Common Mistakes and Confusing Words in English
Let's face it, English can be confusing. A lot of words are similar but with different meanings, as a result it is almost impossible to avoid making mistakes in English, but if you can get your head around these explanations, you might be able to avoid making these ones or at least recognise them when you see them.
accept vs except | accessary vs accessory | advice vs advise
If you want the definition of any of the words below just double click on the word.
|so vs such||
So when used as in front of an adjective or an adverb means very.
Such when used as a determiner can be used in front of a noun or an adjective and a noun to show extremes, you can't use it in front of adverbs.
For example: "She is such a patient teacher."
!Note - Remember that without the noun you need to use "so."
such + a + patient + teacher
so + patient
|trainee vs trainer||
A trainee is a person who is learning and practising the skills of a particular job.
For example: "There is a shortage of trainee dentists in the UK."
A trainer is a person who teaches skills for a particular job, activity or sport.
|travel, trip voyage or journey?||
Travel (v) is used in general terms as a verb - it usually means to change location. The word travel is very rarely used as a noun.
Trip (n) is often substituted for the word 'holiday' when the travelling distance was short.
It is often used in connection with business.
Trip (v) has a totally different meaning. It means to nearly fall over.
Voyage (n) is usually a long journey by boat. The word voyage is very rarely used as a verb.
Journey (n) is used more in British English than American English. It means the 'piece' of travel between 2 or more points. The word journey is very rarely used as a verb.
|used to vs used to do||
Used to can be used as an adjective and we use it to talk about things that have become familiar, and are no longer strange or new.
For example: "I am used to mistakes now."
You can also be used to doing something.
For example: "I am used to making mistakes now."
Used to do - If we say something used to happen we are talking about repeated events and actions in the past, usually things that happened a long time ago and are now finished.
For example: "I used to smoke."
|wander vs wonder||
Wander (v) means to travel aimlessly.
For example: "I often wander through the woods, it helps me think."
Wonder (v) means to consider or question some issue.
For example: "People often wonder whether I really run this website alone ."
Wonder (n) means the feeling aroused by something strange and surprising.
For example: "The pyramids are a wonder to behold."
!Note - I have it on very good authority that wander and wonder are not homophones. ;)
|wrong vs wrongly||
Wrong and wrongly are both adverbs.
Wrong can be used informally instead of wrongly after a verb. In fact it is taking over from the word wrongly.
However, when the adverb comes before the verb we use "wrongly".
Sean Hodgson was wrongly convicted of murder.
I'm sorry if I've written anything wrong. / I'm sorry if I've written anything wrongly
According to Merriam Webster: "The best way to choose between wrong and wrongly is to rely on your own grasp of English idiom. The one that sounds correct, is correct. If they both sound correct then either one may be used."
Test yourself to see if you understand the correct use of some of the more confusing words and terms.
If you know of any other common mistakes like these, let us know.
If nothing else this should make you feel better to know that mistakes are also made by people who should know better:-