Homepage for: Word Confusions…

Revised as of 15 January 2018

The Word Confusion came about due to the poor word choices that kept cropping up in the books I was reading or reviewing. It was driving me mad, and I decided a series of posts that cleared up the confusion would be useful to self-editing writers. For more detail on the “anatomy” of a word confusion, see below.

Don’t feel bad…it’s not just self-publishing authors who screw up. I recently did a re-read of J.D. Robb’s In Death series, reading them one after another, and hoo, boy. Someone over there has no clue. This reading marathon pointed up how often and frequently Robb’s editors are NOT catching words used improperly! I don’t think much of whoever is proofreading over at Berkley. That or they’re getting confused over which words are Eve’s purposeful misuse and which are not.

Explore the current posts on words which confuse many authors. Explore them for your own problem words and reduce or eliminate them from your own publications.

Word Confusion Posts

NOTE: The shortcodes tab isn’t working for anything but “A”…so far. Meanwhile, below this is a three-column list of contents.


Word Confusion Posts by Column

A and An
A Lot vs Alot vs Allot
A While vs Awhile vs While or Whilst vs Wile
Aaah vs Ah vs Aha vs Ahhh
Ability vs Capability vs Capacity
Abjure versus Adjure
About versus Approximate
Abstruse versus Obtuse
Accept vs Except vs Excerpt vs Expect
Access versus Excess
Accident versus Mishap
Accidentally versus Accidently
Accolade versus Acolyte
Accuse versus Charge
Acetic versus Ascetic
Ad versus Add
Adapt versus Adopt
Addicted versus Dependent
Adduce vs Deduce vs Educe vs Induce
Absorb versus Adsorb
Adverse verse Averse
Advice versus Advise
Aerie vs Airy vs Eerie
Aesthetics versus Esthetics
Affect versus Effect
Affective versus Effective
Afterward versus Afterword
Aid versus Aide
Ail versus Ale
Air vs Err vs Heir
Aisle vs I’ll vs Isle
All Ready versus Already
All Right versus Alright
All Together versus Altogether
All Ways versus Always
Allée vs Alley vs Ally
Allusion vs Delusion vs Elusion vs Illusion
Allusive vs Delusive vs Elusive vs Illusive
Altar versus Alter
Among versus Between
Amoral vs Immoral vs Nonmoral vs Unmoral
Amount versus Number
Ancient vs Antiquate vs Antique vs Antiquity
Anecdote versus Antidote
Angel versus Angle
Ant versus Aunt
Antagonist versus Protagonist
Anxious versus Eager
Any More versus Anymore
Any One versus Anyone
Any Time versus Anytime
Any Way vs Anyway vs Anyways
Appraise versus Apprise
Arc versus Arch
Are vs Hour vs Our
Arrant versus Errant
As versus Like
Ascent versus Assent
Assure vs Ensure vs Insure
Ate versus Eight
Attach vs Attaché vs Attachée
Auger versus Augur

Bad versus Badly
Bail versus Bale
Bait versus Bate
Bald vs Balled vs Bawled
Ballocks or Bollocks versus Bullocks
Bare versus Bear
Base versus Bass
Based On versus On The Basis Of
Bazaar versus Bizarre
Be versus Bee
Because Of versus Due To
Beer versus Bier
Berth versus Birth
Bi- vs Biannual vs Biennial
Bigotry vs Prejudice vs Racism
Billed versus Build
Bing versus Binge
Blackmail versus Extortion
Blew versus Blue
Blond(e)s & Brunet(te)s
Board versus Bored
Boarder versus Border

