Jul 18, 2016

Confusing Words and Homonyms

184 cards
    Because many words in English sound or look alike, frequently causing confusion, this list will be very helpful.

  • a vs. an
    • Rule
      Use a when the first letter of the word following has the sound of a consonant. Keep in mind that some vowels sound like consonants when they’re sounded out as individual letters.


      Examples:
      a finger
      a hotel
      a U-turn (pronounced Yoo-turn)
      a HUD program
      a NASA study
      • Rule
        Use an when the first letter of the word following has the sound of a vowel. Remember that some consonants sound like vowels when they’re spoken as individual letters.


        Examples:
        an FBI case (F is pronounced ef here)
        an honor (H is silent here)
        an unusual idea
        an HMO plan (H is pronounced aych here)
        an NAACP convention (N is pronounced en here)

        Deciding whether to use a or an before abbreviations can be tricky. The abbreviation for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) causes confusion because it can be pronounced as a word (fak), or one letter at a time (F-A-Q).
        Using the guidelines above, one would say a FAQ when it is pronounced as one word, and an FAQ when it is pronounced one letter at a time.

        accept       to agree
        except       but, with the exception that

        ad       advertisement
        add       to perform addition

        ades       fruit drinks
        aides       people who help; assistants
        AIDS       acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
        aids       helps, assists

        adverse       unfortunate; strongly opposed (refers to things, not people)

        Examples:
        an adverse reaction to the medication
        adverse weather conditions

        averse       having repugnance (refers to people)

        Example:
        He is averse to a military draft.
        • advice vs. advise

          advice (noun)       recommendation
          advise (verb)       the act of giving a recommendation
          • affect vs. effect
            • Rule 1
              Use effect when you mean bring about or brought about, cause or caused.


              Example:
              He effected a commotion in the crowd.
              Meaning: He caused a commotion in the crowd.
              • Rule 2
                Use effect when you mean result.


                Example:
                What effect did that speech have?
                • Rule 3
                  Also, use effect whenever any of these words precede it: a, an, the, any, take, into, no. These words may be separated from effect by an adjective.


                  Examples:
                  That book had a long-lasting effect on my thinking.
                  Has the medicine produced any noticeable effects?
                  • Rule 4
                    Use the verb affect when you mean to influence rather than to cause.


                    Example:
                    How do the budget cuts affect your staffing?
                    • Rule 5
                      Affect is used as a noun to mean emotional expression.


                      Example:
                      She showed little affect when told she had won the lottery.

                      ail       to be ill; to cause pain or distress
                      ale       malt beverage more bitter than beer

                      air       what we breathe
                      err       make a mistake
                      heir       one who inherits something

                      aisle       passageway
                      I’ll       contraction for I will
                      isle       a small island

                      all       entire, everything
                      awl       a tool

                      allot       to parcel out
                      a lot       always two words meaning many

                      allowed       gave permission to
                      aloud       said out loud; spoken

                      all ready       means all are ready

                      Example:
                      We are all ready to go.

                      already       refers to time

                      Example:
                      Is it summer already?

                      all together       refers to a group; all of us or all of them together

                      Example:
                      It is wonderful to be all together to celebrate your birthday.

                      altogether       entirely

                      Example:
                      It is not altogether his fault.

                      altar       pedestal, usually religious

                      Example:
                      They exchanged wedding vows at the altar of the church.

                      alter       to modify

                      Example:
                      Please don’t alter your plans until we have the final schedule approved.

                      allude       to refer indirectly

                      Example:
                      He alluded to his past as a spy.

                      elude       avoid capture

                      Example:
                      The fugitive eluded the police for a month.

                      illude       mislead

                      Example:
                      He illuded her about his age.

                      allusion       an indirect mention of something
                      illusion       false perception

                      ambiguous       to have more than one meaning

                      Example:
                      The law was ambiguous.

                      ambivalent       to have mixed feelings

                      Example:
                      She is ambivalent about her wedding dress.

                      amicable       friendly (refers to things, not people)
                      amiable       friendly (refers to people)

                      Example:
                      The amiable couple had an amicable divorce.

                      among       involves three or more

                      Example:
                      Who among us has not lied?
                      between       involves just two

                      Example:
                      She couldn’t decide between Chinese and Thai food.

                      amount       used for things not countable

                      Example:
                      We couldn’t handle that amount of ill will.
                      number       used for things that can be counted

                      Example:
                      The number of accidents increased by ten percent.

                      ant       a bug
                      aunt       the sister of a parent

                      ante       a bet placed before playing
                      auntie       affectionate term for a parent’s sister

                      anxious       to have anxiety or worry

                      Example:
                      She is anxious about taking the test.
                      eager       excited

                      Example:
                      She is eager to get a puppy.

                      any more       something additional or further

                      Example:
                      It didn’t rain any more this year than last year.
                      anymore       any longer, nowadays

