Commonly Confused Words in English

Let’s face it, English can be a confusing language at times. There are hundreds of confusing words in English: words that are separated by just one or two letters or words that sound exactly alike when you say them out loud but have completely different meanings.

That is why I have created this list of commonly confused words with detailed explanations on all of their uses and differences. I have done my best to make my explanations in everyday English, so that anyone and everyone reading these posts will be able to easily understand.

This list is by no means exhaustive and I am expanding it every day, so if you don’t see a set of words on here of which you would like an explanation, please send me an email at Jordan@writingexplained.org. I’d be happy to write an article.

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w

(A)

A hold versus Ahold

Accept versus Except

Access versus Excess

Accent versus Ascent versus Assent

Accidentally versus Accidently

Accidently versus Accidentally

Acclimation versus Acclamation

Acknowledgment versus Acknowledgement

Acknowledgement versus Acknowledgment

Acumen versus Acuity versus Acuteness

Acute versus Chronic

Ad versus Add

Adapter versus Adaptor

Adaptor versus Adapter

Adverse versus Averse

Advice versus Advise

Adviser versus Advisor

Advisor versus Adviser

Aerobic versus Anaerobic

Affect versus Effect

Affective versus Effective

Afflict versus Inflict

Afterward versus Afterwards

Afterwards versus Afterward

Ageing versus Aging

Aging versus Ageing

Ahold versus A hold

Aid versus Aide

Aide versus Aid

Aisle versus Isle

All ready versus Already

All right versus Alright

All together versus Altogether

Allowed versus Aloud

Allude versus Elude

Allusion versus Illusion

All ways versus Always

Alone versus Lonely

Altar versus Alter

Alter versus Altar

Aluminium versus Aluminum

Aluminum versus Aluminium

Always versus All ways

Aloud versus Allowed

Alot versus A lot

Aloud versus Out Loud

Already versus All ready

Alright versus All Right

Alumnus versus Alumni

Altogether versus All together

Ambiance versus Ambience

Ambience versus Ambience

Amend versus Emend

Among versus Amongst

Among versus Between

Amoral versus Immoral

Amoral versus Unmoral

Amount versus Number

Anaerobic versus Aerobic

Analyse versus Analyze

Analysis versus Analyses

Analyses versus Analysis

Analyze versus Analyse

Anime versus Manga

Angel versus Angle

Angle versus Angel

Anxious versus Eager

Antagonist versus Protagonist

Any more versus Anymore

Anymore versus Any more

Anytime versus Any time

Anyway versus Anyways

Anyways versus Anyway

Any way versus Anyway

Apart versus A part

Apologise versus Apologize

Apologize versus Apologise

Are versus Is

Are versus Our

Armor versus Armour

Armour versus Armor

Artefact versus Artifact

Artifact versus Artefact

Assume versus Presume

Assure versus Ensure versus Insure

Astrology versus Astronomy

Astronomy versus Astrology

Attain versus Obtain

Attorney versus Lawyer

Aural versus Oral

Avenge versus Revenge

Averse versus Adverse

Awhile versus A While

Ax versus Axe

Axe versus Ax

(B)

Bad versus Badly

Badly versus Bad

Bail versus Bale

Bale versus Bail

Baptised versus Baptized

Baptized versus Baptised

Barbecue versus Barbeque

Barbeque versus Barbecue

Bare versus Bear

Bare with me versus Bear with Me

Base versus Bass

Bass versus Base

Bath versus Bathe

Bathe versus Bath

Bear versus Bare

Bear with me versus Bare with me

Bed post versus Bedpost

Bedpost versus Bed post

Began versus Begun

Begun versus Began

Behavior versus Behaviour

Behaviour versus Behavior

Beliefs versus Believes

Believes versus Beliefs

Bellow versus Below

Below versus Bellow

Benefited versus Benefitted

Benefitted versus Benefited

Beside versus Besides

Besides versus Beside

Between versus Among

Biannual versus Semiannual

Bingeing versus Binging

Binging versus Bingeing

Bit versus Bitten

Bitten versus Bit

Blatant versus Flagrant

Blond versus Blonde

Blonde versus Blond

Born versus Borne

Borne versus Born

Bought versus Brought

Break versus Brake

Break down versus Breakdown

Breakdown versus Break down

Breath versus Breathe

Breathe versus Breath

Brick and Mortar versus Brick and Morter

Bring versus Take

Broach versus Brooch

Brooch versus Broach

Brought versus Bought

Bunny versus Rabbit

Burned versus Burnt

Burnt versus Burned

Burst versus Bursted

Bursted versus Burst

Buses versus Busses

Busses versus Buses

(C)

