Make the RIGHT WORDS work for you

“The duck jumped over the fence, the feet before the tail,” was one little boy’s answer to an assignment to use the following words in a sentence: deduct, defence, defeat, and detail. Or that’s what the joke claims. Well, when you WRITE, you’ll want to use the RIGHT words. Here’s a list of confusable word pairs (such as right & write). They are listed in alphabetical order. Check out the cool sources at the end!

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A teacher asked his students to make a sentence with the following words: deduct, defence, defeat, and detail. And here’s the answer little Johnny gave: “The duck jumped over the fence, the feet before the tail.”

When you WRITE, you’ll want to use the RIGHT words. Here’s a list of confusable word pairs (such as right & write). They are listed in alphabetical order according to the first and second word (so each pair appears twice):

A: a & the; accept & except; ad & add; add & ad; affect & effect; ate & eight; aural & oral.

B: bail & bale; bale & bail; band & banned; banned & band; brake & break; bread & bred; break & brake; breath & breathe; breathe & breath; bred & bread; buy & by; by & buy.

C: can & could; canned & can’t; can’t & canned; could & can; cue & queue.

D: dear & deer; deer & dear; desert & dessert; dessert & desert; dew & do; diagnosis & prognosis; do & dew; during & while.

E: effect & affect; eight & ate; eminent & imminent; emit & omit; eye & I; except & accept.

F: faint & feint; fair & fare; fare & fair; feint & faint; flew & flu; flu & flew; for & since.

G: gage & gauge; gauge & gage; grate & great; great & grate.

H: have to & must; heal & heel; heel & heal; hear & here; here & hear; higher & hire; hire & higher.

I: I & eye; imminent & eminent; imply & infer; incidence & incident; incidents & incidence; infect & infest; infer & imply; infest & infect; infested & invested; inflammable & inflammatory; inflammatory & inflammable; innocence & innocents; innocents &  innocence; intense & intents; intents & intense; invested & infested; its & it’s; it’s & its.

J: jam & jamb; jamb & jam; jewel & joule; joule & jewel; judicial & judicious; judicious & judicial.

K: know & no; knew & new; knit & nit; knot & not.

L: laps & lapse; lapse & laps; lay & lie; liable & libel; libel & liable; lie & lay; loose & lose; lose & loose.

M: mail & male; male & mail; may & might; many & much; me & myself; meat & meet; meet & meat; might & may; miner & minor; minor & miner; much & many; must & have to; myself & me.

N: new & knew; nit & knit; no & know; not & knot; nutritional & nutritious; nutritious & nutritional.

O: obsolescent & obsolete; obsolete & obsolescent; omit & emit; oral & aural; oral & verbal.

P: pair & pear; peace & piece; peak & peek; pear & pair; peek & peak; piece & peace; presence & presents; presents & presence; prognosis & diagnosis.

Q: queue & cue; quiet & quite; quite & quiet.

R: rain & reign; reign & rain; right & write; ring & wring; root & route; route & root.

S: seam & seem; seem & seam; should & would; since & for; so & such; soar & sore; sore & soar; such & so.

T: tail & tale; tale & tail; than & then; the & a; then & than; that & which; their & there; there & their; to & too; too & to; to & two; translucent & transparent; transparent & translucent; two & to.

U: used & used to; used to & use.

V: vain & vein; vary & very; vein & vain; verbal & oral; very & vary.

W: waist & waste; waste & waist; which & that; while & during; who’s & whose; whose & who’s; would & should; wring & ring; write & right.

Y: yoke & yolk; yolk & yoke; your & you’re; you’re & your.

SOURCES:
• Morrison, Elizabeth. The Right Word: Correcting Commonly Confused, Misspelled, and Misused Words. Pompton Plains: Career Press, 2014.
ESL Tower Grammar Quizzes.
• Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL).
ThoughtCo. Lifelong Learning.

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