There are some words in English that often confuse my clients. Indeed, they are often confusing to native speakers, too. This can mean that these confusing words can be used incorrectly in written and spoken English.

In this blog post I’d like to share 10 confusing words and show you how to use them accurately:

#1: Affect (Verb) / Effect (Noun)

Did the bad weather affect your summer holiday?

What has the effect of high interest rates been on this year’s sales?

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#2:  Borrow/ Lend  

I need to borrow £2,000 from my bank.

My bank has agreed to lend me £2,000.

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#3: Controlled/Inspected

Our machines are controlled by a central computer system.

The cash machines are inspected once a day by our staff.(checked)

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#4: Interested/Interesting

I am interested in homeopathy.

I find homeopathy very interesting.                                                                                                                                                                                             

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#5: Journey (Noun)/Travel (Verb)

Some people have a long journey to work.

Some people have to travel far to get to work.                                                                                                                                                                 

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#6: Raise/Rise  

The Bank of England has raised interest rates.    (‘Raise’ takes an object)

Interest Rates have risen in the last few years. (‘Rise’ does not take an object)

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#7: Receipt/Recipe

How much is this baguette? Can I have a receipt for it?                                                        

I love this bread. How did you make it? Can you give me the recipe?      

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#8: Remember/Remind  

I must remember to take my tennis racket tomorrow.  (I remember)

Could you please remind me to take my tennis racket tomorrow. (You remind me)

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#9: Sensible/Sensitive

Gill always saves a part of her salary every month. She is very sensible.
Gill is very sensitive to any type of criticism.       

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#10. Stationary/Stationery    

I am so sorry I’m late. The traffic was stationary all the way from the airport.                       

We have run out of envelopes and paper. We need to do a stationery order this week.               


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Do you know of other confusing words that you could share here? I hope that I’ve been able to clarify how to use these confusing words correctly.

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