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10 common vocabulary mistakes

Posted in English Language by Cristina on 23 Mar 2017

First of all, let’s all agree that everyone makes mistakes, even the best of us! So don’t get stressed out when you make them. Some words are easy to mix up - they either look similar or sound the same and you do not really know which one to use. We have put together the words that our students have found very confusing.

1. Affect/Effect

Affect is a verb, which means "to influence, to change someone/ something". The lack of sleep AFFECTED my performance.

Effect is usually a noun and it means "impact". His presence has an interesting EFFECT ON me.

2. Lose/Loose

Lose is a verb, which means "no longer possess something, because you have lost it or someone has taken it away from you". Never LOSE your faith! or Have you LOST your house keys again?

Loose is an adjective and it means that something doesn't fit right, because it is too large or able to be detached. I think his tooth is LOOSE, he has to see a dentist.

3. Write/Right

Write is a verb, which means "mark letters or words on the surface, usually with a pen or a pencil". Please WRITE your name and last name here.

Right is an adjective, which means either "the opposite of left" or "the opposite of wrong". I guess you are RIGHT and I will follow your advice. Turn RIGHT at the crossroads and you will see a big store in front of you.

4. Accept/Except

Accept is a verb and it means "to take or receive", "to consent to receive". I don't want to ACCEPT his gift!

Except can serve as a preposition, conjunction, and a verb as well. As a verb it means "to exclude, not to include". I haven't told anyone EXCEPT you.

5. Here/Hear

Here is an adverb, which means "not there". I want to see you HERE tomorrow.

Hear is a verb and it means "perceive a sound with the ear". I can hardly HEAR you, can you speak up?

6. Regardless/ Irregardless

IRREGARDLESS is generally not accepted, though you can hear it from time to time. It's used in speech sometimes, but our advice is - use REGARDLESS instead.

Regardless means "despite the circumstances", "in any case". She was in a very bad condition, but decided to continue REGARDLESS.

7. Economic/Economical

Both economic and economical are adjectives, but there is a difference in meaning.

We use economic to mean "related to trade, industry, or money". The ECONOMIC situation is the country leaves much to be desired.

We use economical to mean "not using a lot of money". His new car is really ECONOMICAL, it uses much less gas.

8. Insure/Ensure

Some newspapers and magazines still believe that these 2 verbs are interchangeable. However, they should be used in different contexts.

Insure is used when referring to financial insurance policies. it means 'to protect financially'. He decided to INSURE his family business.

When the meaning is “to make certain,” you should use the word "ensure". It’s my job to ENSURE that you won't lose if you deal with them.

9. Raise/Rise

Raise is a transitive verb (it has a direct object), which means 'to put up'. If you know the answer, RAISE your hand.

Rise is an intransitive verb (has no direct object), which means "elevate itself", "go up by itself". The sun RISES in the east.

10. Tell/ Say

Tell is used only to instruct or inform, and when the receiver of the information is included as an object of the verb. Have you TOLD HIM (the receiver of the information) the news yet? Please TELL ME what happened there.

Say is used for exact quotes, and when the receiver isn’t mentioned in the sentence: "You are late", SAID the teacher. He SAID he would never do it again.