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20 Most Tricky English Words

20 Most Tricky English Words

Many times, the words that sound right are actually wrong. With words such as those listed below, you just have to memorize the rules so that when you are about to use them, you’ll catch yourself in the act and you will be certain that you have written or just said the right one.

1. Accept vs. Except
These two words sound alike yet have completely different meanings. Accept means to receive something eagerly: “She accepted the gift graciously”.
Except means exclusion, that sth is not included: “I can attend every meeting except the one next week”.
2. Affect vs. Effect
Both can be used as either a noun or a verb. Let’s start with the verbs.
Affect means to influence something or someone; effect means to accomplish something. “Your job was affected by the organizational restructuring” but “These changes will be effected on Monday.”
As a noun, an effect is the result of something: “The accident had a huge effect on her life.” It’s almost always the right choice because the noun affect refers to an emotional state and is rarely used outside of psychological circles
3. Lie vs. Lay
The lie is pretty clear , we all know that means 1) an untruth. Another usage of this word is more confusing. 2)Lie also means to recline: “Why don’t you lie down and rest?”

Lie is something you can do by yourself, but you need an object to lay , for instance: ” A bricklayer lays bricks”.
It becomes more tricky in the past tense. The past tense of lie is—you guessed it—lay: “I lay down earlier last night.” And the past tense of lay is laid: “She laid the baby on the bed.”

4. Bring vs. Take
Somebody brings something to you, but you take it to somewhere else: “Bring me the mail, then take your shoes to your room.”
Just remember – if the movement is toward you, use bring; if the movement is away from you, use take.
5. Ironic vs. Coincidental
A lot of people get this wrong. If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s coincidental ( bad luck). If you drive up to the mountains to ski, and there was more snow than back at your house, that’s ironic.
6. Imply vs. Infer
To imply means to suggest or show something, without saying it directly, for example: ” Are you implying that I’m fat?”
To infer means to to guess that something is true because of the information that you have from what someone else implies. ” I inferred from the number of cups that he was expecting visitors”. As a general rule, the speaker/writer implies, and the listener/reader infers.
7. Nauseous vs. Nauseated
Nauseous has been misused so often that the incorrect usage is accepted in some circles. Still, it’s important to know the difference.
Nauseous means causing nausea; you feel like you might vomit, and if something is nauseous, it makes you want to vomit,
wheareas nauseated means experiencing nausea, “He didn’t become nauseated by the treatments at all.
8. Comprise vs. Compose
These are two of the most commonly misused words in the English language.
Comprise means to include particular parts or numbers; compose means to make up. When using comprise, you put the whole first: “A soccer game comprises (includes) two halves.” When using compose, you put the pieces first: “Fifty states compose (make up) the United States of America.”
9. Farther vs. Further
Farther refers to physical distance, while further describes the degree or extent of an action or situation. “I can’t run any farther,” but “He refused to discuss the matter further.”
If you can substitute “more” or “additional,” use further.

10. Fewer vs. Less

Use fewer when you’re talking about separate items that can be counted;
use less when referring to a whole:
“You have fewer dollars, but less money.”

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