Words commonly confused – part II

Break and brake

Don’t keep pushing on that car brake. You will break it.

Breath and breathe

Breath – noun; breathe – verb

Take a deep breath.

Breathe deeply. (NOT Breath deeply.)

Censure and censor

Censure (verb) – criticize, condemn; censor (verb) – edit, gag, repress

The award winning film director censured the censor board because it tried to censor his latest film.

Complement and compliment

Complement (verb) – complete, add; compliment (noun) – praise, accolade

I complimented her on the way her hairstyle complemented her looks.

Confound and compound

Confound (verb) – confuse, perplex, baffle; compound – multiple

The manager’s ambiguous instructions confounded the staff.

Our problems were compounded by a lack of time to finish the work.

Dissent, decent and descent

Dissent (noun) – opposition, disagreement; decent (adjective) – polite, honest; descent (noun) – ancestry, origin, lineage, drop, plunge

After spending an entire evening in the terrace, we began our descent to the ground floor.

No one offered any dissent.

Conscious and conscience

Conscious (adjective) – aware, mindful; conscience (noun) – integrity, principles

You should never trust a man who has no conscience.

She doesn’t seem conscious of the fact that her husband is cheating on her.

Contemptuous and contemptible

Contemptuous – scornful, disapproving, derisive; contemptible – shameful, disgraceful

It didn’t take me a long time to grow contemptuous of his contemptible nature.

Continual and continuous

Continual (adjective) – frequent, recurrent; continuous  –  incessant, unceasing, nonstop

These continual changes in the weather are a result of our continuous emission of greenhouse gases.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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