Everyone knows the problem with spell-check: your word might be spelled right, but it may be the wrong word. English is full of confusing words that sound alike but are spelled differently. It’s also full of words that share similar (but not identical) meanings that are easy to misuse. Below are some of the most commonly confused and misused words in English.
Know the differences and don’t get confused!
- A LOT and ALLOT
‘A lot’ describes quantity and as an added bonus, it can be used with both countable nouns (like people, chairs, or cups of coffee) and uncountable nouns (such as water, rice, money, or hair).
Allot, on the other hand, is a regular verb and means to distribute.
|I have a lot of hair.||I allotted everyone 30 minutes to speak.|
|He’s got a lot of books.||All the students were allotted a study area.|
- ADVICE and ADVISE
Advice is a noun and a suggestion for a course of action and advise is a verb and means the act of giving advice.
My friend gave me some really great advice.
Chester advised Donald to avoid the questionable press release event.
- LOSE and LOOSE
Lose is a verb meaning to not have something anymore, to be unable to find something or to not win whereas loose an adjective that means free, unattached or not tight. It’s also a verb meaning to untie or let go of something.
|I don’t want my football team to lose the game.||The door handle fell off because it was too loose.|
|She will lose her money if she gambles with it.||A loose sweater feels very comfortable.|
- COMPLIMENT and COMPLEMENT
If someone says to you “I really like your attire,” then they’re complimenting you. In other words, they’re giving you a compliment. As a verb and noun, compliment means saying something nice about someone.
Complement is when two things go well together, or complete each other. This word is often used in food and in fashion to describe matching styles or ingredients.
|I complimented my sister on her extraordinary oratory skills (verb).||My red tie really complements my white shirt (my red tie and white shirt go well together).|
|I gave my sister a compliment on her delicious cooking (noun).||That wine complements the meat dish well.|
- DISINTERESTED and UNINTERESTED
Disinterested means impartial: A panel of disinterested judges who had never met the contestants before judged the singing contest.
Uninterested means bored or not wanting to be involved with something: Posey was uninterested in attending Chester’s singing class.