Monday, December 18, 2017

Spelling: Common Words that Sound Identical

In the English language there are many words that mean different things but look the same, this can make writing in English very difficult.  The list below will help you distiguish between the more commonly used words that sound alike.

Except and Accept

Except = preposition meaning all but, other than:
Everyone went to the fame except Kirsty.

Accept = verb meaning to receive or to agree:
He accepted their praise graciously.

Effect and Affect

Effect = noun meaning result or consequence:
Will lack of sleep have an effect on your game?

Affect = verb meaning to influence:
Will lack of sleep affect your game?

Effect = verb meaning to bring about, to accomplish:
Our efforts have effected a major change in college policy.

How to remember difference:


Remember Affect is a Verb and Effect is a Noun.

Advice and Advise

Advice = a noun that means an opinion or recommendation about what could or should be done:
I'd like to ask your advice on this matter

Advise = verb that means recommend, suggest or counsel:
I advise you to be cautious.

Conscience and Conscious

Conscience = noun meaning the sense of obligation to be good:
Peter wouldn't cheat because his conscience wouldn't let him.

Conscious = adjective meaning awake, perceiving:
Despite a blow to the head, the patient remained conscious.

Ideal and Idea

Ideal = noun meaning something or someone that embodies perfection, or an ultimate object or endeavour:
Carrie was the ideal for tutors everywhere.

Idea = noun meaning thought, belief or conception held in the mind or a general notion or conception formed by generalisation:
Harriet had a brilliant idea - She'd go to Writing Lab for help with her papers.

Ideal = adective meaning embodying an ultimate standard of excellence or perfection or the best:
Harry was an ideal student.

Its and It's

Its = possesive adjective (possesive form of the pronoun it):
The crab had an unusual growth on its shell.

It's = contraction for it has or it is (in a verb phrase).:
It's been raining.

When two words are shortened to one pronouns have apostrophes.

Led and Lead

Led = past-tense and past-participle form of the verb to lead meaning guide or direct:
The evidence led the jury to a unaminous decision.

Lead = noun referring to a dense metallic element:
The X-ray technician wore a vest lined with lead.

Their, They're and There

Their = possessive proo=noun:
They got their helmets.

They're = contraction for they are:
They're making lunch.

There = that place:
Over there.

Two, To and Too

Two = Number 2:
There are two of us.

To = preposition, or first part of the infinitive form of the verb.
They went to the lake to swim.

Too = very, also:
I was too tired to continue.  I was hungry too.

Were, Where and We're

Were = past tense form of the verb be:
They were running side by side.

Where = location:
Where are you going?

We're = contraction for we are:
We're glad to help.

You're and Your

You're = contraction for you are:
You're walking around with you're shoes untied.

Your = possessive pronoun:
Your shoe laces are loose.

The I Before E Rule

I before E except after C.
This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.