confusing-words-spotlightWhen I wrote Part 1 of this blog post a few weeks ago, I received some lovely comments from teachers and students alike who also shared other confusing words to  English language learners.

I’d like to share those words and add a few more of these confusing words to the list.


1. Compliment v Complement 

Complement v compliment

2. Learn v Teach

I love to learn new English expressions.                                                                                   My father likes to teach me how to make wooden cars.

3. Fun v Funny

Fun vs Funny


4. Intelligent v Intellectual      

Tom is a very intelligent boy. (clever)                                                                                     Tom has the intellectual capacity of a seventeen-year-old. (ability to think in an intelligent way)

5. Immigrant v Emigrant    

At the beginning of the 19th century, the United States welcomed thousands of immigrants into the country. (people who arrive in a new country to live there permanently)                                                                                                                     There are more emigrants than immigrants in this country. (people who leave their country permanently)

6. Lose (verb) v Loose (Adjective)

I am always losing my car keys.                                                                                              I have lost a lot of weight. This skirt is really loose.

7. Advice (noun) v Advise (verb) (British English)

Blog_advice v advise

8. Briefly v Shortly

The chairman spoke briefly at the beginning of the conference. (for a short time)                  Good Morning. The chairman will open the conference shortly. (in a few minutes)

9. Principal (noun + adjective) v Principle (noun)

The School Principal has given the pupils permission to go out today. (Head of the school)  Our company has very high principles. (values)                                                                    The principal issue we have here is that this project will not finish on time. (the most important)

10. Lie v Lay (Present Tense)

I was so tired that I had to lie down for 30 minutes. (No direct object)                                   The baby is tired so I shall lay her down for her nap. (Direct Object = baby)

Blog_Lie v Lay

Thank you so much to my fellow teachers who shared these confusing words with me on the comments page.

If you can think of other confusing words (there are many more!), please share them with me. I’m sure there will be a Part 3 of this blog post at some point in the future.

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Ciao for now