                      Example:
                      Harry doesn’t travel anymore.

                      appraise       to put a value on something
                      apprise       to notify

                      arc       arch, crescent, half moon
                      ark       a vessel or a refuge

                      ascent (noun)       movement upward
                      assent (noun or verb)       enthusiastic agreement; to agree
                      consent       agreement

                      assistance (noun)       help
                      assistants (noun)       people who help

                      assumption       an idea not based on evidence
                      presumption       an idea based on evidence

                      assure       to promise or say with confidence
                      ensure       to make sure something will/won’t happen
                      insure       to issue an insurance policy

                      ate       past tense of eat
                      eight       the number after seven

                      aural       having to do with hearing
                      oral       having to do with the mouth

                      averse       (see adverse)

                      awed       in a state of amazement
                      odd       unusual; opposite of even when referring to numbers
                      aye       yes
                      eye       organ one sees with
                      I       pronoun

                      bald       having no hair
                      bawled       cried

                      ball       a sphere
                      bawl       to cry or wail loudly

                      band       a group, sometimes a group of musicians
                      banned       forbidden

                      bare       naked, unconcealed, plain
                      bear       the animal

                      base       the bottom; vulgar; headquarters (singular)
                      bass       low vocal or instrumental range (pronounced like lace); a type of fish (pronounced like lass)

                      based       be dependent or supported
                      baste       to moisten; to criticize or lash out at

                      bases (noun, verb)       headquarters (plural of base); builds on
                      basis (noun)       foundation; belief

                      be       to exist or live
                      bee       insect

                      beach       sandy area with water
                      beech       type of tree with smooth, gray bark

                      beat       to strike violently; to flutter or flap; to pound as with a drum; to defeat; to stir vigorously
                      beet       a plant with a fleshy red or white root

                      beau       boyfriend (pronounced like owe)
                      bough       branch of a tree (pronounced like cow)
                      bow (noun)       part of a set with arrows (pronounced like owe)
                      bow (noun, verb)       boat front; a male’s form of curtsy, bending at the waist; comply (pronounced like cow)
                      • because vs. since
                        • Rule
                          Because and since can be used almost interchangeably although because always indicates cause and effect and since is used for a relationship or time.


                          Example:
                          Since I have some extra money, I will buy shoes. (not cause and effect)

                          Example:
                          I will go to the game because my daughter is on the team. (cause and effect)

                          Example:
                          I have wanted to talk to you since yesterday. (time)

                          been       form of be used with has or have
                          bin       container

                          bell       chime or alarm; a signal
                          belle       beautiful or charming woman

                          berth       a boat dock; bedroom or bed
                          birth       being born; beginning

                          better       of higher quality
                          bettor       someone who places bets

                          between       (see among)

                          biannual       twice a year
                          biennial       every two years
                          semiannual       twice a year (same as biannual)

                          bite       to use one’s teeth to tear food
                          byte       computer term for eight bits of information

                          billed       charged a fee
                          build       construct

                          blew       past tense of blow
                          blue       the color

                          bloc       a group united for a particular purpose
                          block       city street; a cube-shaped object

                          boar       male pig
                          bore       someone or something not interesting

                          board       piece of wood; a group of people
                          bored       uninterested

                          boarder       someone who pays for room and food
                          border       perimeter; boundary

                          bode       predict
                          bowed       bent (pronounced like owed)

                          bold       daring
                          bowled       to have gone bowling; knocked over

                          bolder       more daring
                          boulder       a large rock

                          boos       sounds made by disapproving audience
                          booze       alcohol

                          bough       (see beau)
                          bow       (see beau)

                          boy       male child
                          buoy       a naval beacon or marker

                          brake       stop
                          break       separate into pieces

                          bread       a food; slang for money
                          bred       past tense of breed; raised

                          brewed       fermented
                          brood (verb, noun)       mull over; a cluster or family

                          brews       ferments
                          bruise       a black-and-blue mark, contusion

                          bridal       relating to brides
                          bridle       a harness, usually for a horse

                          bring       you bring something towards
                          take       you take something away

                          broach       to raise a topic
                          brooch       a bauble; a piece of jewelry

                          brows       the hairs in the arch above the eyes
                          browse       search for, peruse

                          but       except
                          butt (noun/verb)       bottom; joke object; to ram

                          buy       purchase, acquire
                          by       near, next to
                          bye       short for goodbye

                          cache       hidden stash
                          cash       money

                          calendar       chart of days and months
                          colander       sieve to drain off liquids

                          can       able to
                          may       permission to

                          cannon       large, mounted gun
                          canon       rule, commandment

                          canvas       awning cloth, tarp
                          canvass       to poll; a poll

                          capital       assets; essential; main city
                          capitol       statehouse

                          carat       unit of weight in gemstones
                          caret       a proofreading mark to show insertion (?)
                          carrot       edible root
                          karat       a unit for measuring the fineness of gold

