Confusion in Using English Words

Confusion in Using English Words

I note a large number of my students lacking clarity in usage of certain English words. Please remember that when we misspell or use a word wrongly we display the following personality weaknesses, apart from weak written communication skill:

  • Weak attentiveness.
  • Lack of clarity and weak comprehension.
  • Casualness.

I am sure none of you would like to be found wanting in the above stated qualities. I have noted some common  English words in which my students ( a sample of the Indian youth) tend to make mistakes. Please avoid these mistakes.

Advice versus Advise

Advice is a noun, while advise is a verb.  Please do not get confused between them. Examples:

  • Ram advised Arun to work hard.
  • Arun took Ram’s advice

Lead versus Led

Lead can be a noun, verb or adjective. It means : “being in charge” or “being in front”. Examples:

  • Ram is in lead . ( noun).
  • Ram will lead his team. (verb).
  • Ram will play the lead role in the play. ( adjective).

“Led “ is the past tense and the past participle of the verb  “lead “. Example:
Dhoni led Indian Cricket team to victory in the World Cup.

Lose versus Loose

Getting confused between these two spellings is quite common and displays a  casual and inattentive nature of the person getting confused. Lose is a verb that means to suffer a loss or to miss. Loose is an adjective which is the opposite of tight. Examples:

  • If you do not concentrate well you will lose your wicket.
  • This over sized shirt is loose for me.

There versus Their

“There” refers to a place. The word “their” is a plural possessive adjective, which describes something that belongs to “them.” A noun typically follows the word.

  • I left the book there.
  • The students performed well. Their work was appreciated by the teachers.

Stationary versus Stationery

Stationary is an adjective. It means not moving or not capable of being moved. Stationery is a noun. It refers to writing material. Examples:

  • With the help of an anchor the ship could be kept stationary.
  • I will buy a notebook from the stationery shop.

Large Number of English Words which People Confuse

There are a large number of other  English words which people confuse. Please know them well. Some of them are:

  • Except/accept.
  • Then/than.
  • Beside/besides.
  • Compliment/complement.
  • Flair/flare.
  • Affect/effect.


To write and speak effectively and confidently in English you must be absolutely clear about the correct usage and spellings of all such words.

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