After we checked the first part, let’s take a look at the second part of 45 confusing words in English.

  1. elder, eldest vs. older, oldest

’Elder, eldest’ is always used with a noun for family relationships (elder sister). On the other hand, ’older, oldest’ is more general and can be used for things as well (the oldest building in the city).

  1. who’s vs. whose

Who’s means ’who is’ (Who’s ready?), while ’whose’ is a possessive pronoun that means ’belonging to who’(Whose phone is this?)

  1. fast vs. quick

Fast usually refers to speed (fast car) while  ’quick’ refers to something happening in a short time (He did it quickly.)

  1. passed vs. past

’Passed’ is the past tense of the verb ’pass’,  usually meaning ’move, hand in or succeed in a test’. (She passed the exam.) On the other hand, ’past’is an adverb that refers to a previous point in time. Notice the usage of ’past’ in the first sentence here.

  1. loose vs. lose

Loose is an adjective that means ’not tight’ (loose shirt), while ’lose’is an adverb that means ’not have it anymore’.
22.speak vs. talk
’Speak’ is usually used in a formal context and when a person has to say something important. (I need to speak to you about an urgent matter.) On the other hand,’talk’ is mainly used in informal situations and when the focus is on conversation, not the person speaking. (He spoke to me about the issue. / We were talking about the trip.)

  1. say vs.tell

Another pair that has to do with conversation and that is very similar is ’say’ and ’tell’. ’Say’ focuses on the words someone said, while ’tell’ refers to the content. (She said ’hi’. / She told me all about it.)

  1. stationery vs. stationary

 In this very often mixed pair in writing, ’stationery’ means ’office items’ such as pens, paper etc, while ’stationary’ means that something is not moving or changing (a stationary bike at the gym).A tip here is to associate ’e’ in ’stationery’ with ’eraser’.

  1. high vs. tall

When we talk about people we will always use ’tall’. On the other hand, we use ’high’ for things (high mountain), except when they are high and thin in shape, in which case we will use ’tall’(tall building).
26.any more vs. anymore
 ’Any more’ can mean ’some more’ and is usually used in questions. (Would you like any more cake?) It also means ’no longer’, in which case it is usually spelled ’anymore’ in American English. (She doesn’t play tennis professionally anymore.)

  1. hard vs. hardly

 Except for meaning ’difficult’ or ’firm’, ’hard’ is also used to imply someone works or studies a lot. (He works hard.) Sometimes, this word is mixed with ’hardly’ because it looks like a proper adverb. However, ’hardly’ means ’almost not at all’, in which case ’He hardly works.’ has a completely opposite meaning.

  1. maybe vs.perhaps

While both words mean the same, ’perhaps’ is slightly more formal than ’maybe’.A point to bear in mind is that ’maybe’ will never be used in the middle of a sentence. (As you are perhaps already familiar with…)

  1. anyone vs. anybody

These words are interchangeable as well, the only difference being about formality; ’anybody’ is slightly more formal and therefore more used in writing.

  1. apart from vs. except for/except

Both phrases mean ’excluding’, however, ’apart from’ can also mean ’including’, depending on the context. (Apart from dancing, she also goes to yoga classes, meaning in addition to dancing. / Everyone came except Anne.)
 See you in part 3!



Show Buttons
Hide Buttons