                          cast (noun, verb)       group of actors; to throw
                          caste       a social class, a rigid system of social distinctions

                          cay       a small, low island (also spelled key)
                          key       a small, low island; instrument for opening locks
                          quay       (pronounced key) wharf, dock, pier

                          cede       to surrender
                          seed       reproductive germ

                          cell       prison room; basic structural unit of an organism
                          sell       to exchange for money

                          censor (verb, noun)       disallow; person who disallows

                          Example:
                          The soldier’s letters were censored before mailing.
                          censure       to disapprove of; criticize strongly

                          Example:
                          The children were censured by the principal.
                          sensor       a device that measures heat, light, etc. and transmits a signal to a control or measuring instrument

                          cent       a penny
                          scent       a smell, aroma
                          sent       transmitted

                          cereal       breakfast food
                          serial       a series or array

                          chance       accident(al)
                          chants       chorus, melody

                          chased       went after
                          chaste       pure, virginal

                          chews       how one eats food with teeth
                          choose       to pick

                          childish       immature
                          childlike       innocent

                          Chile       a country in South America
                          chili       a type of pepper; a dish with peppers in it
                          chilly       cold, brisk

                          choral       a cappella, singing without instruments
                          coral       material that makes up reefs; orange color
                          chorale       a hymn, a choir
                          corral       horse pen

                          chord       three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously; line segment joining two points on a curve
                          cord       a rope or strand of flexible material
                          cored       removed the center of something

                          chute       an inclined shaft
                          shoot (verb, noun)       to discharge from a weapon; a stem

                          cite       to assert; to quote from; to subpoena
                          sight       vision, the power to see
                          site       a location or position

                          classic       important; fundamental
                          classical       having to do with Greek or Roman antiquity; pertaining to eighteenth- to nineteenth-century music

                          clause       in grammar, a group of words containing a
                          subject and verb; part of a contract
                          claws       an animal’s nails

                          click       a sound
                          clique       a group

                          climactic       having to do with the climax
                          climatic       having to do with the climate

                          close (verb, adjective)       to shut (pronounced like rose); nearby (pronounced like dose)
                          clothes       apparel

                          coarse       rough, lacking in fineness of texture; crude
                          course       a class; a path

                          colander       (see calendar)

                          colonel       an officer in the military
                          kernel       a seed

                          complement       completing part of an order
                          compliment       praise

                          confidant       someone confided in
                          confident       certain, sure

                          connote       to suggest, infer

                          Example:
                          a roaring fire in the fireplace connotes a cozy winter night.
                          denote       to be a sign of

                          Example:
                          certain clouds denote rain on the way.

                          consent       (see assent)

                          continual       repeated but with breaks in between; chronic

                          Example:
                          The continual problem of our car not starting forced us to sell it.
                          continuous       without interruption in an unbroken stream of time or space

                          Example:
                          The continuous dripping of the faucet drove me crazy.

                          core       center or crucial part
                          corps       trained group
                          corpse       dead body

                          cosign       to sign along with
                          cosine       a trigonometry term

                          council       a group of people meeting for a purpose
                          counsel (verb, noun)       advise; advice, an attorney

                          creak       a sound
                          creek       a stream
                          crews       many groups
                          cruise       a trip or vacation by sea

                          criteria       plural of criterion
                          criterion       a standard for evaluating or testing something

                          cue       a hint; a stimulus
                          queue       a line of people waiting

                          currant       type of small berry
                          current       up to date

                          curser       someone who swears or wishes misfortune on another
                          cursor       a blinking symbol indicating position on a computer screen

                          dam       a barrier obstructing the flow of liquid
                          damn       a swear word or curse

                          dammed       blocked from flowing
                          damned       doomed
                          daze       to stun or overwhelm

                          dear       affectionate term
                          deer       the animal

                          denote       (see connote)

                          desert (noun, verb)       a desolate area; to abandon
                          dessert       extra s for sugary treat

                          desperate       lost all hope, in despair
                          disparate       entirely dissimilar

                          device (noun)       an invention
                          devise (verb)       to invent

                          dew       condensation in the morning
                          do       to take action
                          due       owed by a certain date

                          die       to cease to live; the singular of dice
                          dye       to stain or color using an agent
                          • different from vs. differently than
                            • Rule
                              Use different from, not different than.


                              Example:
                              The weather was different from what we expected.
                              You may use differently than when a clause precedes and follows the expression.

                              Example:
                              He works differently than she does.

                              discreet       careful, confidential
                              discrete       individual, distinct

                              discussed       talked over
                              disgust       repulsion

                              does       female deer (plural) (pronounced like hose)
                              does       a form of to do (pronounced like fuzz)

                              doughs       unbaked loaves of bread
                              doze       to sleep

                              dual       two-fold
                              duel       fight

                              eager       (see anxious)

                              effect       (see affect)

                              e.g.       for example

                              Example:
                              My living expenses have increased, e.g., rent, food, and utilities.

