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Confusing Words

Beside and Besides

Average: 4.5 (17 votes)

Sometimes beside and besides are confused especially with writing.

Beside

The word beside is a preposition. It means close to or next to.
Come and sit beside me.
He lives beside a Turkish take away.

Advice and Advise

Average: 4.8 (9 votes)

Advice and advise are normally confused. 'Advice' is a noun and it means 'a suggestion' or 'a beneficial course of action'. Advice is a non-count word so it has no plural and can't be used with the indefinite article:

Parents give good advice. NOT Parents give good advices.
He gave me a good piece of advice. NOT He gave me a good advice.

'Advise' is a verb and it means 'to give advice'

Advise (verb)

If you ask me, I'd advise you to take the job offer.
You are lucky if you have friends to advise you.

 

Accept and Except

Average: 4.4 (15 votes)

There is often confusion over the two words ‘accept’ and ‘except’. Although they sound similar the meanings are very different.

 

Accept

Accept is a verb that has quite a few meanings:
To believe something is true.
I accept your point and I have to agree with you there.
I accept that you may have been tired but it’s no excuse to fall asleep in front of our clients.

To receive something
I accept your invitation.
They do not accept dogs in that restaurant.

Linking Words

Average: 4 (24 votes)

Linking words in English are words that are used to combine or link sentences, two statements presenting contrast, comparison, condition, supposition, purpose, etc. Here are some examples of some linking words.

As long as
provided (that)
providing

You can take my car as long as/provided (that)/providing
you don't damage it.
(I will lend you my car on condition that you don't damage it.)

A lot of, Much, Many

Average: 4.4 (18 votes)

Here is an overview of the use of the quantifiers a lot of, much and many.

A lot of

A lot of’ can be used in all sentences; affirmative, negative and interrogative.

We made a lot of mistakes during our first test.
I don't have a lot of friends who live next to me.
Did you do a lot of shopping in London?

Passed or Past

Average: 3.9 (14 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: 3.7 (15 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 (14 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 (16 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'.