Sometimes, even the best of students tend to mix words up. Don’t worry, even authors fall into some of these traps. Here, we have compiled a list of commonly mixed-up words so you don’t end up mistaking a word for a similar sounding one.
So let’s dive right in.
Affect is usually a verb, and it means to impact or change whereas effect is usually a noun, an effect is the result of a change.
Affect: His daily habits will certainly affect the outcome of his performance at the end of this year.
Effect: His habits have had a positive effect on his performance this year.
To accept is to receive, and except is to exclude
Accept: We would like to accept those students into our school.
Except: Everyone except the boy was offered a place in the school.
Elicit means to draw out whereas illicit means illegal or otherwise forbidden
Elicit: His frantic movements failed to elicit a response from the passersby.
Illicit: Everyone except the boy was offered a place in the school.
Reign means to to possess power or authority over someone or something or the period of time dominated by one ruling power.
Rein is a leather strap used to control a horse or can also be used as a verb meaning “to guide a horse using a strap.”
Reign: The monarchy reigned supreme for several centuries until they were overthrown.
Rein: I tugged at the horse’s reins to get it moving.
Hanged refers to death by hanging whereas hung refers to the past tense of hang.
Hanged: The convict was hanged at noon yesterday.
Hung: I hung the clothes earlier today.
If something complements something else, it completes it, enhances it, or makes it perfect.
On the other hand, the noun compliment means “an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration,” and the verb compliment means, “to praise or express admiration for someone.”
Complement: Kindly help me choose a shirt that will complement this pair of pants.
Compliment: The teacher gave the student a compliment for his outstanding work.
Discreet means on the down low, under the radar, careful, but discrete means separate, individual or detached.
Discreet: We have to remain discreet in our conversations lest we get found out.
Discrete: It is wise to think of these unfortunate incidents as unpredictable and discrete events.
You’re is contraction for “You are”. It’s followed by a description of the person being described.
Your is used to describe something as belonging to you.
You’re: You’re going to watch the movie later.
Your: Your movie is starting in ten minutes.
The word evoke means to bring something forth or to recall something to the conscious mind. It typically implies some type of emotion, imagery, or memory. On the other hand, to invoke is, primarily, to call upon something, especially aid, assistance, or a higher power
Evoke: The comedy show evoked evoked endless laughter from its audience.
Invoke: The high priest was seen invoking spirits to aid in the ritual.
Foreword refers to a short introductory essay preceding the text of a book whereas forward refers to “at or to or toward the front”. A forward can also be a noun denoting a sports player’s position in the team.
Foreword: I am ecstatic that the foreword to my book was written by my favourite author.
Forward: Harry Potter told the moving chess piece to move forward.
Use it’s only if it’s part of a contraction just like how it was used in this sentence. See how it’s here refers to it is. Similarly, use it’s to replace it has.
On the other hand, use its when referring to a possessive ie, belonging to something.
Its: Its tail was magnificent.
It’s: It’s been nice talking to you.
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