Calvary versus Cavalry

Calfs versus Calves

Calves versus Calfs

Camaraderie versus Comradery

Can versus May

Can not versus Cannot

Canceled versus Cancelled

Canon versus Cannon

Cannon versus Canon

Cannot versus Can not

Capital versus Capitol

Caramel versus Carmel

Cardinal Numbers versus Ordinal Numbers

Carmel versus Caramel

Case and Point versus Case in Point

Catalog versus Catalogue

Catalogue versus Catalog

Catsup versus Ketchup

Cavalry versus Calvary

Center versus Centre

Centre versus Center

Centrifugal versus Centripetal

Centripetal versus Centrifuga

Certificate versus Degree

Certificate versus Diploma

Charley Horse versus Charlie Horse

Charlie Horse versus Charley Horse

Check in versus Check-in

Check versus Cheque

Check up versus Checkup

Check-in versus Check in

Checkup versus Check up

Cheque versus Check

Choir versus Chorus

Choose versus Chose

Chord versus Cord

Chorus versus Choir

Chose versus Choose

Chronic versus Acute

Cite versus Site versus Sight

Clip versus Magazine

Cloth versus Clothes

Clothes versus Cloth

Co-worker versus Coworker

Coarse versus Course

Coldslaw versus Coleslaw

Coleslaw versus Coldslaw

College versus University

Coma versus Comma

Comma versus Coma

Compare To versus Compare With

Compare With versus Compare To

Complement versus Compliment

Compliment versus Complement

Comprise versus Compose

Concave versus Convex

Conscience versus Conscious

Consignee versus Consignor

Consignor versus Consignee

Contiguous versus Continuous

Continual versus Continuous

Continuous versus Contiguous

Continuous versus Continual

Continually versus Continuously

Continuously versus Continually

Convex versus Concave

Convince versus Persuade

Collaborate versus Corroborate

Color versus Colour

Colour versus Color

Comradery versus Camaraderie

Cord versus Chord

Correspondance versus Correspondence

Correspondence versus Correspondance

Corroborate versus Collaborate

Could Have versus Could Of

Could Of versus Could Have

Could versus Would

Council versus Counsel

Counsel versus Council

Course versus Coarse

Coworker versus Co-worker

Crawfish versus Crayfish

Crayfish versus Crawfish

Criteria versus Criterion

Criterion versus Criteria

Cue versus Queue

Currant versus Current

Current versus Currant

(D)

Dairy versus Diary

Deceased versus Diseased

Degree versus Diploma

Denounce versus Renounce

Defence versus Defense

Defendant versus Plaintiff

Defense versus Defence

Defuse versus Diffuse

Degree versus Certificate

Deep-Seated versus Deep-Seeded

Deep-Seeded versus Deep-Seated

Delusion versus Illusion

Dependant versus Dependent

Dependent versus Dependant

Despite versus In Spite of

Device versus Devise

Devise versus Device

Diagnosis versus Prognosis

Dialog versus Dialogue

Dialogue versus Dialog

Diary versus Dairy

Dieing versus Dying

Different From versus Different Than

Different Than versus Different From

Diffuse versus Defuse

Diner versus Dinner

Dinner versus Diner

Dinner versus Supper

Diploma versus Certificate

Diploma versus Degree

Disburse versus Disperse

Diseased versus Deceased

Disc versus Disk

Discreet versus Discrete

Discrete versus Discreet

Disinterested versus Uninterested

Disk versus Disc

Disorganized versus Unorganized

Disperse versus Disburse

Distrust versus Mistrust

Dived versus Dove

Donut versus Doughnut

Doughnut versus Donut

Dove versus Dived

Draft versus Draught

Dragged versus Drug

Draught versus Draft

Dreamed versus Dreamt

Dreamt versus Dreamed

Drier versus Dryer

Drink versus Drunk

Drug versus Dragged

Drunk versus Drink

Dryer versus Drier

Dual versus Duel

Duel versus Dual

(E)