                              i.e.       that is, in other words

                              Example:
                              My living expenses have drained my finances; i.e., I have less money in the bank at the end of every month.

                              eight       (see ate)

                              elicit       evoke, extract, draw out
                              illicit       illegal

                              elude       (see allude)

                              elusive       difficult to describe, evasive

                              Example:
                              The point of the novel is elusive to me.
                              illusive       plausible or possible; deceptive

                              Example:
                              She had the illusive dream of finding happiness by traveling. (plausible, possible)

                              Example:
                              She had an illusive idea that she was qualified for the job. (deceptive, delusional)

                              emigrate       to exit one country in order to live in another country
                              immigrate       to enter a new country to live

                              empathy       to understand another’s feelings
                              sympathy       to feel compassion or sadness for another

                              ensure       (see assure)

                              epic       saga
                              epoch       a period of time, an age

                              err       (see air)

                              every day       each day

                              Example:
                              I learn something new every day.

                              everyday       ordinary

                              Example:
                              These are my everyday clothes.

                              except       (see accept)

                              eye       (see aye)

                              facts       objective data
                              fax       short for facsimile; technology that sends images by phone

                              faint       to go unconscious
                              feint       pretense

                              fair (adjective, noun)       impartial; an exhibition
                              fare       payment or expense for travel

                              fairy       imaginary being possessing magical powers
                              ferry       type of boat

                              farther       refers to physical distance

                              Example:
                              We had to walk farther than the map indicated.
                              further       refers to nonphysical distance

                              Examples:
                              We need to discuss this further.
                              Nothing could be further from the truth.


                              faux       fake, imitation
                              foe       enemy, opponent

                              faze       to perturb or fluster
                              phase       a period or situation

                              feat       an extraordinary act or accomplishment
                              feet       twelve-inch increments; appendages at end of legs

                              feted       celebrated, honored
                              fetid       noxious, gross

                              fewer       refers to a number that can be counted

                              Example:
                              Fewer days off
                              less       refers to an uncountable amount

                              Examples:
                              Less rain, less fear, less than $100
                              under       used for direction

                              Examples:
                              Under the mattress, not under $100

                              find       discover
                              fined       penalized

                              fir       type of tree
                              fur       hairy coat of an animal

                              flair       style
                              flare       erupt

                              flea       insect
                              flee       to run away

                              flew       past tense of fly, to have moved through the air with wings
                              flu       a virus
                              flue       part of a chimney

                              floe       sheet of floating ice
                              flow       pour, proceed, spew

                              flour       grain
                              flower       the bloom of a plant

                              for       preposition
                              fore       ahead
                              four       the number after three

                              forego       to go in front of, precede
                              forgo       to do without

                              foreword       introduction to a book written by someone other than the author
                              forward       opposite of backward

                              fort       a military fortification
                              forte       someone’s strong point, talent

                              forth       forward
                              fourth       number after third

                              foul       offensive, disgusting
                              fowl       certain birds

                              frees       releases
                              freeze       to make cold
                              frieze       a decorative band on a wall

                              further       (see farther)

                              gait       a manner of walking or stepping, stride

                              Examples:
                              trotting, galloping, limping
                              gate       barrier

                              gilt       gold-covered
                              guilt       blame

                              gone       used with has or have
                              Examples:       Ella has gone to the store.
                              Barry and Ella have gone to the beach.
                              went       past tense of go

                              Examples:
                              Ella went to the store.
                              Barry and Ella went to the beach.

                              gored       stabbed with a horn or tusk
                              gourd       hard-shelled fruit

                              gorilla       largest of the apes
                              guerrilla       soldier using surprise raids; irregular tactics

                              graft       attach; acquisition of money dishonestly
                              graphed       diagrammed

                              grate       a cover or partition of parallel or crossed bars
                              great       excellent

                              grill       method of cooking; barbecuing
                              grille       an openwork barrier for a gate

                              groan       a low, mournful sound of pain or grief
                              grown       to have increased in size

                              guessed       conjectured, offered an opinion
                              guest       company, honoree

                              guise       appearance or assumed appearance
                              guys       men

                              hair       what grows on one’s head and body
                              hare       rabbit

                              hall       passageway or large room
                              haul       to pull, drag, or lower

                              halve       divide into two
                              have       to possess

                              hangar       shed or shelter for housing airplanes
                              hanger       something to hang a garment on in the closet

                              haut/haute       high-class, fancy as in haute couture (pronounced oh or oht)
                              hoe       flat-bladed gardening tool

                              have vs. of       should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve are contractions for should have, could have, and would have. No such wording as should of, could of,
                              would of

                              hay       dried grass
                              hey       interjection used to call attention

                              heal       to alleviate or cure
                              heel       the back part of the foot; scoundrel

