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Confusing Words in English - Chapter 1

Updated on March 17, 2012

Confusing Words - Chapter 2:

1. All right vs. Alright

2. All ready vs. Already

3. All together vs. Altogether

4. Although vs. Though vs. Even Though

5. Although vs. While

(To learn the differences, usages, and tips to remember and recognize which one is correct to use in a sentence, click the heading)

Confusing Words In English - Chapter 1:

There are many confusing words in English language which often further confuse some already confused people. And while they are confused, in their confusion, they often confuse other people with their confused confusions. So, to avoid these confusions, and further confusing you; I should cut the crap and present you what I made a 'list of confusing words in English'. This is chapter No.1 and in this chapter, we will discuss:

1. Advice vs. Advise

2. Affect vs. Effect

3. Between vs. Among

4. Loose vs. Lose

5. Principal vs. Principle


One of the most queried confusing words is the difference between ‘advice’ vs. ‘advise’. In fact this one is rather really simple. The difference between ‘advice’ vs. ‘advise’ is:

advice’ is a noun, while ‘advise’ is a verb. You can clearly understand by the following example:


1. Advice: It is always good to take a piece of advice before you proceed on.

2. Advise: The doctor advised me to quit smoking.

In short, if a subject is performing the ‘advice’ (noun), you should use the word ‘advise’ (as a verb)


Affect vs. Effect is another pair of confusing words in English language which often confuse readers and writers simultaneously. If you have cleared yourself with the concept of ‘Advice vs. Advise’, then this one is a piece of cake. Almost the same rule applies that ‘affect’ is a verb i.e. to affect something; to influence.

Here is a little change though. Here ‘effect’ is the consequence or result of that influence. It is usually used as a noun.


1. Affect: Drinking and smoking affects our health in a negative way.

2. Effect: Drinking and smoking have negative effects on our health.

Now that you have learned the difference, do not let this confusing pair of word affect your writing from now on :P


Generally speaking, ‘between’ is used for two people and ‘among’ is used for more than two people.


1. Between: Allie had to choose between Noah and Lon.

2. Among: There may be an enemy among our friends.

Clear enough? Though this one is a general rule, but technically even ‘between’ can be used for more than two things. The rule here is that there should be more than two distinctive things, then between will be used in there.


Between: The differences between French, Arabic, Chinese and Urdu are significant.

4. LOOSE vs. LOSE:

Loose vs. Lose is another pair of confusing word and homophone which troubles many people.Technically speaking, ‘loose’ is an adjective, and ‘lose’ is a verb.

For the sake of clarification and generally speaking about this pair of confusing words, you can easily perceive the concept by understanding that ‘loose’ is an adjective which is the opposite of tight (another adjective) i.e. not fit enough, not tight.

While ‘lose’ is a verb, which means to lose something – to lose possession of something. The following example will further clarify these confusing words.


1. Loose: The screws are too loose to fit in.

2. Lose: Do not lose the keys!


Principal vs. Principle is one of those confusing pair of words and homophones in English language, in which even I get confused sometimes. But now I have come up with a trick, so I do not forget the difference now.

First of all, these two words pronounce exactly the same; the only difference is of the spelling which ultimately brings a difference in meaning. (They are homophones)

Principle: Principle means a rule, an axiom, a doctrine.

Principal: Principal means the head of a school, college or university. (A principal is never any student’s pal. This is how I remember it).

Special Note:

Principal can also be used as an adjective e.g. He has a set of his principal disciplines and rules which he never breaks.(When used as an adjective, it means of the most important). Besides that, principal (as a noun) has many different meanings e.g. it can also be used as a principal amount of money and the interest.


Which pair of confusing words from above chapter, confuses you the most?

See results


The 3rd chapter focuses on words which are different because of the British and American's English differences. The key here is to know which group uses which spelling. The words include:

1. Among vs. Amongst

2. Analyze vs. Analayse

3. Center vs. Centre

4. Organization vs. Organisation

5. Labor vs. Labour

6. Flavor vs. Flavour

7. Honor vs. Honour

8. Color vs. Colour

9. Favor vs. Favour

10. Aeroplane vs. Airplane


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    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I loved the hub, as I am quite OCD about language, spelling, pronunciation and punctuation, but I have a feeling that you have moved on because all of your comments and replies are from two years ago.

