Confusing English Words
In the previous article, we took a quick glance at some confusing English words that look similar but have different meanings. In this article, we’re going to discuss some more words that are equally confusing and cannot be used interchangeably.
Stationery vs. Stationary
Using stationary instead of stationery or vice versa is a very common mistake. You can even find such mistake in business letters.
To clear things up, stationery means writing supplies while stationary means not moving or fixed in one place.
- Molly needs to buy new stationery because she lost her school bag yesterday.
- Molly remains stationary as the monster slithers under her bed.
Amiable vs. Amicable
While both of these words were derived from the same Latin amicabilis, their meanings in English differ slightly. Amiable refers to one’s character trait while the word amicable refers to the relationship between people or groups.
- Dier is such an amiable football player.
- Dier and Pickford maintain an amicable relationship past their football career.
Advice vs. Advise
Advice is a noun, while advise is a verb. They are two distinct words instead of different spellings of the same word. The big problem with these two is that they’re used in similar context. Advice means a suggestion while advise means to give a suggestion.
- Sherry advises Jim to leave his toxic relationship.
- Jim thanks Sherry for giving him the advice to leave his toxic relationship.
Capital vs. Capitol
Have a look at these two examples:
- The capitol building is located right in the city center.
- Washington DC is the capital of US of A.
Do those two examples above clear your confusion about the difference between capitol and capital?
Both capital and capitol are nouns. Capital in the example above means the most important city in a country or region. Capitol means is a physical building where state legislature convenes.
You can also use the word capital to refer cities of places of special importance that is not related to government. Here’s an example:
- Paris is the capital of world’s fashion
Principal vs. Principle
Principal can be a noun or adjective. As a noun, principal means the person holding the most important position in an organization. As an adjective, principal means first in order of importance.
- Johnny is being sent to see the school principal again today.
- Poverty is the principal cause of social unrest in most countries.
Principle, on the other hand, means a doctrine or rules of action.
- No one can bend Jack’s principle of life.
- Bird’s principle of flight is well-known today.
Loose vs. Lose
Come on, you’re still confused about these two? Well, it can’t be helped. First, remember that you can’t have loose shoelaces if you lose your shoes.
Loose is the opposite of tight. Here are some examples:
- The horror movie is loosely based on the web novel.
- My jeans feel loose after I shed 20 pounds.
What about lose? Well, you lose something if you can no longer find it like in these examples:
- Many people will lose their minds if England wins the World Cup.
- I don’t want to lose my keys, so I strapped them on my wrist.