English has a lot of commonly confused words. They either look alike, sound alike or, worst of all, look and sound alike but have completely different meanings. Other words look and sound different but are similar in meaning, and it’s hard to determine which is the correct one in a given context. Hopefully the following list of pairs of commonly confused words will help you keep them straightened out.
1. ACCEDE AND EXCEED
Accede means "to agree or allow": Hiram Cheaply finally acceded to accepting the presidency of the company.
Exceed means "to go beyond, to surpass": The amount of alcohol in his blood exceeded the previous record.
2. ADAPT , ADEPT AND ADOPT
Adapt means "to adjust": Swati quickly adapted to living away from home.
Adept means "skilled": Parul is adept at speaking languages.
Adopt means to "accept as your own": It was difficult to adopt only one puppy from the animal shelter.
3. AFFECT AND EFFECT
Affect is most often used as a verb meaning "to influence": The president's speech affected his views of the upcoming election.
The verb effect means "to cause": Batting her eyes so flirtatiously effected a strong desire in Rajiv to embrace Shruti .
4. ASCENT, ASSENT & ACCENT
Ascent is an upward movement: Leo's ascent to the presidency of the company came slowly.
Assent means "to agree to": Geeta could not begin the project unless management assented.
Accent is the way in which people in a particular area, country or social group pronounce words.
5.BAITED AND BATED
Baited usually refers to traps: Baiting deer in order to hunt them is illegal in most states.
Bated is seldom used but means "reduced, abated": Jessica bated her pace to let her running mate catch up.
6.BESIDE AND BESIDES
Beside means "next to": Place the dishes beside the sink.
Besides is an adverb or preposition that means "also, additionally": I would enjoy going on a vacation besides.
7.BELIEF AND BELIEVE
Belief is a noun: He had strong beliefs.
Believe is a verb: She believes she can do anything.
8.BLONDE AND BLOND
Blonde describes women: Priyanka have just as much fun as blondes (blonde women).
Blond describes men: Raghu was not a natural blond. This distinction is not necessary though: blond is now generally accepted for both men and women.
9. BREATH AND BREATHE
Breath is a noun meaning "the air pulled into the lungs": Take a deep breath and relax.
Breathe, with an E on the end, is a verb: Just breathe deeply and calm down.
10. BRIDAL AND BRIDLE
Bridal has to do a bride and her wedding: June May threw her bridal bouquet to the screaming crowd of single women.
A bridle is a halter or restraint, such as a horse bridle: Old Frosty didn't like the bridle over his head.
11. Canvas and Canvass
Canvas - It is cloth or fabric: a canvas bag to bring to the beach.
Canvass - means "to conduct a survey or examine thoroughly", or "to seek votes": She canvassed all the stores before she found the right dress.
12. Capital and Capitol
Capital - A capital is where the seat of government is: The capital of the United States is Washington DC. Capital can also mean "wealth" or "a large letter".
Capitol - The Capitol (usually capitalized) is the actual building in which the government and legislature meets: We will travel to the Capitol this weekend.
13. Censor, Sensor and Censure
Censor - It is to prohibit free expression: The principal censored all references to smoking in school publications.
Sensor - It is something that interprets stimulation: The lights are turned on by a movement sensor.
Censure - It is rebuke, harsh criticism: Morty Skustin was severely censured for putting the frog in the water cooler.
14. Cite, Site and Sight
Cite - It means "to quote or mention": He cited a famous theorist in his speech.
Site - It is a noun meaning "a place": At which site will we stage the party?
Sight - It is a noun meaning "view": The sight of the New York City skyline is spectacular.
15. Coarse and Course
Coarse - It is an adjective meaning "rough, big-grained, not fine": We need to use coarse sandpaper to remove the paint from this wood.
Course - It is a noun referring to a direction (the course of a ship) or a series of lectures on one subject (a history course in college): The poetry course Stu deBaker took in colldge changed the course of his life.
16. Dairy and Diary
Dairy - A dairy is a farm where milk and milk products are produced: Madeleine grew up on a dairy and knows how to churn butter.
Diary - A diary is the daily journal kept: Rhoda Book writes in her diary for two hours every night.
17. Desert and Dessert
Desert means "to abandon" (and can also be a noun, meaning "a wasteland"): Cooley deserted his family when they all got tattoos and lip piercings.
Dessert is the sweet course of a meal: The whole family wanted to have cake for dessert.
18. Device and Devise
Devise - A device is an instrument used to perform a task: This device will peel apples for you.
Devise is to create or invent: They will devise a scheme to continue the business.
19.Discreet and Discrete
Discreet means "modest and prudent": Please be discreet about the surprise party, we don't want her to find out.
Discrete means "separate and distinct": Even though they were married, they kept their money in two discrete accounts.
20. Elicit and Illicit
Elicit is a verb that means "to draw out": The teacher had trouble eliciting responses from the students.
Illicit is an adjective meaning "illegal or illegitimate": Illicit drugs or illicit behaviour may help you enter jail.
21. Emigrant and Immigrant
Emigrant - An emigrant is a person who leaves his native country to settle in another: The emigrants left everything behind in search of something more.
Immigrant - An immigrant refers is person who moves to a new country: Many immigrants settle in this country every year.