13 pairs of common English words that confuse even native speakers

No matter what your level is. These words are sometimes confused even by native speakers, says “Lifehacker”.

13 пар распространенных английских слов, которые путают даже носители языка

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1. Lay and lie

It is the jewel of all grammatical errors. And because the words similar in meaning and sound. But there are nuances. To lie means “to lie”, “sit”, “lie down”.

I love to lie down in front of the fire and read — I love to lay by the fireplace with a book.

But lie is the wrong verb in the past tense it turns into a lay.

The town lay in ruins the City lay in ruins.

And this form is written and pronounced as a separate verb to lay. The main value of which is “putting”.

She laid the baby on the bed She put the baby to bed.

In short, the confusion, of course, extreme, but if one times carefully to understand and remember, to avoid mistakes will be much easier.

2. Continual and continuous

These words are called paronyms: they are written almost the same but differ in meaning. Continual apply to repeated actions or events.

I’m sorry, I can’t work with these continual interruptions — I’m Sorry, but I can’t work, I keep interrupting.

But сontinuous is about something that lasts continuously.

He spoke continuously for more than two hours — without stopping, He spoke over two hours.

3. Envy and jealous

The difference between these words, even linguists can’t always explain clearly. Dictionaries say that jealous is primarily about jealousy.

In a moment of jealous frenzy, she cut the sleeves off all his shirts — In a fit of jealousy she cut up his shirts.

But the word has a second meaning: “a shame due to the fact that someone has what would you do”. In other words, envy. Just as “envy” and translates the second word, envy.

He had always been very jealous of his brother’s success — He has always envied the success of his brother.

Some of his colleagues envy the enormous wealth that he has amassed — Some colleagues are jealous of his impressive wealth.

So what’s the difference? Linguists recognize that, if we are talking about envy, not jealousy, the differences are virtually erased and these two words can be considered synonyms. Although I jealous meant a more serious, scary and dramatic degree of envy.

4. Fewer and less

Less is used when we talk about something abstract and uncountable or not mentioned the exact number.

I eat less chocolate and fewer biscuits than I used to — I eat less chocolates and cookies than usual.

We must try to spend less money — We should try to spend less money.

Few and fewer also can be safely used where talking about specific numbers or something that can be accurately calculated.

Fewer than 3,500 tigers are left in the wild today In the wild today live not more than three and a half thousand tigers.

We received far fewer complaints than expected — We received far fewer complaints than expected.

5. Disinterested and uninterested

It seems that both of the prefixes — dis- and un — denote negation. And if so, then the value of the words are the same. But no. Disinterested translates as “impartial”.

A disinterested observer/judgment — an impartial observer/judge.

If the question of disinterest and indifference, would be more correct to use the variant uninterested.

He’s completely uninterested in sports — He is completely indifferent to the sport.

However, not all linguists in this issue of the single. The compilers of the Merriam‑Webster dictionary, for example, believe that these words can be synonyms.

6. Anxious and excited

In Russian language the word “worry” can be used not only in the negative (“I’m awfully worried about you!”), but in a positive way (“I was so excited when I got your letter!”). Perhaps that is why when we speak English, in similar cases, we are trying to use is anxious. But the word translated as “anxious, worried, nervous.”

It’s natural that you should feel anxious when you first leave home to be excited when you first leave home, — quite naturally.

If you are happy to see friends, to tell them that you are anxious to see them, would be wrong. Here is more appropriate excited (excited). By the way, the word anxious is also appropriate, if we can’t wait to do something or are we on to something hard.

I’m anxious to get home to open my presents — I can’t wait to come home and open gifts.

7. Affect and effect

To cope with this dilemma, it is possible to use a simple tooltip. Affect almost always a verb, effect — noun. Affect can be translated as “to influence, to cause, to lead to something”.

Factors that affect sleep include stress and many medical conditions — Causes that affect sleep include stress and various diseases.

Effect is actually the effect or the result of some processes or events.

I’m suffering from the effects of too little sleep — I suffer from the effects of lack of sleep.

8. Among and between

The words are similar in meaning, but not synonymous. Between is translated as “between”.

A narrow path runs between the two houses — Between the two houses runs the narrow trail.

The shop is closed for lunch between 12.30 and 1.30 Shop is closed for lunch with the first half in the second half.

Amopg rather means “among”, “one”.

The decision will not be popular among students — the students (i.e. “students”) is a popular solution will not be used.

She divided the cake among the children — She divided the cake between the children.

When talking about specific people or objects appropriate to speak between, and if a vague or generalized — among.

9. Assure and ensure

It is clear that in both cases we are talking about faith, confidence or assurances. But as the words sound and are spelled almost alike, they are easy to confuse. And here it is important to remember that assure is used when we want someone, something to reassure or convince.

She assured them that she would be all right — She assured them that she will be okay.

But ensure it is appropriate to use when we want something to be sure.

Please ensure that all examination papers have your name at the top — Please make sure that your test papers signed.

10. Then and than

To confuse these words is easy, but it is better not to do it, because then the sentence will lose meaning. Only one letter — and what is the difference in value! Then — an adverb that is translated as “then” and “then”.

She trained as a teacher and then became a lawyer — She was a teacher, then became a lawyer.

Than the excuse he used for comparison.

It cost less than I expected — It cost less than I thought.

11. Lose and loose

Here, too, to blame almost the same spelling and pronunciation. The word “loser” is perfectly familiar even to those who are not very good at English. So it seems that loseand loose — about setbacks and losses. But it is important to remember that lose means “to lose”, “miss”, “play”.

I hope he doesn’t lose his job — Hope he doesn’t lose his job.

And loose is translated as “relaxed”, “loose”, “loose”.

A loose dress/sweater — a loose dress/sweater.

12. A lot and the lot

Here at all the only difference in the article. But in the English language, even it can significantly change the meaning of the word. Noun lot , together with indefinite article a is translated as “lot”, “a large number”.

I’ve got a lot to do this morning — This morning I have a lot to do.

While the lot is a British colloquial element, which means not just “many” and “all”.

I made enough curry for three people and he ate the lot — I made curry for three, and he ate all alone.

13. Amount and number

Here the story is similar to fewer and less. Both words refer to quantity, but the amount used when talking about something uncertain and incalculable, and number — when we are talking about objects or people you can count.

The project will take a huge amount of time and money this project will require a huge amount of time and money.

A small number of children are educated at home — at Home learning a small number of children.


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