Words Essay, Research Paper


the ones we continuously

misuse and confuse

Luke Bobek

Final Paper



Why write a paper on some obscure and complicated subject that you won?t remember what you wrote two days after you turn the paper in? All that time on the computer and in the library finding information on something you are interested in only because of a grade. Then say you put in fifteen hours in on a paper and you get a C, you feel like you wasted your time. Well, I?ve decided to write this paper on something that really caught my attention, something I that really interested me. While I was researching my previous topic for this paper, Language in Advertising and the Psychology Behind It, I came across a web site dedicated to commonly confused words. After reading a few I felt really stupid because I didn?t know the difference between a number of the sets of words. I then went on a hunt for other sites that featured commonly confused words, and I found a ton. I decided to ditch the old topic and write the paper on commonly confused words. It subject relates to the course and intrigues me. I?ve compiled a list of the most commonly confused words which starts on the next page.

1) Affect / Effect

Affect is a verb meaning ? to influence or change.?

Effect is usually a noun meaning ? result.? (3)

2) Accuracy / Precision

Accuracy is the agreement between the true value and the result obtained by the measurement.

Precision is the agreement among repeated measurements of the same quantity. (1)

3) Alright / All right

Alright is not a word.

All right is two words. (1)

4) Allusion / Illusion

Allusion is a noun that means an indirect response.

Illusion is a noun that means a misconception. (4)

5) Amusement Park / Theme Park

An amusement park is where people go to have fun with food, rides, and shows.

A theme park is an amusement park with a theme, a subject that everything in the park has in common. (4)

6) Alternate / Alternative

Alternate is to occur in successive turns; first one, then the other.

Alternative means substitute or second choice. (1)

7) Assure / Insure / Ensure

Assure means to convince or to guarantee.

Ensure means to make certain or make sure.

Insure means to guard against loss.

* Assure and ensure are often used interchangeably, yet they have to different meanings. You assure someone that something has been done. You ensure that something has been done. (1)

8) Besides / Beside

Besides is an adverb that mean also.

Beside is a preposition that means next to. (2)

9) Bimonthly / Semimonthly

Bimonthly is an adjective that means every two months.

Semimonthly means twice a month. (2)

10) Cement / Concrete

Cement is the powder in the bag that is used to make concrete. (1)

Concrete is the substance made from cement, water, sand and gravel.

11) Cite / Site

Cite is a verb that means to quote as an authority or example.

Site is a noun meaning location. (2)

12) Cologne / Perfume

Cologne is a scented liquid made from alcohol and fragrant oils.

Perfume is a quickly evaporating scented oil either obtained from flowers or manmade. (1)

13) Complement / Compliment

Complement is a noun or verb that means something that completes or makes up a whole.

Compliment is a noun or verb that means an expression of praise or admiration. (3)

14) Connote / Denote

Connote is a verb that means to imply or suggest.

Denote is a verb that means to indicate or refer to specifically. (4)

15) Continual / Continuous

Continual means to be repeated regularly and frequently. (3)

Continuous means to be extended or prolonged without interruption.

16) Dinner / Supper

A dinner is always the main meal of the day, whether it is eaten at noon or in the evening.

A supper is eaten only in the evening whether it is a large or small meal. (4)

17) Discreet / Discrete

Discreet means prudent, circumspect, or modest.

Discrete means separately or individually distinct. (4)

18) Disinterested / Uninterested

Disinterested means unbiased or impartial.

Uninterested means not interested or indifferent. (3)

19) Dough / Batter

Dough is a thick mixture of flour, liquid, and other ingredients that is usually rolled or shaped into bread and other baked goods.

Batter is a thinner mixture than dough and is made of flour and liquid. (4)

20) Envy / Jealousy

Envy is the desire to have something that another person has and the feelings of resentment or unhappiness at the person?s having it.

Jealousy is like envy but includes suspicion and competition. (2)

21) Elicit / Illicit

Elicit is a verb meaning to bring out or evoke.

Illicit is an adjective meaning unlawful. (3)

22) Eminent / Imminent

Eminent means outstanding or distinguished.

Imminent means expressed directly or clearly defined. (3)

23) Explicit / Implicit

Explicit means expressed directly or clearly defined.

Implicit means implied, unstated. (3)

24) Farther / Further

Farther is an adjective and adverb that means to or at a more distant point.

Further means to or at a greater extent or degree, also in addition or moreover. (1)

25) Figuratively / Literally

Figuratively means metaphorically or symbolically.

Literally means word for word or according to the exact meaning of words. (4)

26) Flack / Flak

Flack is a pejorative word for someone engaged in public relations.

Flak is anti-aircraft fire. (1)

27) Flair / Flare

A flare is a bright light.

Flair has come to mean a talent, aptitude or knack. (1)

28) Imply / Infer

Imply means to suggest or state indirectly.

Infer means to draw a conclusion. (3)

29) Information / Knowledge

Information is a known fact about something or someone.

Knowledge means having information and understanding it through experience. (4)

30) Loath / Loathe

Loath is reluctant.

Loathe means to despise. (1)

31) Melody / Tune

A melody is a group of notes in a certain order that results in a sweet agreeable sound.

A tune is an easily remembered melody. (4)

32) Peak / Pique

A peak is the highest point of something.

Pique is resentment or arousal or provocation. (2)

33) Part / Portion

A part is something that has been divided, when all parts are put together , they equal a whole.

A portion is a share or part used or given in a specific way. (4)

34) Passport / Visa

A passport is a document, usually a booklet, that states a person?s official identity and citizenship and allows that person to visit another country.

A visa is stamped on a passport. It shows that the passport has been examined by officials of a country and permits enter into that country. (4)

35) Soap / Detergent

Soap is a cleansing agent that comes from natural fats and oils.

Detergent is a cleansing agent that is usually made from synthetic, or manmade products. (4)

When we talk about the hidden meanings that words can have an they emotions they bring out, I think we have to stop and ask ourselves if we really know what the word was intended to mean. We have to re-educate ourselves of the basics before we can dig ant deeper. After doing the research and pulling all of this together I realized how ignorant I was to some words, everyday words that everyone should know. The basics are complicated, is it worth it do dig deeper and deeper searching for some crazy connection between things and words and life? I don?t know. All I know is communication seems pretty easy until you learn more and more, then you feel like an idiot for not knowing then what you know now and wonder if other people knew then what you know now.



* Definitions have numbers at the end of each definition to acknowledge the proper source. The numbers are 1,2,3, and 4- as above.


) www.pnl.gov/ag/usage/confuse.html

2) www.copydesk.org/editorsink/c.htm

3) www.academics.smcvt.edu/writingctr/commonly.htm

4) www.kids.infoplease.lycos.com

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