English is a language with many words that sounds similar that can be easily confused.
But will this effect your English? Or… should I say affect?
In some cases, it can lead to misunderstandings between people, or at the very least they can look unprofessional in a business email.
In this video and post I’m going to look at the 5 most commonly confused words and clear things up for you.
Affect / Effect
Let’s start with this one. It’s one of the easiest because the meaning is basically the same.
Affect is always used as a verb, used to describe the change that something causes.
Effect is always used as a noun, used to talk about the result of an action.
Especially / Specially
These two words sound very similar and can both be used for the same purpose. They can both be used in some ways to mean “particularly”.
Especially talks about something that is better or more than other things.
Specially is often used to talk about something that has a special purpose.
(Note that specially can also be used the same way as especially, but it sounds a bit less formal so I’d recommend just using especially.)
Accept / Except
These two are important because we use them all the time and they almost exactly the same.
Accept means to approve or receive something. If I give you a gift, you can decide to accept it or refuse it.
Except means to not include something out of a group.
Lend / Borrow
Despite not sounding the same, these two words are often confused because of their similar meanings. Once you learn the difference it’s actually quite simple though.
Borrow means to receive something from someone else for a short period of time. If you borrow money from your friend, that means that they have given you money and they expect you to return it one day.
Lend is when you are the one giving something. You lend an item for someone else to borrow.
Farther / Further
I’ll talk about this one briefly because it’s not that important, but I do get many questions about the difference between these two spellings.
Farther is used in US English to talk about a physical distance over land.
Further is used in US English to talk about a figurative and not physical distance.
However! In British English we used them both interchangeably so it doesn’t matter what spelling you use. And since I’m British, my advice is that you shouldn’t worry about this one too much.
Are there any more words that you are confused about? Ask me in the comments below!
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