25 Words That English Speakers Often Confuse

English is a notoriously hard language. The spelling is completely crazy and unpredictable. But wait, English is such an easy language. You barely conjugate verbs and you don’t have to decline anything. What!? So is it hard? Is it easy? By and large English is a relatively easy language to pick up quickly and use for basic communication. But, and that’s a big but, if you want to be proficient and really speak fluently, it catches up to the rest of the world’s languages in terms of difficulty pretty quickly. How? Well, English relies on shades of meaning, phrasal verbs, and idioms quite heavily. Furthermore, it is a very widely accented language with everything from Hinglish (Indian English) to Scottish and dozens of dialects in between. In fact, spelling is a challenge for even the most proficient of English speakers. And lets not even get started on punctuation, using commas, or structuring sentences. It quickly turns into an art form more than anything. Oxford comma or no Oxford comma, what is your preference? And that is why today we are going to be diving right into the depths of this phenomenon. These are 25 words that English speakers often confuse.

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less vs fewer

less vs fewerSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Fewer is used when talking about things that can be counted. For example, Mike has fewer water bottles than Rob (not less because you can count water bottles). Less is for things that can’t be counted. Mike has less water than Rob (not fewer because you can’t count waters).


capitol vs capital

capitol vs capitalSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Capital refers to the city while capitol refers to the building. To remember just try to imagine the “o” as being the dome on top of the building.


disinterested vs uninterested

disinterested vs uninterestedSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Disinterested is an adjective that means unbiased while uninterested refers to someone who is not interested.


its vs it's

its vs it'sSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

“It’s” is the contraction of “it is” while “its” indicates possession. People often confuse these because typically an apostrophe indicates possession after a noun.


e.g. vs i.e.

e.g. vs i.e.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

The letters e.g. are a latin abbreviation meaning “etcetera” while i.e. is a latin abbreviation meaning “that is”. If you are giving examples or listing options use e.g. (Mark hates fruit, e.g. bananas, oranges, berries). If you are clarifying something use i.e. (Mark missed school, i.e. he was sick).

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