Writing can be really difficult sometimes. Sometimes it seems to take forever to figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it. Then you have to actually sit down and write it. While it may seem like you’re done after that, you’re not. Before you send your email, or publish or post your article, you have to do the housekeeping. That means doing a thorough read through to proof it, run it through an online spell checker and look through our list of easily confused words.
The big problem with these words is that there are so many people who misuse them, it can be hard to remember which usage is correct and which usage is wrong.
Bookmark this page so you will always have it handy and won’t make these mistakes!
Easily Confused Words
Affect vs. Effect
The word “affect” is typically used as a verb and it means “to influence”. The word “effect” is a noun and it is a result.
- Affecting my state of mind
- A calming effect
Biweekly vs. Semiweekly
The word “biweekly” is used as an adjective or a noun that means every two weeks. The word “semiweekly” is an adjective that means twice per week.
Disinterested vs. Uninterested
Disinterested is usually an adjective. It is used to indicate that something is impartial or without a vested interest in the subject. Uninterested means to be indifferent.
- Find a disinterested person to mediate.
- I am uninterested in seeing that movie.
Few vs. Less
The word ‘few” means a small number and is usually used when counting something. The word “less” is used when referencing objects that can’t be divided.
- There are fewer people.
- There is less milk than before.
Figuratively vs. Literally
“Figuratively” is used as a metaphor or symbol while “literal” means “actual”.
- They figuratively lost everything at the casino.
- This is the literal translation.
It’s vs. Its
While these two are among the most easily confused words, there is an easy way to distinguish them. The word “it’s” is a contraction that means “it is”. If you can’t substitute “it is” into the sentence, it should say “its”.
Principal vs. Principle
Principal is used to reference a person who person who holds an important position or role. It can also be used as an adjective that means important. A principle is a rule or standard that should be followed.
- Thinking about your principal as your “pal” is a great way to remember this one.
- The principal reason the principal made the decision she did was due to her principles.
Your vs. You’re
This is another set of easily confused words that can be easily identified. “You’re” is a contraction that means “you are”, while “your” is the possessive of you.
- You’re going to get this wrong if you don’t review your writing for mistakes.
The list of easily confused words is very long, but these are the ones that are the most often confused by people. Use this list to double check your next article and make sure that your writing looks professional, sharp, and correct!