Commonly confused and mixed up words

With spell checkers there is little excuse for spelling mistakes. However, typos that create correctly spelled words (such as there and their) will slip through, which is why proofing documents is essential.

Many words are confused for each other and used incorrectly. Here are some common examples.

Word Commonly confused with
Advice: An instruction or recommendation Advise: To tell, inform, instruct
Accept: To receive; to accommodate Except: Other than
Affect: To change or alter Effect: The result or consequence
Allude: To refer indirectly or casually Elude: To avoid or escape
Allusion: An indirect or casual reference Illusion: A false idea or image
Already: Previously occurred All ready: Completely prepared, ready to go
Alternate: To go back and forth, every second item Alternative: Other
Altogether: Completely, entirely All together: Everyone or everything in total, or in one place
Among / Amongst: Being within more than two things Between: Being within two things
Amoral: Not subject to or lacking moral distinctions Immoral: Violating conscience or public morality
Ante-: A prefix meaning before, in front of Anti-: A prefix meaning against, hostile to
Assume: To suppose, to undertake or receive Presume: To dare
Asterisk: A star shaped symbol, found above the ‘8’ on a standard keyboard (*) Asterix: A comic strip Gaul
Beside: Next to Besides: In addition to, other than, moreover
Brought: Carried in, to bring Bought: Purchased, to buy
Can: Is able to May: Is allowed or permitted to
Choose: Select Chose: The past tense of 'choose'
Climactic: A high point, pinnacle Climatic: The weather
Complement: To complete, to match or make perfect Compliment: To praise
Continually: Repetitively Continuously: Incessantly, never stopping
Desert: To leave, to abandon - a large arid area (the Sahara!) Dessert: Pudding
Discreet: Tactful, prudent Discrete: Distinct, separate to
Dissent: Disagree Descent: To go down
Disinterested: Impartial, objective Uninterested: Lacking interest
Draw: Pull, mark with a pencil Drawer: A receptacle
Emigrate: To depart permanently from a country Immigrate: To relocate permanently to a country
Economic: Relating to the economy Economical: Thifty, not wasteful
e.g.: For example i.e.: That is
Elicit: To bring forth, to draw out a response or information Illicit: Illegal
Ensure: To make certain Insure: To indemnify by contract against loss or harm
Everyday: Normal, ordinary Every day: Happening on a daily basis
Farther: A physical distance Further: In addition, more (time or quantity)
Imply: To suggest or indicate without actually saying so Infer: To deduce from the evidence at hand
Irritate: To cause an new annoyance Aggravate: To increase an existing annoyance
It’s: It is, it has Its: Belonging to it
Less: Not as much Fewer: Not as many
Past: Already happened, previous Passed: Overtook, went by
Personal: Of or by an individual Personnel: workforce
Prescribe: To instruct or order (in writing) Proscribe: To prohibit or advise against
Principal: Leading, chief, most important Principle: A rule, a standard, a guideline
Stationary: Still, unmoving Stationery: Writing materials
Tack: Direction Tact: Subtlety, knowing what is appropriate
There: In or at a place or point Their: Belongs to them
Who's: Who is Whose: Belongs to the person
You're: You are Your: Belongs to you

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