                              healthful       something that promotes health

                              Example:
                              Organic food is thought to be healthful.
                              healthy       to have good health

                              hear       to listen; to give an official hearing
                              here       in this spot

                              heard       listened
                              herd       a flock of animals

                              heir       (see air)

                              heroin       a narcotic derived from morphine
                              heroine       female admired for courage or ability

                              hi       a greeting; informal for hello
                              high       elevated

                              higher       more elevated
                              hire       to pay for services

                              him       pronoun referring to male person or animal
                              hymn       song in praise of religious deity

                              hoard       stockpile, amass
                              horde       a large group, crowd

                              hoarse       cracked voice
                              horse       animal

                              hoes       flat-bladed gardening tools
                              hose       a flexible tube for conveying liquid

                              hole       an opening
                              whole       entire, complete

                              holy       religious
                              wholly       entirely, completely

                              hostel       boarding house or inexpensive lodging
                              hostile       antagonistic

                              hour       sixty minutes
                              our       possessive pronoun

                              I       (see aye)

                              idle       not active; unemployed
                              idol       someone admired
                              idyll       interlude, breathing space; romance, fairy tale

                              i.e.       (see e.g.)

                              I’ll       (see aisle)

                              illicit       (see elicit)

                              illude       (see allude)

                              illusion       (see allusion)

                              illusive       (see elusive)

                              immigrate       (see emigrate)

                              imply       to indicate without being explicit
                              infer       to conclude from evidence

                              in       preposition; inside
                              inn       small hotel

                              Inc.       abbreviation for incorporated
                              ink       fluid in pens

                              incite       to prompt to action
                              insight       understanding, comprehension

                              incredible       astonishing

                              Example:
                              Her gymnastic moves were incredible.
                              incredulous       skeptical

                              Example:
                              Citizens are incredulous about the reason for the increase in the price of gas.

                              ingenious       clever
                              ingenuous       naïve or simple

                              innocence       to be without guilt
                              innocents       people who are without guilt

                              insure       (see assure)

                              irregardless       no such word exists
                              regardless       in spite of, without regard

                              isle       (see aisle)

                              it’s       contraction for it is or it has

                              Example:
                              It’s for a good cause.
                              its       possessive pronoun

                              Example:
                              The cat hurt its paw.

                              jewel       gem
                              joule       in physics, a unit of work or energy

                              karat       (see carat)

                              kernel       (see colonel)

                              key       (see cay)

                              knead       work with bread dough
                              kneed       hit with one’s knee
                              need       to require

                              knew       past tense of know, to have understood
                              new       opposite of old
                              night       period between sunset and sunrise

                              knot       interlacing of cord or rope
                              not       used to express negation

                              know       understand, comprehend
                              no       a negative to express dissent

                              knows       understands
                              nose       part of the body one smells with

                              lacks       is deficient in
                              lax       slack, easy-going

                              ladder       the thing with rungs that you climb
                              latter       the second of two

                              Example:
                              If given a choice between vanilla and chocolate ice cream, I’ll take the latter.

                              lain       past participle of lie as in lie down
                              lane       narrow road or passage
                              • lay vs. lie chart
                                                                                                      Participle

                                                                                 Present       Past       (A Form of Have)
                                To recline                                          lie, lying       lay       has/have/had lain
                                To put or place (verb followed by an object)        lay, laying       laid       has/have/had laid
                                To tell a falsehood                                   lie, lying       lied       has/have/had lied

                                Examples in the Present Tense:
                                I like to lie down for a nap at 2:00 P.M. I am lying down for a nap today.
                                The hens lay eggs.
                                The hen is laying eggs.
                                I am tempted to lie about my age.
                                I am not lying about my age.

                                Examples in the Past Tense:
                                I lay down for a nap yesterday at 2:00 P.M. The hen laid two eggs yesterday.
                                He lied on the witness stand.

                                Examples with a Participle (has, have):
                                I have lain down for a nap every day this week.
                                The hen has laid two eggs every day this week.
                                He has lied each day on the witness stand.

                                lead       a metal element (pronounced like red); present tense of led (pronounced like seed)
                                led       guided, past tense of to lead

                                leak       unintended discharge of liquid or gas
                                leek       type of onion

                                lean (adjective, verb)       not fatty; to incline
                                lien       a claim on property to secure debt payment

                                leased       rented
                                least       smallest in size or amount

                                less       (see fewer)

                                lessen       to make less
                                lesson       a unit to be learned or studied

                                lie       a falsehood; present tense of lie down (see lay vs. lie chart above)
                                lye       a caustic substance

                                lightening       to make lighter
                                lightning       a brilliant electric spark in the sky

                                loan       something lent for temporary use
                                lone       only, solitary

                                loose       opposite of tight
                                lose       opposite of win; misplace

                                Mach       ratio with the speed of sound: Mach 1 = the speed of sound
                                Mach 2 = twice the speed of sound

