Accept and except
- “Accept” means to receive something, while “except” refers to excluding something.
- I’ll gladly accept the award.
- I like all of the Beatles except Ringo Starr.
Affect and effect
- “Affect” is a verb that means to influence something, while “effect” is a noun referring to the result of something else.
- I am affecting your ability to drive by punching your face.
- The effect of the ice storm was a snow day.
- An “illusion” is something that is not there, similar to a mirage. However, an “allusion” is a reference to something else.
- The oasis in the desert was just an illusion.
- Bryan alluded to the time we ate the cookies in the world.
Alternately and alternatively
- “Alternatively” is another way of saying ‘on the other hand,’ while “alternately” means to change the order of or to rotate something.
- We plan to go to the gym or, alternatively, to the ice cream factory.
- His mood alternates between happy and sad.
Their, there, and they’re
- “Their” is a word that indicates possession, “there” refers to a location, and “they’re” is a contraction of ‘they are.’
- The pot of coffee is over there.
- The girls forgot their jackets at the restaurant.
- They’re so silly.
Complementary and complimentary
- A “compliment” refers to saying something nice, while “complement” refers to how well things interact with each other. Additionally, you may be familiar with a usage of “complement” referring to the number of people required to man a boat or ship.
- You are in a very complimentary mood today.
- The cake and frosting combined to create a delicious, complementary flavor.
Desert and dessert
- A “desert” is an arid expanse of sandy land, while “dessert” is the best part of any meal.
- Would you like some delicious dessert?
- The Saharan Desert is in Africa.
Economic and economical
- “Economic” is an adjective that refers to the economy, while “economical” means financially savvy, prudent, or frugal. Something “economical” is good from a financial standpoint.
- The economic forecast for this month is not good.
- Sarah made an economical purchase when she bought her hybrid car.
Hear and here
- If you are listening to music, you are “hearing” it. Telling someone where you are might result in saying “I’m over here!”
- Did you hear that?
- Joe, come over here!
Than and then
- “Than” is a word used to compare two or more things. “Then” is used to describe the steps of a process, or to refer to time.
- I will go to school then to soccer practice.
- I feel happier than I did yesterday.
You’re and your
- “You’re” is a contraction for ‘you are’, while “your” refers to ownership.
- You’re using too much toothpaste.
- Your car is being towed right now.
Want to learn more about commonly misused words in English? Check out some of the resources included below: