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6 most commonly confused words

This grammar article will enlighten about some similar words that are often confused with each other. If you are one of those who knows all these words, but gets stuck for a second and wonders which of the two is correct for the context, just read on!

2:36 min read
  Ramya Shankar  —  Grammar Tips
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1. Complimentary vs complementary

The word with the ‘I’ means getting good comments and feedback from someone. For e.g., I got a compliment today for my dress. This word with ‘I’ is associated with feelings/remarks and not any material things.

On the other hand, the complement with an ‘e’ means something in addition to something to enhance the value of it, which generally means a material object. For example, ‘the hotel provides ‘complementary’ breakfast with the deluxe suite.’ ‘You will get 2 ‘complementary’ passes if you buy these tickets.’

As a compliment for your exemplary work, we are giving you complementary ticket to a movie of your choice.

2. accept and except

These two words are often confused but have totally different meanings.

Accept means to agree upon something. For example, I have accepted the offer and will join from next week.

Except means excluding something. Example, I listen to everybody except my husband.

I accepted apologies from everyone except the one in blue shirt as he was showing too much attitude.

3. affect and effect

Affect with the ‘a’ means to make a difference or have an effect on. For example, ‘The recent floods affected the whole state of Kerala.’ ‘Cold and fever have affected my entire routine.’ ‘What affects me most is his attitude towards the kids.’

Effect with the ‘e’ means a result of some action(s). ‘The effects of cutting trees are known to everyone.’ ‘You should take these medicines from immediate effect.’

You don’t seem to get affected even after telling you the ill-effects of smoking so many times.

4. advice and advise

Both are same in meaning. The advice with ‘c’ is a noun, where the one with ‘s’ is a verb.

‘Giving advice to someone else is easy’.

‘I would advise you to follow the rules strictly’.

5. appraise and apprise

To appraise is to assess (someone’s performance). ‘During appraisal time, the air in the office is totally different.’ ‘We appraised the content at a good price.’

To apprise means to inform or tell something to someone. ‘I want to apprise you about the current situation of the company.’ ‘It is better to apprise mother about everything.’

We want to apprise you that your appraisal ratings are very good this year.          

6. Principle and Principal

Principal is most important person/thing. ‘The principal use of computer is to make manual work easier.’

It can also mean an initial investment amount. ‘The rate of interest will be applied on the principal amount.’

On the other hand, principle means one’s beliefs or values. ‘Rao is a man of principles.’ ‘He left the job as the company’s vision conflicted with his principles.’

This is just a small list out of the ocean of such confusing words. Hope the article clears some basic confusions and helps you understand the correct usage. Let us know in comments, those words, which are confusing for you and why. We will address and resolve the concerns. 


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