                                mock (adjective, verb)       artificial; ridicule

                                made       created
                                maid       cleaning lady

                                mail       correspondence
                                male       masculine; opposite of female

                                main       primary, chief, leading
                                mane       long hair on the back of a horse or lion

                                maize       corn
                                maze       labyrinth

                                mall       plaza, focal point
                                maul       abuse, claw

                                manner       behavior
                                manor       palatial residence

                                marquee       canopy, shelter; projection over a theater entrance
                                marquis       aristocrat, nobleman

                                marry       to wed
                                merry       cheerful

                                marshal (verb, noun)       assemble; a judge
                                martial       militant, aggressive

                                may       (see can)

                                meat       animal flesh used for food
                                meet (verb, noun)       to connect, touch; an event
                                mete       administer, allot

                                medal       decoration, badge
                                meddle       to interfere unwantedly

                                metal       earth element
                                mettle       boldness

                                mind (noun, verb)       intelligence; obey
                                mined       excavated to extract ores

                                miner       one who excavates to extract ores
                                minor (noun, adjective)       someone under legal age; small

                                missed       failed to hit
                                mist       fog, fine spray

                                moan       lament; sound of suffering
                                mown       cut grass

                                mode       method, manner
                                mowed       to have cut grass

                                mood       an emotional state
                                mooed       the sound a cow made

                                moose       an animal
                                mousse       type of dessert

                                morning       start of the day, between night and afternoon
                                mourning       sorrow over someone’s death

                                muscle       fibrous tissue
                                mussel       edible marine bivalve

                                mustard       yellow condiment
                                mustered       assembled, gathered

                                naval       pertaining to ships
                                navel       belly button, umbilicus

                                need       (see knead)

                                new       (see knew)

                                night       (see knight)

                                no       (see know)

                                none       not one, not any
                                nun       female member of a religious order

                                nose       (see knows)

                                not       (see knot)

                                number       (see amount)

                                oar       a blade for rowing
                                or       conjunction
                                ore       metal-bearing mineral or rock

                                odd       (see awed)

                                of       (see have)
                                • on to vs. onto       Use onto if you can add up before on.
                                  • Examples:
                                    He climbed (up) onto the roof.
                                    She held on to her child in the crowd.

                                    • one       single unit
                                      won       past tense of win

                                      • oral       (see aural)

                                        • ordinance       a law
                                          ordnance       military weapons and ammunition

                                          • our       (see hour)

                                            • overdo       to do to excess
                                              overdue       past due

                                              • packed       past tense of pack
                                                pact       an agreement or treaty

                                                • pail       bucket
                                                  pale       lacking color

                                                  • pain       physical or emotional suffering
                                                    pane       a plate of glass or panel

                                                    • pair       two of something
                                                      pare       to remove or peel
                                                      pear       type of fruit

                                                      • palate       roof of the mouth; taste
                                                        pallet       a low, portable platform
                                                        palette       a range of colors; a board to hold and mix colors

                                                        • passed       past tense of pass
                                                          past       the time before the present

                                                          • patience       willingness to wait
                                                            patients       people under medical care

                                                            • pause       a temporary stop
                                                              paws       animal feet

                                                              • peace       calm
                                                                piece       a portion of something

                                                                • peak       top of a mountain
                                                                  peek       glance furtively
                                                                  pique       to wound someone’s pride or to excite interest
                                                                  peeled       removed a layer

                                                                  • pedal       foot-operated lever
                                                                    peddle       to sell, hawk, or dispense

                                                                    • peer       person who is an equal
                                                                      pier       a structure extending out over water

                                                                      • perpetrate       to commit, as in a crime
                                                                        perpetuate       to prolong or sustain

                                                                        • Example:
                                                                          The myth that the sun revolved around the earth was perpetuated for centuries.

                                                                          • phase       (see faze)

                                                                            • pi       3.1416, the ratio of the circumference of a circle
                                                                              to its diameter
                                                                              pie       baked food filled with fruit or meat

                                                                              • pistil       female organ of a flower
                                                                                pistol       type of gun

                                                                                • plain (adjective, noun)       not fancy; evident; simple; treeless area of land
                                                                                  plane       a flat or level surface; short for airplane

                                                                                  • pleas       cries for help; appeals
                                                                                    please       a polite word; to satisfy

                                                                                    • plum       a type of fruit
                                                                                      plumb       perpendicular

                                                                                      • pole       a long, cylindrical piece of wood or metal
                                                                                        poll       a collection of opinions; survey

                                                                                        • pore       small hole
                                                                                          pour       to send liquid flowing

                                                                                          • praise       express approval
                                                                                            prays       makes requests to God
                                                                                            preys       hunts for food; victimizes

                                                                                            • precedence       priority
                                                                                              precedents       examples, criteria
                                                                                              presidents       chief executives

                                                                                              • presence       appearance, being present
                                                                                                presents (noun, verb)       gifts; offers

