09 Mar Commonly Confused Words
The English language has many homophones – that is, words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings.
Here’s a guide to some of the most commonly confused words and phrases….and remember, spell-check won’t pick them up if they are used incorrectly as both spellings are correct!
Affect is a verb meaning to have an influence on or to change (can also mean to pretend).
Effect is a noun meaning an outcome or a result.
- Did the hot weather affect you when you were on holidays?
- What effect did the hot weather have on you?
Principal is a noun meaning main or first in order of importance. It can refer to a person or entity.
Principle is also a noun meaning a fundamental truth or theory.
- The principal reason you do well in exams is because you study hard.
- The teacher explained the principles of physics in today’s class.
Stationery is a noun.
Stationary is an adjective.
- Can someone please put in a new stationery order?
- The train didn’t move from the platform, it remained stationary for 15 minutes.
Enquiry and Inquiry are both nouns. However, enquiry refers to a question, whereas inquiry refers to an investigation.
- Every day our business receives many telephone enquiries.
- The police are conducting an inquiry into a notorious murder committed recently.
Dependent is an adjective meaning contingent on or determined by.
Dependant is a noun meaning a person who relies on another for financial support.
- Whether we go on holidays is dependent on how much money we have saved this year.
- Paul is the only member of his family who has a job; he has many dependants.
This is just a small sample of some commonly confused words. If you have seen or read any other words that have more than one spelling and different meanings, get in touch!