As the millennial urban generation, constantly glued to our electronic devices, we think, walk and speak in English. But how much of it, unless cross-checked by our phone’s auto-correct feature, is actually the right use of the language? To resolve all your doubts, here are 16 commonly misused English words that you should know about.
1. Accept and Except
The verb, accept means to receive. While except means not including. Phonetically the two words sound very similar and hence they can be confused with each other.
2. Affect and Effect
While the verb affect means to have an influence on, effect is a noun which means any change brought about by an agent.
3. Complement and Compliment
The word complement suggests something which completes or goes well with something else. Compliment, on the other hand, means admiration or praise.
4. Elicit and Illicit
Elicit is a verb which means evoking or drawing from, while the adjective illicit indicates to something which is unlawful or illegal.
5. Imitated and Intimated
Both the words are verbs. While the former means to imitate or impersonate, the latter means to hint or imply.
6. Principle and Principal
Principle and Principal, both are nouns. While the former alludes to a fundamental doctrine or truth on which others are based, the latter means a governing or presiding officer.
7. Your and You’re
Your suggests possession while you’re (owing to the apostrophe) is just a contraction of the word you are.
8. Its and It’s
Like the previous example, its is a possessive noun that suggests belonging to. And it’s is just a contraction of the word it is.
9. Insure and Ensure
Insure is a verb which means to arrange for compensation or get insurance. Ensure implies to make certain of something.
10. Invoke and Evoke
To invoke is to call upon a higher authority for help, evoke is to recall a feeling or a memory to the conscious mind.
11. Allusion and Illusion
Allusion means to refer to something, bring something to mind. Illusion implies a trick or a hallucination.
12. Alternate and Alternative
This can get pretty confusing. Alternate means to take turns while alternative is one thing or another.
13. Reign and Rein
Reign is a verb which means to rule over or hold royal office as a monarch. Rein is a noun implying long straps which are used to steer an animal (preferably a horse).
14. Everyday and Every day
These two words/phrases are very commonly misused for each other. Everyday means something which happens daily while every day simply means every single day.
15. Counsel and Council
The word counsel can be used as a noun or a verb and it means to get guidance or assistance. Council is a formally constituted administrative body of people who meet regularly.
16. Advice and Advise
Advice is a noun which means to give an opinion or recommendation as a guide to action. Advise is a verb, offering a suggestion worth following. Basically, advise means to give advice.