                                                                                                • presumption       (see assumption)

                                                                                                  • pries       looks closely; wedges open
                                                                                                    prize       award or reward

                                                                                                    • principal (noun, adjective)       head of school; chief; of first importance
                                                                                                      principle       fundamental belief

                                                                                                      • profit       gain
                                                                                                        prophet       predictor, seer

                                                                                                        • pros       professionals, experts
                                                                                                          prose       literature

                                                                                                          • quarts       units of liquid measure (four quarts to a gallon)
                                                                                                            quartz       a mineral

                                                                                                            • quay       (see cay)

                                                                                                              • queue       (see cue)

                                                                                                                • rain       water that falls in drops from the sky
                                                                                                                  reign       rule, administration
                                                                                                                  rein       bit, harness

                                                                                                                  • raise       lift up
                                                                                                                    raze       flatten, tear down completely

                                                                                                                    • rap (noun, verb)       a type of music; to strike sharply
                                                                                                                      wrap       to enclose in a covering

                                                                                                                      • rapped       struck sharply
                                                                                                                        rapt       fascinated
                                                                                                                        wrapped       enclosed in a covering

                                                                                                                        • read       to comprehend writing (pronounced like need)
                                                                                                                          read       comprehended writing (pronounced like red)
                                                                                                                          red       a color

                                                                                                                          • real       actual, authentic
                                                                                                                            reel       stumble, falter
                                                                                                                            reseed       to seed again

                                                                                                                            • reek       to smell bad
                                                                                                                              wreak       to cause trouble as in wreak havoc

                                                                                                                              • regardless       (see irregardless)

                                                                                                                                • rest       relax
                                                                                                                                  wrest       take from

                                                                                                                                  • retch       vomit
                                                                                                                                    wretch       lowly being, scoundrel

                                                                                                                                    • review       survey
                                                                                                                                      revue       a satirical show

                                                                                                                                      • right       correct; opposite of left
                                                                                                                                        rite       ritual, ceremony
                                                                                                                                        write       to compose letters or words

                                                                                                                                        • ring       sound of a bell; jewelry worn around a finger
                                                                                                                                          wring       to twist

                                                                                                                                          • road       street, path, highway
                                                                                                                                            rode       past tense of ride
                                                                                                                                            rowed       past tense of row

                                                                                                                                            • roe       fish eggs
                                                                                                                                              row       aisle (pronounced like oh); propel with an oar (pronounced like oh); fight (pronounced like wow)

                                                                                                                                              • role       part in a play or film
                                                                                                                                                roll (noun, verb)       a bun; to rotate

                                                                                                                                                • roomer       one who rents a room
                                                                                                                                                  rumor       innuendo, gossip

                                                                                                                                                  • root       base of a plant
                                                                                                                                                    rout       defeat (pronounced rowt)
                                                                                                                                                    route       path (pronounced like root or rowt)

                                                                                                                                                    • rot       decay, decompose
                                                                                                                                                      wrought       accomplished
                                                                                                                                                      wrote       past tense of write

                                                                                                                                                      • rude       impolite, unmannerly
                                                                                                                                                        rued       regretted, repented

                                                                                                                                                        • rye       seed from a grain
                                                                                                                                                          wry       mocking, ironic, droll

                                                                                                                                                          • sacks       large bags
                                                                                                                                                            sax       saxophone

                                                                                                                                                            • saver       one who saves
                                                                                                                                                              savor       to appreciate a taste

                                                                                                                                                              • scene       a view, a setting
                                                                                                                                                                seen       to have viewed with eyes

                                                                                                                                                                • scent       (see cent)

                                                                                                                                                                  • sea       a body of salt water
                                                                                                                                                                    see       to view with eyes

                                                                                                                                                                    • seam       line formed by pieces of fabric sewn together
                                                                                                                                                                      seem       appear

                                                                                                                                                                      • sear       scorch, burn, or char
                                                                                                                                                                        seer       one who sees (as in the future)
                                                                                                                                                                        sere       withered, dry

                                                                                                                                                                        • seas       bodies of salt water
                                                                                                                                                                          sees       views with eyes
                                                                                                                                                                          seize       to grab hold of

                                                                                                                                                                          • seed       (see cede)

                                                                                                                                                                            • sell       (see cell)

                                                                                                                                                                              • semiannual       (see biannual)

                                                                                                                                                                                • sensor       (see censor)

                                                                                                                                                                                  • sent       (see cent)

                                                                                                                                                                                    • serf       slave
                                                                                                                                                                                      surf (noun, verb)       breaking waves; to ride a surfboard

                                                                                                                                                                                      • serial       (see cereal)

                                                                                                                                                                                        • set       one sets a thing

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Example:
                                                                                                                                                                                            Please set the table.
                                                                                                                                                                                            sit       one sits oneself