Born vs Borne vs Bourn
Borrow vs Lend vs Loan
Bot versus Bought
Boy versus Buoy
Brake versus Break
Breach versus Breech
Bread versus Bred
Breadth vs Breath vs Breathe
Brews versus Bruise
Bring versus Take
Broach versus Brooch
Bus versus Buss
But versus Butt
Ca. and Circa
Cache vs Cachet vs Cash
Cadge versus Cage
Can versus May
Cannon versus Canon
Canter versus Cantor
Canvas versus Canvass
Capital versus Capitol
Capri versus capris
Carat vs Karat vs Caret vs Carrot
catholic versus Catholic
‘Cause versus Cause
Cent vs Scent vs Sense vs Sent
Century versus Sentry
Cereal versus Serial
Chanty versus Shanty
Chargé d’affaires vs Chargée d’affaires
Cher, Chéri versus Chère, Chérie
Choose versus Chose
Chord versus Cord
Chute versus Shoot
Cite vs Sight vs Site
Clamber versus Clamor
Click versus Clique
Coarse versus Course
Collage versus College
Common Sense versus Commonsense
Compare To versus Compare With
Complement versus Compliment
Compose versus Comprise
Confidant vs Confidante vs Confident
Conscience versus Conscious
Consul vs Council vs Counsel
Continual versus Continuous
Convince versus Persuade
Copy Right vs Copyright vs Copywriter
Core vs Corps vs Corpse
Coy versus Koi
Creak versus Creek
Criteria versus Criterion
Croc versus Crock
Crochet versus Crotchet
Crumble versus Crumple
Crumby vs Crumbly vs Crummy
Cue versus Queue
Currant versus Current
Curser versus Cursor
cypress versus Cyprus
Dairy versus Diary
Dear versus Deer
Deboss versus Emboss
Deduce versus Deduct
Defiant versus Definite
Defuse versus Diffuse
Dental versus Dentil
Desert versus Dessert
Dew vs Do vs Due
Die versus Dye
Different From vs Different Than vs Different To
Disburse versus Disperse
Discreet versus Discrete
Disdain vs Destain vs Distain vs Distrain
Disinterested versus Uninterested
Dissertation versus Thesis
Dose versus Doze
Down Stairs versus Downstairs
Dragged versus Drug
Dual versus Duel
Duck versus Duct
Dyeing versus Dying
E.g., Et al., Etc., and I.e.,
E’er vs Ere vs Err
earth versus Earth
East, North, South, West
Eek versus Eke
Egoism versus Egotism
Elder versus Eldest
Elicit versus Illicit
‘Em, ‘Er, ‘Im…
Emigrate versus Immigrate
Eminent vs Immanent vs Imminent
Empath[et]ic versus Emphatic
Enquiry versus Inquiry
Envelop versus Envelope
Epigram vs Epigraph vs Epitaph vs Epithet
Eunuchs versus Unix
Every Body versus Everybody
Every Day versus Everyday
Every Man versus Everyman
Every One versus Everyone
Every Place versus Everyplace
Every Thing versus Everything
Every Way versus Everyway
Ewe vs Yew vs You
Ex-Patriot versus Expatriate
Extend versus Extent
Fact versus Factoid
Facts vs FAQs vs Fax
Faint versus Feint
Fair versus Fare
Fairy versus Ferry
Famous vs Infamous vs Notorious
Fanaticize versus Fantasize
Farther versus Further
Fascinated By, For, or With
Faun versus Fawn
Faze versus Phase
Feat versus Feet
Few versus Phew
Fewer versus Less
Fiancé versus Fiancée
Figuratively versus Literally
First versus Firstly
Flack versus Flak
Flammable versus Inflammable
Flecks versus Flex
Flour versus Flower
For vs Fore vs Four
Foreword versus Forward
Former versus Latter
Forte versus Forty
Foul versus Fowl
Gage versus Gauge
Gait versus Gate
Garnish versus Garnishee
Genes versus Jeans
Genteel vs Gentile vs Gentle
Gild vs Gilt vs Guilt
Glutenous vs Glutinous vs Gluttonous
God versus god
Good, Better, Best
Good versus Well
Gorilla versus Guerilla
Goth versus Gothic
Gourmand versus Gourmet
Grate versus Great
Grill versus Grille
Grisly vs Gristly vs Grizzly
