13 Sets of Words Commonly Confused and Misused


When in doubt, consult Merriam. MS Word is just one click away and if you're using a Mac, then open up Pages. Both applications have thesaurus. Why not look it up?

1. Loose and Lose
I always see this in professional/business emails. They always use the former when what they mean is  the latter. To explain the differences in an Idiot's-Guide-To-Homonyms kind of way:
  • Loose - meaning it's not tight
  • Lose - the present tense of lost
2. Break and Brake
To borrow the notes from www.dictionary.com :
"to brake  is to slow or stop while break  is to cause to separate into pieces suddenly or violently, smash or crack"

3. Hills and Heels
I actually have friends who misuse these  two words.  My dear friends, to clarify the difference between these two, I will use them in a sentence.
  • My heels are cracked due to the lack of moisture.
  • Her Jimmy Choo heels look too big for her.
  • The view of my villa is facing the forest and some hills.
  • "The hills are alive with the sound of music." (Think of Julie Andrews if it will help.)
  • Heels is to feet as to hills is to landform.

4. Bear and Bare
  • I can't bare it! --> WRONG! Use bear.
  • Bare means no covering while bear means to carry or referring to Winnie the Pooh Bear. 

5. It's and Its
People often don't use these words correctly. You see it in blogs, text messages and even books! The apostrophe makes a lot of difference.
  • "It's" is the short form of "It is".
  • "Its" is the possessive form of "It".
  • Sample 1: "It's a beautiful day!"
  • Sample 2: "One of its component is alkaline."

6. Your and You're
I'm guilty with this one. It usually happens when I don't edit my email or my tweets. I always cringe when I see my mistake.
  • WRONG: "Your so beautiful to me."
  • WRONG: "You're wedding dress is perfect!"
  • You're is the contraction of "You are" while Your is the possessive form of You.

7. Muscles and Mussels
To a friend who will remain unnamed: In a restaurant, you eat Baked Mussels not Baked Muscles. Unless you went to a restaurant for cannibals.

8. Desert and Dessert
WRONG: What's for desert? Mango Crepe.
RIGHT: What's for dessert? Mango Crepe.
WRONG: I want to go to the Sahara Dessert.
RIGHT: I want to go to the Sahara Desert.

Segue way: My friend, please don't say your Mango Crepe is so delicious and that it's so creepy. Crepe and Creep is not the same. Think of Thom Yorke when you start singing "I'm a Crepe. I'm a weirdo." It's just not the same.

As for the last five pair of words, I don't see it often misused but it won't hurt to pick up the dictionary or go to www.dictionary.com and learn the difference. Prevention is better than cure. lol!

9. Patience and Patients
10. Peek and Peak
11. Heat and Hit
12. Jeans and Genes
13. Farther and Further

What's your (not you're) Thursday 13? For more Thursday 13, please visit: http://thursday-13.com.


I am Harriet said...

The worst for me is affect and effect. gggrr...hate when people do that

Have a great Thursday!

Janet said...

I can't bare it! --> WRONG! Use bear. <---unless of course we're talking about a woman who doesn't like to show off too much skin in her bathing suit ;-)

AliceAnderson said...

I was taught to remember dessert vs desert because dessert has two Ss and you always want more dessert, right? Chocolate cake anyone?

Anonymous said...

Great list! I just saw #1 on another blog! :)

Forgetfulone said...

seals and sills! What a great list!

Indirah said...

How about whose and who's? :) I remember my training days with this post! Love it! :)

Heather said...

Love love LOVE this post, though I have never seen the heels/hills or heat/hit problems. The one that tends to irritate me a lot is wander/wonder. Oh, and ROFL at the restaurant for canibals. Remind me not to eat there! *g*

Jenny McB said...

Great post, we enjoy finding these errors in the company on-line bulletin bored....sorry couldn't resist that.

Lori said...

Oh, how about there, their and they're?

Anne said...

Thanks for visiting guys! I might have to create a second batch of "confused and misused". Any more suggestions? =)

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