E-mail versus Email

Eager versus Anxious

Eatable versus Edible

Edible versus Eatable

Effect versus Affect

Effective versus Affective

Effective versus Efficient

Effectiveness versus Efficiency

Efficacy versus Efficiency

Efficiency versus Effectiveness

Efficiency versus Efficacy

Efficient versus Effective

E.G. versus I.E.

Either versus Neither

Elegy versus Eulogy

Elder versus Older

Elicit versus Illicit

Elude versus Allude

Email versus E-mail

Emend versus Amend

Emigrate versus Immigrate

Eminent versus Imminent

Emoji versus Emoticon

Emoticon versus Emoji

Empathetic versus Empathic

Empathic versus Empathetic

Empathy versus Sympathy

Emphasise versus Emphasize

Emphasize versus Emphasise

Endeavors versus Endeavours

Encase versus Incase

Endeavours versus Endeavors

Endemic versus Epidemic

Endorsement versus Indorsement

Enquiry versus Inquiry

Enrollment versus Enrolment

Enrolment versus Enrollment

Ensure versus Insure versus Assure

Entitled versus Titled

Envision versus Invision

Envy versus Jealousy

Epidemic versus Endemic

Ethics versus Morals

Ethnicity versus Race

Eulogy versus Elegy

Everyday versus Every day

Everyone or Every One

Every thing versus Everything

Everything versus Every thing

Evoke versus Invoke

Except versus Accept

Excess versus Access

Explicit versus Implicit

(F)

Fair versus Fare

Farther versus Further

Favor versus Favour

Favorite versus Favourite

Favour versus Favor

Favourite versus Favorite

Faze versus Phase

Fed versus Feed

Feed versus Fed

Fewer versus Less

Fiancé versus Fiancée

Fiancée versus Fiancé

Fiction versus Nonfiction

Figuratively versus Literally

Fish versus Fishes

Fishes versus Fish

Flair versus Flare

Flagrant versus Blatant

Flesh out versus Flush out

Flier versus Flyer

Flies versus Flys

Flush out versus Flesh out

Flys versus Flies

Follow up versus Followup

Followup versus Follow up

Forego versus Forgo

Foreword versus Forward

Forth versus Fourth

Forgo versus Forego

Former versus Latter

Forty versus Fourty

Foreword versus Forward

Fourth versus Forth

Fourty versus Forty

Free Reign versus Free Rein

Free Rein versus Free Reign

Freshman versus Freshmen

Freshmen versus Freshman

Fulfil versus Fulfill

Fulfill versus Fulfil

Funner versus More Fun

Funnest versus Most Fun

(G)

Gage versus Gauge

Gaol versus Jail

Gases versus Gasses

Gasses versus Gases

Gauge versus Gage

Gist versus Jist

Glueing versus Gluing

Gluing versus Glueing

Grammar versus Grammer

Grammer versus Grammar

Grateful versus Greatful

Greatful versus Grateful

Grey versus Gray

Grill versus Grille

Grille versus Grill

Gross versus Net

Guarantee versus Guaranty

Guaranty versus Guarantee

(H)

Half-Mast versus Half-Staff

Half-Staff versus Half-Mast

Hanged versus Hung

Harbor versus Harbour

Harbour versus Harbor

Hardy versus Hearty

Hare versus Rabbit

Has versus Have

Have versus Has

Hayday versus Heyday

Heal versus Heel

Health Care versus Healthcare

Healthcare versus Health Care

Hear versus Here

Hearty versus Hardy

Heel versus Heal

Here versus Hear

Her’s versus Hers

Hers versus Her’s

Heyday versus Hayday

Historic versus Historical

Historical versus Historic

Hoard versus Horde

Home in versus Hone in

Homonyms versus Homophones

Hone in versus Home in

Honor versus Honour

Honour versus Honor

Hoping versus Hopping

Hopping versus Hoping

Horde versus Hoard

Hyper versus Hypo

Hypo versus Hyper

(I)

I versus Me

I.E. versus E.G.