Groan versus Grown
Grown Up vs Grown-Up vs Grownup
Guise versus Guys
Hail versus Hale
Hair versus Hare
Hangar versus Hanger
Hanged versus Hung
Hardy versus Hearty
Heal versus Heel
Hear vs Here with a Bit of a Listen
Heart Beat versus Heartbeat
Herds versus HURDS
Heroin versus Heroine
Hew versus Hue
Hmmm versus Mmmm
Hoard versus Horde
Hole versus Whole
Holey vs Holly vs Holy vs Wholly
Home In On versus Hone In
Homey versus Homie
How Ever versus However
Hurdle versus Hurtle
I before E except after C…Unless
Idle versus Idol
Imply versus Infer
In versus Inn
In Lieu Of versus In Light Of
In vs In To vs Into
-ing and -ed Endings
Innocence versus Innocents
Installation versus Instillation
Internet vs Intranet vs Web
Invested versus Vested
Irregardless versus Regardless
It’s versus Its
Jam versus Jamb
jesus versus Jesus
Jewel versus Joule
Knead vs Kneed vs Need
Knew versus New
Knight versus Night
Knot vs Naught/Nought vs Not
Know How versus Knowhow
Know versus No
Knows vs Noes vs Nose
Laager vs Lager vs Logger
Lacks versus Lax
Ladder vs Later vs Latter
Lama versus Llama
Last vs Penultimate vs Ultimate
Lath vs Lathe vs Lave
Lay Out versus Layout
Lay versus Lie
Leach versus Leech
Lead versus Led
Less versus Lest
Lessen versus Lesson
Let’s versus Lets
Liable versus Likely
Lightening versus Lightning
Literal versus Literally
Lo versus Low
Loath versus Loathe
Log In vs Log-In vs Login
Loose versus Lose
Lord versus lord
Loses versus Losses
Mach vs Mock vs Muck
Made versus Maid
Mail versus Male
Main versus Mane
Mantel versus Mantle
Marital versus Martial
Mark versus Marque
Marquee versus Marquis
Marshal vs Marshall vs Martial
Mass vs Massé vs En Masse
May Be versus Maybe
May versus Might
Medal vs Meddle vs Metal vs Mettle
Media versus Medium
Might’a not be a Could’a, Would’a, Should’a
Mince versus Mints
Miner versus Minor
Moose versus Mousse
Moral vs Morale vs Morel
Naval versus Navel
None versus Nun
O vs O’ vs Oh vs Ooh
O’er vs Oar vs Or vs Ore
Obscenity vs Profanity vs Vulgarity
Oh là là versus Ooh la la
On vs On To vs Onto
One versus Won
Ordinance versus Ordnance
Oriel versus Oriole
Orientated vs Oriented vs Orienteered
Outcast versus Outcaste
Packed versus Pact
Padding versus Patting
Paddy versus Patty
Pail versus Pale
Pain versus Pane
Pair vs Pare vs Pear
Palate vs Palette vs Pallet
Partake In versus Partake Of
Pass vs Passed vs Past
Patience versus Patients
Pause versus Paws
Peace versus Piece
Peak vs Peek vs Peke vs Pique
Peal versus Peel
Pearl vs Perle vs Purl
Pedal vs Peddle vs Petal
Peer versus Pier
Persecute versus Prosecute
Personal versus Personnel
Peruse versus Pursue
Pincher vs Pincer vs Pinscher
Pique versus Piqué versus Piquet
Plain versus Plane
Pleas versus Please
Poo versus Pooh
Porch versus Porsche
Pore versus Pour
Practicable versus Practical
Praise v Prays v Preys
Precede versus Proceed
Premier versus Premiere
Prescribe versus Proscribe
Presence versus Presents
Principal versus Principle
Profit versus Prophet
Prophecy versus Prophesy
Protégé versus Protégée
Psychopath versus Sociopath
Publically versus Publicly
Pus versus Puss
Quiet vs Quit vs Quite
Rack versus Wrack
Racket versus Racquet
Rain vs Reign vs Rein
Raise vs Rays vs Raze
Rapped vs Rapt vs Wrapped
Rappel versus Repel
Rapport versus Report
Rational versus Rationale
Ravage versus Ravish
Read versus Red
Read versus Reed
Real versus Reel
Reek versus Wreak
Regard To versus Regards To
Repining versus Repinning
Resume versus Résumé

