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- accept vs except
Accept is a verb, which means to agree to take something.
For example: "I always accept good advice."
Except is usually used as a preposition or conjunction, which means not including.
For example: "I teach every day except Sunday(s)."
!Note - except is usually a preposition and accept a verb. In rare circumstances except can be used as a verb.
For example: On a road sign: "No entry, buses excepted."
- advice vs advise
For example: "I need someone to give me some advice."
Advise is a verb, which means to give information and suggest types of action.
For example: "I advise everybody to be nice to their teacher."
!Note - In British English the noun form often ends in ...ice and the verb in ...ise.
- affect vs effect
Affect and effect are two words that are commonly confused.
affect is usually a verb (action) - effect is usually a noun (thing)
Hint: If it's something you're going to do, use "affect." If it's something you've already done, use "effect."
To affect something or someone.
Meaning: to influence, act upon, or change something or someone.
For example: The noise outside affected my performance.
To have an effect on something or someone
!Note: effect is followed by the preposition on and preceded by an article (an, the)
Meaning: to have an impact on something or someone.
For example: His smile had a strange effect on me.
!Effect can also mean "the end result".
For example: The drug has many adverse side effects.
- a lot / alot / allot
A lot, meaning a large amount or number of people or things, can be used to modify a noun.
For example:- "I need a lot of time to develop this web site."
It can also be used as an adverb, meaning very much or very often.
For example:- "I look a lot like my sister."
It has become a common term in speech; and is increasingly used in writing.
Allot is a verb, which means to give (especially a share of something) for a particular purpose:-
For example: "We were allotted a desk each."
!Note - Alot does not exist! There is no such word in the English language. If you write it this way - imagine me shouting at you - "No Such Word!"
- all ready vs already
All ready means "completely ready".
For example: "Are you all ready for the test?"
Already is an adverb that means before the present time or earlier than the time expected.
For example: "I asked him to come to the cinema but he'd already seen the film."
"Are you buying Christmas cards already? It's only September!"
- alone / lonely
Alone, can be used as an adjective or adverb. Either use means without other people or on your own.
For example: "He likes living alone."
"I think we're alone now." = There are just the two of us here.
Lonely is an adjective which means you are unhappy because you are not with other people.
For example: "The house feels lonely now that all the children have left home."
!Note - Just because you're alone, doesn't mean you're lonely.
- altogether vs all together
All together(adv) means "together in a single group."
For example: The waiter asked if we were all together.
Altogether(adv) means "completely" or "in total ".
For example: She wrote less and less often, and eventually she stopped altogether.
!Note To be in the altogether is an old-fashioned term for being naked!
- ambivalent vs indifferent
Ambivalent is an adjective we use to show when we're uncertain about how we feel about something or we're unable to decide what to do. People sometimes use it to show that they don't care one way or the other.
For example: " At the end of two sessions she was ambivalent about making another appointment."
Indifferent is an adjective, which means not interested or not thinking about something or someone.
For example: "She found it very hard to teach a class of indifferent teenagers."
- any vs some
Any and some are both determiners. They are used to talk about indefinite quantities or numbers, when the exact quantity or number is not important. As a general rule we use some for positive statements, and any for questions and negative statements,
For example:- I asked the barman if he could get me some sparkling water. I said, "Excuse me, have you got any sparkling water?" Unfortunately they didn't have any.
!Note - You will sometimes see some in questions and any in positive statements. When making an offer, or a request, in order to encourage the person we are speaking to to say "Yes", you can use some in a question:
For example: Would you mind fetching some gummy bears while you're at the shops?
You can also use any in a positive statement if it comes after a word whose meaning is negative or limiting:
For example:- A. She gave me some bad advice.
B. Really? She rarely gives any bad advice.
- any one vs anyone
Any one means any single person or thing out of a group of people or things.
For example:- I can recommend any one of the books on this site.
Anyone means any person. It's always written as one word.
For example:- Did anyone see that UFO?
- apart vs a part
Apart (adv) separated by distance or time.
For example: I always feel so lonely when we're apart.
A part(noun) a piece of something that forms the whole of something.
For example: They made me feel like I was a part of the family.
- been vs gone
been is the past participle of be
gone is the past participle of go
Been can be used to describe completed journeys. So if you have been to England twice, you have travelled there and back twice.
For example: I've been to Africa, but I've never been to Asia.
If you have gone to England, you have not yet returned.
For example: I've gone to the bank. I should be back in half an hour.
! Now you've been and gone and done it!
- beside vs besides
beside is a preposition of place that means at the side of or next to.
For example: The house was beside the Thames.
besides is an adverb or preposition. It means in addition to or also.
For example: Besides water, we carried some fruit. = "In addition to water, we carried some fruit."
- bored vs boring
bored is an adjective that describes when someone feels tired and unhappy because something is not interesting or because they have nothing to do.
For example: She was so bored that she fell asleep.
boring is an adjective that means something is not interesting or exciting.
For example: The lesson was so boring that she fell asleep.
!Note Most verbs which express emotions, such as to bore , may use either the present or the past participle as an adjective, but the meaning of the participles is often different.
- borrow vs lend
Meaning: to hand out usually for a certain length of time.
Banks lend money.
Libraries lend books.
For example: "My mother lent me some money, and I must pay her back soon."
Meaning: to take with permission usually for a certain length of time.
You can borrow money from a bank to buy a house or a car.
You can borrow books for up to 4 weeks from libraries in England.
For example: "I borrowed some money off my mother, and I must pay her back soon."
! For a happy life - Never a borrower nor a lender be.