Ignorant versus Stupid

Illegal versus Illicit

Illegal versus Unlawful

Illegible versus Unreadable

Illicit versus Illegal

Illicit versus Elicit

Illusion versus Allusion

Illusion versus Delusion

Imaginary versus Imaginative

Imaginative versus Imaginary

Immigrate versus Emigrate

Imminent versus Eminent

Immoral versus Amoral

Immoral versus Unmoral

Implicit versus Explicit

Imply versus Infer

In Case versus Incase

In Spite Of versus Despite

Incase versus Encase

Incase versus In Case

Indorsement versus Endorsement

Inequality versus Inequity

Inequity versus Inequality

Infer versus Imply

Inflict versus Afflict

Inquiry versus Enquiry

Instil versus Instill

Instill versus Instil

Insure versus Ensure versus Assure

Inter- versus Intra-

Into versus In to

Invision versus Envision

Invoke versus Evoke

Is versus Are

Isle versus Aisle

Its versus It’s

(J)

Jail versus Gaol

Jealousy versus Envy

Jist versus Gist

Judgement versus Judgment

Judgment versus Judgement

(K)

Ketchup versus Catsup

Kneeled versus Knelt

Knelt versus Kneeled

Knew versus New

Knight versus Night

Knit versus Knitted

Knitted versus Knit

(L)

Labeled versus Labelled

Labelled versus Labeled

Labor versus Labour

Labour versus Labor

Lath versus Lathe

Lathe versus Lath

Latitude versus Longitude

Latter versus Former

Lawyer versus Attorney

Lead versus Led

Leaned versus Leant

Leant versus Leaned

Leaped versus Leapt

Leapt versus Leaped

Learned versus Learnt

Learnt versus Learned

Led versus Lead

Lend versus Loan

Lens versus Lense

Lense versus Lens

Less versus Fewer

Lessee versus Lessor

Lessor versus Lessee

Let’s versus Lets

Lets versus Let’s

Liar versus Lier

Lier versus Liar

Libel versus Slander

Licence versus License

License versus Licence

Lighted versus Lit

Lifes versus Lives

Light versus Lite

Lightening versus Lightning

Lightning versus Lightening

Liqueur versus Liquor

Liquor versus Liqueur

Lit versus Lighted

Lite versus Light

Literally versus Figuratively

Lives versus Lifes

Loan versus Lend

Loathe versus Loath

Log in versus Login

Login versus Log in

Lonely versus Alone

Longitude versus Latitude

Lose versus Loose versus Loosen

Loss versus Lost

Lost versus Loss

(M)

Macro versus Micro

Magazine versus Clip

Maize versus Maze

Manga versus Anime

Mantel versus Mantle

Mantle versus Mantel

Many versus Much

Master versus Mister

Material versus Materiel

Materiel versus Material

Math versus Maths

Maths versus Math

May versus Can

May versus Might

May be versus Maybe

Maybe versus May be

Maze versus Maize

Me versus I

Me versus Mine

Me versus Myself

Micro versus Macro

Mine versus Me

Miss versus Mrs.

Mister versus Master

Mistreatment versus Maltreatment

Mistrust versus Distrust

Mistrust versus Trust

Mold versus Mould

Moneys versus Monies

Monies versus Moneys

Moot versus Mute

Moral versus Morale

Morale versus Moral

Morals versus Ethics

More Fun versus Funner

More Than versus More Then

More Then versus More Than

Moslem versus Muslim

Most Fun versus Funnest

Mould versus Mold

Moustache versus Mustache

Movable versus Moveable

Moveable versus Movable

Miss versus Mrs.

Mrs. versus Ms.

Ms. versus Mrs.