Retch versus Wretch
Reverend versus Reverent
Right vs Rite vs Wright vs Write
Ringer versus Wringer
Road vs Rode vs Rowed
Role versus Roll
Root vs Rout vs Route
Rot versus Wrought
Rote versus Wrote
Roué vs Roux vs Rue
Run Down vs Run-Down vs Rundown

Rung versus Wrung
Sachet versus Sashay
Sail versus Sale
Sale versus Sell
Scotch vs scot/Scots vs Scottish
Sea versus See
Seam versus Seem
Seat versus Seed
Sew vs So vs Sow
Shears versus Sheers
Sheath versus Sheathe
Shone vs Shined vs Shown
Shudder versus Shutter
Sic versus Sick
Sign versus Sine
Silicon versus Silicone
Slack versus Slake
Slew versus Slough
Sole versus Soul
Some Time vs Sometime vs Sometimes
Some versus Sum
Son versus Sun
Sooth versus Soothe
Staid versus Stayed
Stair versus Stare
Stamp versus Stomp
Stationary versus Stationery
Steal versus Steel
Storey versus Story
Stow Away versus Stowaway
Straight versus Strait
Surely versus Surly
Swath versus Swathe
Tack versus Tact
Tail versus Tale
Taper versus Tapir
Tartar vs Tartare vs Tarter
Taught vs Taut vs Tot
Team versus Teem
Tenant versus Tenet
Tenner versus Tenor
Than versus Then
Their vs There vs They’re
There’s versus There’re
Though versus Thought
Threw versus Through
Throe versus Throw
Throne versus Thrown
Thyme versus Time
Tide versus Tied
Timber versus Timbre
To vs Too vs Two
Toe versus Tow
Tort versus Torte
Tortuous versus Torturous
Tousle versus Tussle
Track versus Tract
Trail versus Trial
Troop versus Troupe
Trustee versus Trusty
Twined versus Twinned
Uh versus Um
Under Way vs Underway vs Under Weigh
Up On versus Upon
Use versus Utilize
Vain vs Vane vs Vein
Verses vs Versus vs Vs.
Vial versus Vile
Vice versus Vise
Viscose vs Vicious vs Viscous
Wade versus Weighed
Wae vs Way vs Weigh
Wail vs Wale vs Whale
Wait versus Weight
Waive versus Wave
Wander versus Wonder
Wanton versus Wonton
Ware vs Wear vs Were vs Where
Warn versus Worn
Warrior versus Worrier
Watt versus What
We’re vs Were vs Where
Weak versus Week
Weald versus Wield
Weather vs Wether vs Whether
Wench vs Winch vs Wrench
Which versus That
Which versus Witch
Whicker versus Wicker
While versus Whilst
Whinny versus Whiny
Whither vs Wither vs Writhe
Who versus That
Who versus Whom
Who’s versus Whose
Whoever vs Whosoever vs Whomever vs Whosever
Whoop versus Whup
windbreaker versus Windbreaker
Wood versus Would
Work Out versus Workout
Write vs Writing vs Written
Yay, Yea, Yeah, or Yes?
Yoke versus Yolk
Yore vs You’re vs Your
You and Its Plural

Anatomy of a Word Confusion

The part of grammar to which each word belongs is specified and includes a link to its definition (from the Grammar Explanations section) in case you’ve forgotten or want more clarification.

The part of grammar section is followed by a definition of the word, after which sentences provide examples of how each word is used in its various grammatical categories.

I began to include the verbals (which are distinct from phrases) as well as the derivatives, as those can be useful as well.

“History of the Word” is included as an aid for writers working on historical tales. Choose to use the olde version or not, how ever it may help deepen your story.

This list is in no way complete, and I’d love it if you’d send your own suggestions and comments…I don’t necessarily promise to include them, but…

If you know someone who could use some help with their own Word Confusions, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this self-editing aid for future updates.

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Pinterest Photo Credits

Problems, Problems… by Ion Chibzii, from Chisinau, Moldova, was taken sometime in the 1970s and is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.