Saturday, May 9, 2009

Confusing English Words Part II

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Here is our second list of confusing English words:


adverse, averse: Adverse means unfavorable. Adverse conditions make a trip unlikely. Averse means disinclined or reluctant: The secretaries are averse to changing the dress code.

advice, advise: Advice is a noun: Take my advice. Advise is a verb: I advise you not to go.

affect, effect: The most common mistake here is to confuse the verb affect with the noun effect. The verb affect means to influence, while the noun effect means result. The decision to strike affects us all because the effect of a strike at this time will be devastating. (If you can put the in front of it, the word is effect.) Less frequently, effect is used as a verb meaning to bring about, to accomplish: Harris effected a change in company policy. Still less frequently, and with the accent on the first syllable, affect is used as a noun meaning an emotion or mood as a factor in behavior or a stimulus arousing an emotion or mood. The use of this noun is limited to psychology.

aid, aide: Aid means assistance (noun) and to assist (verb). It doesn't mean a person who is an assistant. That word is aide: Her aide spoke to the press.

all ready, already: All ready means all prepared. I am all ready to go on the picnic. Already means by or before the given or implied time: I was already aware that the plan wouldn't work.

all right, alright: All right, meaning safe, is correct; His performance was all right. Alright is an incorrect spelling.

all together, altogether: All together means all at one time or in one place: When we rescued the five men, they were all together on the ledge. Altogether means completely, in all. Altogether, we rescued five men.

allude, refer: To allude to something is to speak of it without specifically mentioning it: When he said his father was unable to care for himself, he was probably alluding to the filthy house and empty refrigerator. To refer to something is to mention it directly: He referred to the filthy house and empty refrigerator as evidence that his father couldn't live alone

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