RESOURCE Their bare bear is over there! (A Guide to Commonly Confused Words)

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by DinoFeather, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. Welcome to yet another installation of my grammar and punctuation guides! This time around I'm delving into the wonderful world of words!

    It's no secret that many people struggle with forms of words or, to be more technical, homophones, homographs, and capitonyms. (Heterographs seem to be the most confusing, and the following list consists mostly of such words.)

    What are these strange things you speak of?!

    Before you worry, I bet many of you recall these terms from primary or secondary school. You may just need to refresh your memory.

    If you are unconcerned with technical terms, feel free to skip straight to the list.

    Forms of Words (open)


    Homophones are words that are pronounced the same as other words but have different and unrelated meanings.

    There are two specific types of homophones:
    1. Homonyms: spelled and pronounced the same way (e.g. duck)
    2. Heterographs: spelled differently but pronounced the same way (e.g. you, ewe)
    Homographs are words that are spelled the sames as other words but have different meanings.

    There is one specific type of homograph:
    1. Heteronym: spelled the same way but pronounced differently (e.g. lead/lead)

    Capitonyms are words that have different meanings when the word begins with a capital letter.

    An example of this would be Polish (from Poland) and polish (to shine something).



    Commonly Confused Words:
    accept - to receive something
    except - with exclusion

    affect - to influence or impact
    effect - result or outcome

    aisle - space between rows
    isle - an island

    air - invisible, gaseous substance; quality of; unconfined space above the surface of the earth; tune or melody; to expose
    heir - a person inheriting and/or continuing a legacy (often familial)

    allowed - permitted
    aloud - out loud

    allude - to make indirect reference
    elude - to evade

    altar - sacred platform or table
    alter - to change

    a lot - large quantity
    allot - to divvy out

    are - plural present of "be"
    our - belonging to the speaker and one or more other people

    bare - naked or unadorned; to expose
    bear - animal; to carry; to tolerate

    boar - wild pig
    bore - to hollow out; an uninteresting person or task; to make weary by being dull or uninteresting
    boor - unrefined or ill-mannered person

    board - a piece of wood
    bored - uninterested; hollowed out

    brake - to stop; an interlude
    break - to destroy or damage; to wound

    buy - purchase
    by - beside; through agency of
    bye - short for "goodbye"; advancement in a competition through absence of opponent

    cease - to bring to or come to an end
    seize - to take forcible possession of; to become stuck or jammed; to have bodily convulsions (seizures)

    cite - to quote or mention
    site - an area or location of; (web)site; to build in a particular place
    sight - ability to see; something seen or glimpsed; someone's view or consideration; to take aim down a gun

    compliment - expression of praise or congratulations; to present as a mark of courtesy
    complement - to complete or improve

    definitely - without doubt
    defiantly - boldly resistant or challenging

    elicit - to draw out
    illicit - illegal

    everyday - routine, commonplace
    every day - each day, successive order

    fair - just, honest; lightly pigmented or complected; festival
    fare - fee for travel; food

    hear - to perceive sound
    here - in this place

    hole - an opening
    whole - entire or complete

    hollow - empty; without significance or meaning
    hallow - to make holy; revered as something holy; greatly revered or respected

    lose - to be deprived of; cease to retain; to misplace; opposite of win
    loose - neither firmly nor tightly fixed or fitted; to free or release

    manner - decorum or behaviour
    manor - a large estate

    metal - a hard, natural ore
    medal - an award
    mettle - spirit, energy

    passed - past tense of "pass"
    past - previously in time

    peace - freedom from disturbance
    piece - a part of; selection of music

    peak - point, pinnacle, or maximum
    peek - to peer or look; to protrude slightly
    pique - to excite; to affect with irritation

    pedal - foot lever of bicycle or car
    petal - part of a flower
    peddle - to sell

    plain - simple, bland; open, treeless expanse
    plane - aircraft; level of existence or thought; flat or level surface

    queue - a line or sequence awaiting in turn
    cue - a signal for action; hint or indication; a prompt; stick used for billiards or pool

    rain - weather condition; to fall like rain
    reign - to rule
    rein - to guide or control; part of a bridal to control an animal

    raise - to lift up
    raze - to destroy

    right - correct; opposite of left
    rite - ritual or ceremony
    write - to compose

    scene - location of an incident; a place or position; a division of an act in a play or opera
    seen - past participle of "see"

    see - to view
    sea - large body of salt water; a vast expanse

    than - in comparison
    then - at that time; next

    their - possessive form of "they"
    there - in that place
    they're - they are

    through - into and out of; finished
    threw - past tense of "throw"
    thorough - performed with care and detail

    to - used to indicate; toward
    too - as well, also; used to show emphasis
    two - the number following one

    waist - midsection of the body
    waste - rubbish; to squander

    weak - opposite of strong
    week - seven consecutive days

    weather - climatic condition
    whether - if

    wear - to put on; to become damaged over time; to withstand; to pass time slowly or tediously
    where - at what location
    ware - something offered for sale
    were (prefix) - e.g. werewolf, werebear

    were - second person singular past, plural past, and past subjunctive of "be"
    we're - we are
    whir - low, continuous sound

    which - one of
    witch - practitioner of witchcraft

    your - possessive of "you"
    you're - you are
    yore - time long past


    Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or think are are other commonly confused words you think I should add, please let me know!

     
    #1 DinoFeather, Mar 7, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
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  2. I see these mixed up WAY too often so I want to stress: if you say you can't "bare" someone any longer, it sounds like you're stripping off their clothes... When it comes to handling problems or burdens, you can bear them.
     
  3. One might want to include lose and loose in that list. :P.
     
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  4. Lose is a verb that means to suffer the loss of, to miss. "You lose the game!" "Did you lose your keys?"
    Loose is an adjective, the opposite of tight or contained. "Your shoes are loose!" "There is a dog running loose!"


    BWAHAH! I contributed!
    I'm TOTALLY not helpful!
     
  5. Updated. c:
     
  6. You could also include seize and cease.
     
  7. Cue and queue.
    Hollowed hallowed.
    I bet there is more, but I cannot think of them at this time.
     
  8. Oh, how about compliment and complement? Tricky one there.
     
  9. If I ever make an error like that, it's always 'waist' and 'waste' that I mix up for some reason.. I'm good other than that. I think 'might' and 'mite' could be helpful to add. I've seen that mistake.
     
  10. Sight cite site.
    Scene seen.
    Trashed thrashed.
     
  11. I think it's a bit pointless to just add every homophone. They need to be ones that it's actually possible to get mixed up. Most of the time, they get mistyped in the run of the moment, more as a typo than not actually knowing which word to use (except in the case of very unusual words that are rarely taught anyway - cue and queue for example). Plus, it usually doesn't even matter. Most of the time, it's still obvious what people mean. The problems come when people misuse tenses or leave words out completely, or overuse pronouns, so it's impossible to tell whom someone is actually referring to; for example, when fighting 2 female warriors and someone just types "Joe attacked her".
     
  12. How can you define which ones are "possible to get mixed up"? Lots of these can get misused. Any of them can be misused. And how do you know that people are always just getting it wrong in the moment? Lots of people actually consistently get a lot of these words mixed up.

    And even if I can tell what they mean, is that really any reason to not improve? Seeing someone use "you're" when they obviously meant "your" doesn't hinder comprehension too much, but it's still jarring and annoying to read.

    Also, some of these mistakes might not be so bad if the rest of the sentence that they're in is flawless -- but it's when multiple grammar mistakes are stacked on top of each other that the meaning of a sentence can become muddled. Best to help people out wherever they might need it, eh?

    If someone's building a guide that's meant to help people with words that can easily get mixed up then, well, there's no reason why it can't be as complete as possible.

    And as for the "Joe attacked her" example -- well, yeah, I understand that that can be a problem, but it's a problem that's completely unrelated from commonly confused words. Why don't you write a guide about this subject instead, if you feel it's important? It's not like OwlFeather's guide makes your point invalid; both guides can exist.
     
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  13. Precisely - if the person's writing quality is sufficiently poor that choosing the wrong word actually matters, it's going to be improved by learning the grammar, not the words. "Red eating seize fox" makes just as little sense as "Red eating cease fox". And while it's a very minor annoyance to have to read "you're ball" instead of "your ball" imagine how much more frustrating it will be if every time you post something (or even just click through a forum) someone points out your mistakes - when it's clear they understood what you meant in the first place!
     
  14. I don't know if this would be the proper place to add this, but I see it everywhere - sometimes from writers I have respect for.

    Definitely and defiantly aren't the same, at all. Can that be added here? Isn't necessarily a homophone, but apparently quite a few people believe so and it's driving me mad. xD

    "I defiantly know where you're coming from"

    Like, what? You're defying your knowledge of my circumstances??

    I love the list btw. Most people actually do need this.
     
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  15. Isn't the whole point of this list so people can fix mistakes they're making without having other people bother them about it?
     
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  16. And... I did say that the point of this thread isn't to turn anyone into grammar police. It's simply to allow people a resource so that they can learn these differences and improve their writing if they so wish.

    And, again, if there are other grammar mistakes that you feel are more important, then go make a guide about that. No one's stopping you. But just saying "this guide shouldn't exist because it's not the most important grammar issue" isn't helpful. At all.

    Additionally, no one said that just learning how to not get these words confused is the end-all-be-all of being a good writer. Yes, there are other things to learn to improve one's grammar. Some could argue that other things are more important than getting these words right. That doesn't mean that no one can benefit from learning these at all. People can still improve from learning them, especially if they aren't struggling in other areas and this is really the only thing they struggle with. :P Also, if people are struggling with grammar in other areas, then getting homophones wrong actually can confuse the meaning of a sentence. o.o Like I said, replacing "you're" with "your" doesn't matter a ton if the rest of the sentence is written flawlessly, so that you know what they meant. But if one's grammar is shit to begin with? Then using the wrong homophone can take an already not-so-great sentence and make it even more difficult to decipher.

    But, even if you disagree with me on all of this, you can still go make your own grammar guide if you feel there are more important lessons to teach... There's really no point in debating which is "more important" in a place like this since there isn't exactly a cap on how many guides can be created. Anyone can make a guide on any grammar mistake, no matter how trivial.
     
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  17. Updated.

    This list isn't to make people feel bad about their mistakes, it's to promote education.

    If a person doesn't know they are making a mistake, they will continue to do so. There is never, ever anything wrong with learning.
     
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