Words commonly confused

Its and it’s

These are surely the most confused words in English.

It’s an elephant. What is its colour? It’s black.

It’s means it is or it has. Its is a possessive word.

Abhorrent and aberrant

Abhorrent – hateful; Aberrant – abnormal

The abhorrent man was spurned by his neighbours for his aberrant behavior.

Access and excess

The students who seek access to the library are in excess of five hundred.

Adapt and adopt

No government should adopt policies that would require people to adapt to a weak economy.

Adolescents and adolescence

Adolescent – somebody in period preceding adulthood; adolescence – time preceding adulthood

The problem with most adolescents is that they don’t want to grow out of adolescence.

Advice and advise

Advice – noun; advise – verb

He gave me some advice. Can you advise me on this?

Aide and aid

Aide – assistant; aid – help, assistance

The actor’s aide immediately came to the aid of his boss.

Ambivalent and ambiguous

Ambivalent – unsure, indecisive; ambiguous – vague, unclear, confusing

She was displaying ambivalent feelings about the ambiguous situation, she had gotten herself into.

Appraise and apprise

Appraise – assess, value; apprise – tell, describe, acquaint

We have to get the building appraised by an engineer and then we will apprise you of its value.

Assent and ascent

Assent – agreement, approval; ascent – climb, rise

We must get the assent of the weather bureau before we can allow the balloon to begin its ascent.

Averse – opposed, hostile; adverse – unfavourable

The miners were averse to working in such adverse conditions.

A lot and allot

Allot – earmark, allocate

We will need a lot of money.

The supervisor will allot funds according to need.

Allude and elude

Allude – refer, mention; elude – escape, baffle, give somebody the slip

My uncle would often allude to an incident when he eluded the police who were after him.

Alleviate and ameliorate

Alleviate – ease, relieve; ameliorate – improve, better, enhance

This tablet should alleviate the pain.

The HR agency has taken several measures to ameliorate the job-seeking process.

Manjusha Nambiar

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

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