    • marwan asmar profile image

      Marwan Asmar 6 years ago from Amman, Jordan

      Life is confusion! The English language confuses, but isn't this what makes it so interesting, keeping on the move of discovery

    • ajayshah2005 profile image

      ajayshah2005 6 years ago from Mid Asia

      Great! I never got time in seeing the dictionary and finding out the meaning of these confusing words. But, you mentioned all of them! Thanks!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Excellent examples! You are better at explaining than I would be and English is my main language! Well done!

    • Hunbbel Meer profile image

      Syed Hunbbel Meer 6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      @Ihchan: It is good to know that my little effort helped you. Thanks for stopping by and for your votes :)

    • Hunbbel Meer profile image

      Syed Hunbbel Meer 6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      @Vinaya: I am glad you enjoyed it :)

    • lhchan profile image

      lhchan 6 years ago

      Vote up, I can clearly understand with the example given. Thanks for the hub.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

      English is my second language, and I'm always eager to learn. Thanks for this useful article.

    • SheliaKay profile image

      SheliaKay 6 years ago from Marietta, Ohio..... but born and raised in Northern Ohio on Lake Erie

      English is my only language, and those words have always confused me. Thanks for the Hub, it's very helpful

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      Your article touches on some common confusions. It will be a big help to lots of people!

    • Hunbbel Meer profile image

      Syed Hunbbel Meer 6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      @Sueswan: You are absolutely spot on my friend - absolutely correct :)

      I am feeling so happy that you got your problem solved because of my little tutorial. Have a blessed day and thanks for the votes :)

    • profile image

      Sueswan 6 years ago

      I get confused with affect and effect.

      Tell me if I have it right now.

      The information you provided has affected my mind in a postive way.

      Your grammar lesson is very effective.

      Voted up and awesome.

    • Hunbbel Meer profile image

      Syed Hunbbel Meer 6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      @Sneha: You are very welcome. I am glad that my little effort proved helpful to you :)

    • Sneha Sunny profile image

      Sneha Sunny 6 years ago from India

      that was really very helpful.... I always get confused at using advice and advise.... Thanks a lot... :-)

    • Hunbbel Meer profile image

      Syed Hunbbel Meer 6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      @Asmaiftikhar: Thank you for stopping by and share your thoughts. More of such hubs are on their way, I hope you'll like them too :)

    • Hunbbel Meer profile image

      Syed Hunbbel Meer 6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      @Paradise7: I am currently a part-time English teacher in a Secondary school :) Thank you for your kind and sweet words :) I always appreciate your comments

    • asmaiftikhar profile image

      asmaiftikhar 6 years ago from Pakistan

      that is interesting hub and full of information.Keep it up

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Terrific! You should teach ESL (English as a Second Language). Your students would benefit from your masterful and interesting ways to expose the bones of the English language.

    • Hunbbel Meer profile image

      Syed Hunbbel Meer 6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      @Carcro: Indeed it is, but I still like English a lot. Although, I am not a native speaker; I am an Asian, but I love to seek information and knowledge about grammar rules etc.

      I am glad you liked my hub :)

    • Hunbbel Meer profile image

      Syed Hunbbel Meer 6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

      @Venzkhvam: Thanks for voting up and liking :)

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      The English language has got to be the most confusing language there is. Fortunately for most of us who speak it, we just kind of run with it. I have definitely gotten them confused at times. Thanks for sharing this useful info!

    • VENZKHVAM profile image

      VENZKHVAM 6 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

      Dear Hunbbel Meer,

      My friend clear me on thing are you some english . Any way as a PRINCIPAL of your new school what ever you had ADVISED AS PRINCIPLE of your school , there is a good EFFECT on me and my confusion BETWEEN AND AMONG the words are clear NOW. I had to LOSE my future class of my daughter and take admission in this school of no CONFUSION. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH NICE DEAR VERY NICE I THOUGH TO WRITE YOU SOME THING FUNNY WITH YOUR WORDS CLEARED TODAY.PLEASE DO WRITE THIS MORE AND WRITE MINIMUM 100 HUBS OK.