Commonly Misused Words

correctinggrammar2An entertaining meme floating around the Internet says, “Sometimes, I use big words I don’t fully understand, in an effort to make myself sound more photosynthesis.”

Most of us try to use vocabulary in the right context, yet everyday words can be easily confused or misinterpreted. Here are examples of commonly misused words:

  • Accept/Except – to accept is to receive, to except is to exclude
  • Affect/Effect – to affect is to have an influence on something, effect is a result
  • Allusion/Illusion – allusion is to reference something, illusion is something that’s misleading
  • Compliment/Complement – to compliment is to praise, complement is to enhance something
  • Farther/Further – farther is physical distance, further is metaphorical distance (Grammar Girl explains the distinction further in this short video:
  • Insure/Ensure – insure refers to insurance policies, ensure means to make certain

Even the most “photosynthesis” among us can confuse these commonly mistaken words!

For a comprehensive list of the most misused words, check out: