6 Commonly Confused Word Pairs

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6 Commonly Confused Word Pairs

Post  Vincent Law on Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:20 pm

1. advice / advise:
There are differences in grammar and pronunciation for these two words.

A. ADVICE
Meaning: a suggestion or recommendation meant to help someone
Grammar: noun
Pronunciation: the second syllable has an soft /s/ sound
Example: "She gave me some good advice when she told me to study hard."

B. ADVISE
Meaning: to suggest something to someone in order to help them
Grammar: verb
Pronunciation: the second syllable has a hard /z/ sound
Example: "The teacher advised the students to study hard for the final exam."


2. effect / affect:
There are differences in grammar for these two words. When speaking quickly and naturally, these words sound the same, so the position in the sentence (subject, verb, object) is important.

A. EFFECT
Meaning: the result or influence of something
Grammar: noun
Pronunciation: when speaking slowly, the first syllable has an /i/ sound (as in teeth), but when speaking quickly and naturally, the first syllable has a schwa sound (as in the) because it is unstressed
Example: "Turning up the volume had no effect on the sleepy students."

B. AFFECT
Meaning: to influence or produce an effect on
Grammar: verb
Pronunciation: when speaking slowly, the first syllable has an /ae/ sound (as in cat), but when speaking quickly and naturally, the first syllable has a schwa sound (as in the) because it is unstressed
Example: "This medicine might affect your driving because it causes drowsiness."


3. accept / except:
There are differences in grammar and meaning for these two words, but they sound very similar.

A. ACCEPT
Meaning: to receive something willingly or approve of something or someone
Grammar: verb
Pronunciation: the first syllable has an /ae/ sound (as in cat), but when speaking very quickly, the schwa sound (as in the) is produced because the vowel is unstressed
Example: "He accepted the invitation and was looking forward to the party."

B. EXCEPT

Meaning: with the exclusion of something or someone
Grammar: preposition
Pronunciation: when speaking slowly, the first syllable has an /E/ sound (as in get), but when speaking quickly and naturally, the first syllable has a schwa sound (as in the) because it is unstressed
Example: "I finished all my homework except for my difficult math assignment."


4. especially / specially:
There are differences in pronunciation for these two words. The grammar is the same and the meanings are similar, so make sure to point out to your students that “specially” is not common, and they will almost always use “especially.”

A. ESPECIALLY
Meaning: in particular, to emphasize something
Grammar: adverb
Pronunciation: there are four syllables, and the first syllable has a schwa sound (as in the)
Example: "I hate all vegetables, especially broccoli."

B. SPECIALLY
Meaning: in a special way
Grammar: adverb
Pronunciation: there are only three syllables, and this word does not begin with a schwa sound
Example: "She is popular because she treats her friends specially."


5. immigrate / emigrate:

There are differences in pronunciation for these two words. The grammar is the same and the meanings are similar, so make sure to point out to your students that “emigrate” is not common, and they will almost always use “immigrate.”

A. IMMIGRATE
Meaning: to move to another country
Grammar: verb
Pronunciation: the first syllable has a /I/ (uppercase i, not lowercase L) sound (as in hit)
Example: "He immigrated to Canada last year when his dad got transferred."

B. EMIGRATE

Meaning: to move from another country
Grammar: verb
Pronunciation: the first syllable has a /E/ sound (as in get)
Example: "They emigrated from Brazil in 2010, and they miss the warm weather."


6. custom / customs:
There are important differences in meaning for these two words. Make sure you point out that meaning A becomes “customs” in the plural, and takes a plural verb, but meaning B is always singular, and takes a singular verb.

A. CUSTOM
Meaning: tradition
Grammar: noun
Pronunciation: no /s/ sound at the end of the word in the singular, but /s/ sound at the end of the word in the plural
Example: "Taking your shoes off when you enter someone’s house is a custom in my country." (Another example: Certain customs were followed. Note the plural verb.)

B. CUSTOMS
Meaning: when entering another country, the place where you show your passport and declare your goods
Grammar: noun
Pronunciation: /s/ sound is always at the end of the word
Example: "I always get nervous when I go through customs at the airport." (Another example: Customs was intimidating. Note the singular verb.


http://4thjuniorhighenglishclass.blogspot.fr/2013/10/6-commonly-confused-word-pairs.html
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Vincent Law
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