A list of words that are often confused, complied by Writer’s Relief author submission service.
Than or Then: than is used to compare two or more things; then is used for subsequence.
Example: I am much taller than you. I walked to the store, then to the park.
Allude or Refer: allude is bringing something up indirectly; refer is to mention it directly.
Example: They alluded to the fact that she was in the hotel. She referred to her degree to prove that she had experience.
Anxious or Eager: anxious implies unease or tension; eager refers to happy anticipation.
Example: I was a little anxious about going to a different school. The kids were eager to go on vacation.
Negligent or Negligible: negligent means you’ve failed to do something you should’ve done; negligible means it’s small or unimportant, with no consequence.
Example: The negligent housekeeper left dust under the dresser. The effect was negligible.
Breach or Breech: breach is a violation of a law, obligation, or standard; breech can mean backside, part of a firearm.
Example: The company sued her for breach of contract. Her children were born breech.
Retch or Wretch: retch is to vomit or try to vomit; wretch is an unfortunate person.
Example: He retched continuously after the previous night’s heavy drinking. The old wretch tried to bring down the spirits of everyone around him.
Disapprove or Disprove: disapprove is to have an unfavorable opinion of; disprove means to prove to be invalid, false, or in error.
Example: My mother disapproved of my new friends. The defendant disproved the judge’s decision.
Enviable or Envious: something enviable is desirable; someone who is envious is jealous.
Example: The lifestyle celebrities lead is enviable. She set him up because she was envious of his wife.
Hoard or Horde: a hoard is a stowed-away supply or cache; a horde is a swarm or large group or crowd.
Example: The squirrel was hoarding food in its cheeks. The show was canceled because the horde was uncontrollable.
Lama or Llama: a Lama is a priest; a llama is an animal related to the camel.
Example: We were excited to meet the Dalai Lama. We saw several llamas on the safari.