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CONFUSING WORDS IN ENGLISH

Confusing Words In English...

1. affect / effect
These two words have specialized meanings in psychology, but in ordinary speech and writing, affect is most often used as a verb meaning "to act on or to cause a change" and effect as a noun meaning "a change that is the result of some action":

How will the move to New Orleans affect the family? (verb)
What is the effect of this move on the children? (noun)

Note: Effect can also be used as a verb meaning "to cause" or "to bring about":

The new mayor has effected positive change in the police department.

2. advice / advise
The error with this pair results from mispronunciation and failure to distinguish between a noun and a verb. The c in advice is pronounced with the sound of /s/. The s in advise is pronounced with he sound of /z/.

Advice is a noun meaning "recommendation regarding a decision." Advise is a verb meaning "to recommend":

She always gives me good advice. (noun)
What do you advise me to do? (verb)

3. aisle / isle
Both words are nouns. An aisle is a passageway between rows of seats, shelves, or other fixtures or obstacles that people need to move between. An isle is an island:

You'll find the children in the toy aisle.
Robinson Crusoe was stranded on a desert isle.
I want a modern kitchen with a work isle in the middle.

4. adverse / averse
Both words are adjectives that imply a form of opposition. Something that acts against one's interests or well-being is adverse. The word averse describes feelings of repugnance towards something:

The jury delivered an adverse verdict against the defendant.
Ferris Bueller was averse to attending school that morning.

5. amoral / immoral
Morals and morality relate to considerations of right or wrong. For anyone who has internalized a code of moral behavior, acting against it is immoral.

For example, Macbeth acknowledges that it is wrong for a host to kill his guest, but he and his wife do it anyway. Their murder of Duncan is immoral. When the sharks in Jaws kill people, their behavior is amoral. They don't feel that it's wrong to kill a human being. Here are two examples of current uses of amoral:

Nature is amoral. Nature is neither good nor bad. It just is.

Mr. David Coleman once said that no one really cares about what a student thinks and feels. What is important is writing and reading information text. Thus, the Common Core is an amoral curriculum.

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