Much versus Many

Mucous vs. Mucus

Mucus versus Mucous

Muslim versus Moslem

Mustache versus Moustache

Myself versus Me

(N)

Nauseated versus Nauseous

Nauseous versus Nauseated

Nay versus Yay

Neither versus Either

Nerve-racking versus Nerve-wracking

Nerve-wracking versus Nerve-racking

Net versus Gross

Never mind versus Nevermind

Nevermind versus Never mind

New versus Knew

Night versus Knight

Ninety versus Ninty

Ninty versus Ninety

No one versus Noone

Nobody versus No one

Nonfiction versus Fiction

Nonprofit versus Not-for-profit

Noone versus No one

No one versus Nobody

Not Surprising versus Not Surprisingly

Not-for-profit versus Nonprofit

Now a Days versus Nowadays

Nowadays versus Now a Days

Number versus Amount

(O)

Objective versus Subjective

Obtain versus Attain

Octopi versus Octopuses

Octopuses versus Octopi

Offence versus Offense

Offense versus Offence

Older versus Elder

One’s Self versus Oneself

Oneself versus One’s Self

Onto versus On to

Opossum versus Possum

Oral versus Aural

Ordinal Numbers versus Cardinal Numbers

Organisation versus Organization

Organization versus Organisation

Orientated versus Oriented

Oriented versus Orientated

Orthopaedic versus Orthopedic

Orthopedic versus Orthopaedic

Our versus Are

Out Loud versus Aloud

Over Time versus Overtime

Overtime versus Over Time

(P)

Patience versus Patients

Payed versus Paid

Pass time versus Pastime

Passed versus Past

Past time versus Pastime

Peace of Mind versus Piece of Mine

Peak versus Peek versus Pique

Peal versus Peel

Peel versus Peal

Person versus People

Persons versus People

People versus Person

People versus Persons

Per cent versus Percent

Percent versus Per cent

Perspective versus Prospective

Persuade versus Convince

Phase versus Faze

Photo Shoot versus Photoshoot

Photoshoot versus Photo Shoot

Piece or Mine versus Peace of Mind

Plaintiff versus Defendant

Pleaded versus Pled

Pled versus Pleaded

Poisonous versus Venomous

Port versus Starboard

Possum versus Opossum

Potatoes versus Potatos

Practice versus Practise

Practise versus Practice

Pray versus Prey

Precede versus Proceed

Precedence versus Precedent

Precedent versus Precedence

Premier versus Premiere

Premiere versus Premier

Prescribe versus Proscribe

Presence versus Presents

Presents versus Presence

Presume versus Assume

Pretence versus Pretense

Pretense versus Pretence

Preventative versus Preventive

Preventive versus Preventative

Prey versus Pray

Principal versus Principle

Proceed versus Precede

Prognosis versus Diagnosis

Program versus Programme

Programme versus Program

Proof versus Prove

Proscribe versus Prescribe

Prospective versus Perspective

Protagonist versus Antagonist

Prove versus Proof

Proven versus Proved

Psychiatry versus Psychology

Psychology versus Psychiatry

Purposefully versus Purposely 

Purposely versus Purposefully

(Q)

Queue versus Cue

Quiet versus Quite

Quite versus Quiet

(R)

Rabbit versus Bunny

Rabbit versus Hare

Race versus Ethnicity

Racket versus Racquet

Racquet versus Racket

Real versus Reel

Realise versus Realize

Realize versus Realise

Reckless versus Wreckless

Recur versus Reoccur

Reel versus Real

Regime versus Regimen

Regimen versus Regime

Renounce versus Denounce

Reoccur versus Recur

Revenge versus Avenge

Rhyme versus Rime

Rime versus Rhyme

Road versus Rode

Role versus Roll

Roll versus Role

Root versus Route

Route versus Root

Run Amok versus Run Amuck

Run Amuck versus Run Amok

(S)

