WORDS OFTEN CONFUSED
Of the nearly seven thousand spoken languages, with about two hundred having writing (script), only the English language is spoken all over the world. And one of the reasons for this popularity is the fact that English is a living language, i.e. it accepts any word from any other language that comes into it, unlike some languages such as Old Latin, Sanskrit. (For an informative article on languages, please click here. For more on writing/script, please click here.)
As there are so many thousands of words – original and adapted – there is always a scope for some confusion; and to add to this, English is one of those languages whose words are pronounced not by the spelling but by the origin and the period of origin of the words.
The best example can be the word ‘talk’ which has the letter “L” in writing but does not have the sound of it in its pronunciation. And in some cases, a letter (or letters) in one word is pronounced with one sound and the same letter sounds different in another. For example, ‘ch’ in bench is pronounced as in ‘church’ because it is from Anglo-Saxon language “benc”, but the same ‘ch’ in stomach is pronounced with a ‘K’ sound as in ‘walk’ because it is from Greek language “stomachos”, and in Greek ‘ch’ has the ‘K’ sound.
In addition, some ‘words’ fall into certain groups called homograph, homonym, homophone, and synonym, antonym, and so on. Though we need not worry about all the groups and the names of those groups at this level, we do need to know the words or the pairs of words that give us some difficulty in speaking, writing or understanding the English language.
[Homograph is a word that is spelt like another word but has a different meaning from it, and may have a different pronunciation, e.g. bow – bow; homonym is a word that is spelt like another word and may be pronounced like it but which has a different meaning, e.g. can = (verb) ‘be able’, ‘to put something in a box-like container’, and (noun) “a container to put something in’ , and homophone is a word that is pronounced like another word but has different spelling or meaning, e.g. some – sum.]
And we all know that the speakers with the right words at the right time make a strong and long-lasting impression on their listeners!
We have to remember that ‘a major step towards fluency in English is getting to know plenty of exact words!
So the purpose of compiling this part is to make the learners aware of the pairs of words that cause some difficulty in speaking, writing and understanding the English language!
The pairs (sets) of words are given in alphabetical order so that we can refer to them easily, and can go on adding new pairs (sets) whenever we come across them in our day-to-day English language practice.
To go to the pairs or sets of Words Often Confused, please click on the letter of alphabet of your choice: