not fixed properly to something’. Another meaning is ‘not tight enough’. Here are some examples: The top button on my shirt is loose. Can you sew it on properly for me? The door handle is loo... »

Confusing words: fewer, less

It is not only learners of English who confuse less and fewer – some native speakers also frequently use them incorrectly. But less and fewer are not actually so difficult to use correctly: less means ‘a lower amount’, while fewer expresses ‘a lower number’. In other words: fewer and less are both the opposite of more; we use fewer with countable nouns; we use less wi... »

work job difference vocabulary

Confusing words: job, work

Job and work are used in different ways. Here are the important differences that English learners need to know: Work and job as nouns and verbs Work is both a verb and a noun (uncountable); job is mostly used as a noun (countable): I’m busy – I have a lot of work. (uncountable noun) I have a lot of works. I have two jobs – I’m a taxi driver, but I also work as a part-time f... »

Confusing words: say, tell

Say and tell both mean ‘communicate with someone verbally’. However, we use the two words differently. Here’s the basic difference: We say something BUT We tell somebody something. Examples: Michael said he was tired. OR Michael told me he was tired. Sara says she’s moving house. OR Sara tells me she’s moving house. Pete said: “I’m hungry, Elizabeth.”... »

Confusing words: close, shut

I’ve had a few emails from people asking about the difference between close and shut. In fact, these two words often have the same meaning, and there are only a few cases when they are not interchangeable. Doors and windows, eyes and mouth We can close or shut doors and windows: Close/shut the door – it’s freezing in here. Always close/shut all the windows before you leave the ho... »

Confusing words: so, such

In this post we’ll look at so and such, two more words that often cause problems for students of English. We’ll see a simple rule that tells us whether we need so or such in a sentence. You can then test yourself with the quick exercise below. Meaning So and such both show an extreme state: He’s so tall. It’s so cold today. It’s such a big country. She’s such a ... »

Confusing words: speak, talk

Confusing words: speak, talk

Speak to and talk to Speak and talk have similar meanings, but there are differences in the way we use the two words. Both speak and talk suggest that a person is using his voice, or that two or more people are having a conversation. We can say: speak to someone talk to someone speak to someone about something talk to someone about something. Speak is more formal One of the main differences is for... »

Confusing words: although, though

Even native speakers of English sometimes have problems with although and though, but the words are really not that difficult to use. Is there a difference in meaning? No, there isn’t. Although and though have the same meaning and are interchangeable in most cases. Examples Here are some examples which show us how we can use either word: Although/though the sun was shining, it was very cold.... »

Confusing words: travel, a journey, a trip, a voyage

The words travel, journey, trip and voyage can easily be confused by learners of English. I suppose it’s a good time of year to look at these words, as the spring and summer holiday seasons will soon be starting for many people. Travel (noun) The noun travel is a general word, meaning to move from place to place, usually over long distances. We can say: air travel, food and travel, space tra... »

Confusing words: convince, persuade

The verbs ‘convince’ and ‘persuade’ are very similar in meaning, but there is a difference in how we use them. After ‘persuade’ we use the structure to + infinitive: I persuaded them to stay for another drink. He persuaded her not to take the job. After ‘convince’ we cannot use a verb infinitive. We say ‘convince someone that‘: She convin... »

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