Friday, June 27, 2014

IELTS Grammar Training - 10 Commonly Misused Words in the English Language

Non-native speakers of the English language learn the said language in school at a very young age. Though the exposure is not intensive compared with other countries, other nationalities are somehow able to speak the English language well, just like the Filipinos. Luckily for Filipinos, learning the language has started in elementary and gets more intensive once in the university. Though Filipinos are considered good at speaking and understanding the said language, there are still some parts of this learning that needs to be polished – expanding one’s vocabulary.

A good sentence contains appropriate words to express what’s on your mind. Without thinking which words to use, speaking or writing in English is far from perfect. Hence, it is important for any learners of the English language to hone their skills in vocabulary. Since there are millions of words in the English language, confusing one vocabulary over another is pretty common. Here are ten commonly misused words in the English language (and how to use them properly).

1. Accept and Except

Accept is a verb which means to agree on something or to receive something. On the other hand, except is a preposition that means something is not included.

Examples:

  • He accepted the fact what he said was completely out of the topic.
  • Everyone was given an invitation to the party except Kim.

2. Affect and Effect

The word “affect” means to change or make something different while “effect” means the result of something.

Examples:

  • The government’s new law can affect people below the poverty line.
  • His vomiting and nausea are clear effects of the treatment.

3. Imminent and Eminent

As an adjective, imminent means something that is going to happen soon while eminent, another adjective, means well-known and successful.

Examples:

  • The newscaster said that the typhoon is imminent; hence, people living on shorelines are asked to evacuate.
  • An eminent businessman was shot dead last night.

4. Wreath and Wreathe

Wreath is an arrangement of flowers in a circular shape. Wreathe is a verb to mean to surround or cover.

Examples:

  • A wreath was given by the company to the loved ones.
  • A thick fog wreathed the road making it a bit dangerous.

5. Faint and Feint

Faint is to describe the feeling of being weak and dizzy while feint is usually used in sports to describe a quick movement to trick an opponent.

Examples:

  • She fainted and fell to the ground.
  • Boxers use a feint to win in a match.

6. Stationary and Stationery

When you are not moving or something is not in action, we use stationary to describe it. Stationery is a material used for writing like paper and pen.

Examples:

  • The soldiers are stationary while on their posts.
  • My mom needs some stationery so I am heading to the mall.

7. Tortuous and Torturous

When you refer something to be complicated, long and with twists and turns, use tortuous. However, when something cause pain or suffering, then we call it torturous.

Examples:

  • The hike was filled tortuous paths of thorny shrubs.
  • The president had to make a torturous decision to execute the spree killer.

8. Insure and Ensure

Insure is to buy insurance whilst ensure is to make certain on something.

Examples:


  • Playing safe, he insured his car for ten years.
  • He ensured that the document were authentic.

9. Principal and Principle

A principal is a person who heads a school while principle is a belief or rule.

Examples:

  • The principal was so angry he smashed the door.
  • His principles are strong that it is impossible to persuade him.

10. Story and Storey

Story is a written account (factual or fiction) and storey refers to the levels of a building.

Examples:

  • The company is planning to build a 6-storey complex.
  • His story was so true that I almost fell for his lies.

There are still dozens of words that are commonly misused in English. Learn their definitions to avoid confusion with their usage.





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