15 Commonly Confused Words

This was spotted today at our local coffee shop.

Premises is used for a single house or location, and premise is used as a term in logic, meaning something assumed or taken as a given. Premise is not the singular form of premises.

Many English words look or sound alike but have very different meanings, such as premise and premises. Often spell checkers can’t really help and it’s easy to get them confused.

Here are 15 pairs of words that cause people problems taken from a bigger Oxford Dectionaries list

Word 1
Word 2
acceptto agree to receive or doexceptnot including
advicerecommendations about what to doadviseto recommend something
affectto change or make a difference toeffecta result; to bring about a result
all togetherall in one place, all at oncealtogethercompletely; on the whole
barenaked; to uncoverbearto carry; to put up with
complementto add to so as to improve; an addition that improves somethingcomplimentto praise or express approval; an admiring remark
deserta waterless, empty area; to abandon someonedessertthe sweet course of a meal
disinterestedimpartialuninterestednot interested
elicitto draw out a reply or reactionillicitnot allowed by law or rules
implyto suggest indirectlyinferto draw a conclusion
looseto unfasten; to set freeloseto be deprived of; to be unable to find
practicethe use of an idea or method; the work or business of a doctor, dentist, etc.practiseto do something repeatedly to gain skill; to do something regularly
premisea term in logic meaning something assumed or taken as given in making an argumentpremisesa single house or other piece of property
principalmost important; the head of a schoolprinciplea fundamental rule or belief
stationarynot movingstationerywriting materials

Here’s a great page with even more, including ‘everyday’ and ‘every day’ :)

“Everyday” is a perfectly good adjective, as in “I’m most comfortable in my everyday clothes.” The problem comes when people turn the adverbial phrase “every day” into a single word. It is incorrect to write “I take a shower everyday.” It should be “I take a shower every day.”

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