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Confusing Words

Passed or Past

Average: 3.9 (13 votes)

There is often confusion over the words ‘passed’ and ‘past’.

Passed

The word 'passed' is the past simple of the verb pass or the past participle of the verb:

She passed the exam with distinction. Pass = to be successful in a test
The secretary passed the message to me. Pass = hand over (give)
We'd passed the shop 5 times before we saw it.  Pass = to move past

Should, Ought to, Need

Average: 3.9 (14 votes)

Should Ought to

For giving advice or expressing a conclusion 'should' and 'ought to' are interchangeable. They are used to express the same ideas.

You should/ought to stop smoking.
He has been working on the project all week. He should/ought to be ready by this evening.

Should is also used in hypothetical situations:
Should anyone call, take a message.
Call me should you need any help.

Whatever Whenever Wherever Whichever Whoever

Average: 3.7 (13 votes)

Here is a brief explanation of how 'whatever', 'whenever', 'wherever', 'whichever' and 'whoever' are used:

Whatever

Whatever = anything or everything; regardless of what, (many things can happen but):
Whatever you do, don’t forget to buy the drinks for dinner tonight.
Ignore David, whatever he says. He's just a joker.

Whenever

Whenever = every time; at any time; when is not important:
Whenever I plan a barbeque it rains.
Peter interrupts me whenever I speak.

So or neither

Average: 4.2 (13 votes)

So and neither are used to show agreement or disagreement with a statement made by another person or concerning another person.

So

So is used to agree with a statement which is affirmative.
John: 'I like pizza.'
Peter: 'So do I.'

Here are some examples. Notice that if an auxiliary verb is used in the statement it matches in the agreeing reply.

There, Their and They’re

Average: 4.1 (15 votes)

It is common for learners of English to confuse 'there', 'their' and 'they're' especially since they all have the same sound when being pronounced. Here is an explanation of each one:

There

'There' has the opposite meaning of 'here'. It is used to mean 'not a place close to' the speaker.
Have you seen mu glasses?
Yes, over 'there', on the table.

I'm driving to work. I'll call you when I get 'there'.

Already, still, always and yet

Average: 4.4 (14 votes)

Already

Already is used to talk about something that has happened earlier than expected or earlier than it might/should have happened.

Don't forget you need to send an e-mail to Chris.
Thanks for reminding me but I’ve already sent it.

Still

Still is used to refer to a situation that is continuing.

For, during and while

Average: 4.3 (14 votes)

For, during and while are used in time expressions.

For

For is a time expression followed by a length of time – for an hour.

Examples with for:

I have been waiting for an hour.
Sarah is going to Spain for ten days.
Henry lived in France for five years.

Remember and Remind

Average: 4.6 (11 votes)

The difference in meaning between remember and remind can sometimes cause confusion.

Remember

Remember means to have a memory, to keep a memory. In other words it means 'not to forget'.
Do you remember the name of the book? Yes, but I don't remember the author's name. – ( I do not have the memory)
Remember to feed the cat. (don’t forget)

So and Such

Average: 4.1 (16 votes)

Here is an explanation of the uses of so and such:

So is used before an adjective or an adverb:
so big – so beautifully designed

Such is followed by a or an and is used before an adjective + a singular noun:
such a long time – such an incredible story

Play, Go, Do

Average: 4.4 (19 votes)

When we speak about sports and leisure activities the verbs 'play', 'go' and 'do' are used with different sports and activities.

Play

Play is used with sports that have teams, rules and competitions:
Badminton, baseball, football, golf, rugby and tennis are some examples.
I have been playing tennis for over ten years.
When I was young we played football just outside our house in the street.