Sang versus Sung

Saw versus Seen

Scarfs versus Scarves

Scarves versus Scarfs

Seen versus Saw

Semiannual versus Biannual

Separate versus Seperate

Seperate versus Separate

Set up versus Setup

Setup versus Set up

Sherbet versus Sherbert

Sherbert versus Sherbet

Shined versus Shone

Shone versus Shined

Sign up versus Sign-up

Site versus Sight versus Cite

Sizable versus Sizeable

Sizeable versus Sizable

Skill Set versus Skillset

Skillset versus Skill set

Slander versus Libel

Smelled versus Smelt

Smelt versus Smelled

Smokey versus Smoky

Smoky versus Smokey

Sneaked versus Snuck

Snuck versus Sneaked

Sole versus Soul

Some Day versus Someday

Some Thing versus Something

Some Time versus Sometime

Someday versus Some Day

Something versus Some Thing

Sometime versus Some Time

Soul versus Sole

Spatter versus Splatter

Spelled versus Spelt

Spelt versus Spelled

Spilled versus Spilt

Spilt versus Spilled

Splatter versus Spatter

Stalactite versus Stalagmite

Stalagmite versus Stalactite

Starboard versus Port

Stationary versus Stationery

Stationery versus Stationary

Steal versus Steel

Steel versus Steal

Storey versus Story

Story versus Storey

Straight versus Strait

Strait versus Straight

Stupid versus Ignorant

Subconscious versus Unconscious

Subjective versus Objective

Suite versus Suit

Suit versus Suite

Sulfur versus Sulphur

Sulphur versus Sulfur

Sung versus Sang

Supper versus Dinner

Supposably versus Supposedly

Suppose versus Supposed

Supposed versus Suppose

Supposedly versus Supposably

Sympathy versus Empathy

Systematic versus Systemic

Systemic versus Systematic

(T)

Take versus Bring

Talk to versus Talk with

Talk with versus Talk to

To versus Too versus Two

Than versus Then

That versus Which

Theater versus Theatre

Theatre versus Theater

Their versus There versus They’re

Theirselves versus Themselves

Them versus They

Themselves versus Theirselves

Then versus Than

Therefor versus Therefore

Therefore versus Therefor

They versus Them

Threw versus Through

Through versus Threw

Through versus Thru

Thru versus Through

Tied versus Tide

Tide versus Tied

Til versus Till

Till versus Til

Titled versus Entitled

Tire versus Tyre

Ton versus Tonne

Tonne versus Ton

Totaled versus Totalled

Totalled versus Totaled

Toward versus Towards

Translucent versus Transparent

Transparent versus Translucent

Traveling versus Travelling

Travelling versus Traveling

Truely versus Truly

Truly versus Truely

Trust versus Mistrust

Tyre versus Tire

(U)

Unconscious versus Subconscious

Uninterested versus Disinterested

University versus College

Unlawful versus Illegal

Unlawful versus Illicit

Unmoral versus Amoral

Unmoral versus Immoral

Unorganized versus Disorganized

Unreadable versus Illegible

Up-to-Date versus Up to Date

Upmost versus Utmost

Us versus We

Use to versus Used to

Used to versus Use to

Utmost versus Upmost

(V)

Vain versus Vein

Vein versus Vain

Venomous versus Poisonous

Verbage versus Verbiage

Verbiage versus Verbage

(W)

Waive versus Wave

Wander versus Wonder

Was versus Were

Waste versus Waist

Waist versus Waste

Wary versus Weary

Wave versus Waive

We versus Us

Weather versus Whether

Weary versus Wary

Website versus Web Site

Well-being versus Wellbeing

Wellbeing versus Well-being

Where versus Were versus Wear

Whether versus Weather

Which versus That

Whiney versus Whiny

Whiny versus Whiney

Whiskey versus Whisky

Whisky versus Whiskey

Whoa is Me versus Woe is Me

Whoa versus Woah

Who versus Whom

Who’s versus Whose

Whose versus Who’s

While versus Whilst

Whilst versus While

Will versus Would

Woah versus Whoa

Woe is Me versus Whoa is Me

Wonder versus Wander

Worse versus Worst

Worst versus Worse

Would versus Could

Would versus Will

Wreckless versus Reckless

(Y)

Ya’ll versus Y’all

Y’all versus Ya’ll

Yay versus Nay

Yea versus Yeah

Yeah versus Yea

Year old versus Year-old

Years old versus Year old

Yoghurt versus Yogurt

Yogurt versus Yoghurt

Yoke versus Yolk

Yolk versus Yoke

Your versus You’re

Your’s versus Yours

Yours versus Your’s

(Z)

Zombi versus Zombie