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Example:
                                                                                                                                                                                              Please sit down at the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • sew       to stitch
                                                                                                                                                                                                so       in the manner indicated
                                                                                                                                                                                                sow (verb)       to scatter or plant seed

                                                                                                                                                                                                • sewer       a conduit for carrying off waste
                                                                                                                                                                                                  suer       one who sues

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • shear       to cut
                                                                                                                                                                                                    sheer       transparent

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • shoe       foot attire
                                                                                                                                                                                                      shoo       interjection used to scare away an animal

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • shoot       (see chute)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • sic       a Latin term used to indicate that something
                                                                                                                                                                                                          written is intentionally left in the original form, which may be incorrect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Example:
                                                                                                                                                                                                            She wrote, “They made there [sic] beds.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • sick       ill

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • sics       attacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                six       a number

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • sight       (see cite)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • sign       an indication
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sine       a trigonometry term

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • since       (see because)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • sink       to submerge; to descend to a lower level; where you wash dirty dishes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        synch (or sync)       to synchronize, to coincide or match up

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • site       (see cite)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • slay       kill
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sleigh       snow vehicle, sled
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            slight       slender, of little substance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • slew       past tense of slay
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              slough       swamp (pronounced slew or slau)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • soar       to fly at great height
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sore       in pain

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • soared       flew at great height
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sword       a bladed weapon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • sole       bottom of foot; alone
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    soul       the spiritual part of humans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • some       a certain unspecified number
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sum       the total from adding numbers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • son       male offspring
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sun       star that is the central body of the solar system

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • sonny       diminutive of son
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sunny       lit or warmed by the sun; cheerful

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • spade       digging tool
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            spayed       to have removed the ovaries of an animal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • staid       solemn, serious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              stayed       remained, waited

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • stair       step
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                stare       to look without blinking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • stake       a pole
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  steak       cut of meat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • stationary       in one place
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    stationery       writing paper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • steal       rob
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      steel (noun, adjective)       iron alloy; determined

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • step (verb, noun)       moving by lifting the foot; degree
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        steppe       vast grasslands

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • stile       turnstile, passageway
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          style       fashion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • straight       not curved or bent
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            strait       narrow passage of water connecting two bodies of water

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • succor       relief, assistance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sucker       fool

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • suede       leather finished with a soft, napped surface
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                swayed       past tense of sway; persuaded

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • suite       a connected series of rooms
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sweet       opposite of sour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • summary       an abstract or brief account
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    summery       of the summer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • sundae       ice cream with syrup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sunday       day of the week

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • sympathy       (see empathy)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • tacks       short nails
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          tax       percent of earnings paid to the government

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • tail       hindmost animal appendage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            tale       story

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • take       (see bring)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • tare       allowance for the weight of packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tear (verb)       rip, pull apart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • taught       past tense of teach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  taut       tightly stretched

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • tea       a beverage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    tee       a peg from which a golf ball is hit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • team       group playing on the same side in a game
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      teem       swarm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • tear (noun)       salt water coming from eyes when sad (pronounced like ear)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tier       a row or layer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • tense       nervous strain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          tents       portable shelters used for camping
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          then       indicates time, answers when

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • their       possessive pronoun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            there       location
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            they’re       contraction for they are

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • threw       past tense of throw
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              through       in one end and out the other

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • throes       agonizing struggles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                throws       tosses, hurls

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • throne       royal seat or office
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  thrown       was tossed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • thyme       herb of the mint family
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    time       past, present, future sequences of events

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • ticks       parasites; sounds of a clock
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tics       facial twitches

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • tide       ebb and flow of the ocean
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tied       past tense of tie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • to       in the direction of, toward
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          too       also, to an extensive degree

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Example:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It is too hot to jog.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            two       the number after one

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • toad       similar to a frog
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              toed       having a toe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              towed       pulled, hauled

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • told       said
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tolled       sounded a bell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • tort       a breach of contract
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  torte       a rich cake made with little or no flour

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • tracked       followed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    tract       an extended area of land; a political or religious pamphlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • troop       a body of soldiers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      troupe       a group of traveling performers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • under       (see fewer)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • vain       excessively concerned about one’s appearance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          vane       a blade moved by wind as in weather vane
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          vein       blood vessel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • vary       to change or alter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            very       extremely

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • verses       lines of poetry
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              versus       as compared to another choice; against

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • vial       small container for holding liquids
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                vile       repulsive, depraved

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • vice       bad habit; immoral practice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  vise       device used to hold an object firmly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • wade       to walk through water
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    weighed       to have put on a scale

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • wail       mournful cry
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      whale       marine mammal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • waist       narrowest part of the human torso (usually)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        waste       to squander or spend uselessly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • wait       to be available or ready
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          weight       quantity of heaviness or mass

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • waiver       a relinquishment of some right
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            waver       to feel indecisive; vary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • warn       to notify
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              worn       carried on the body; deteriorated

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • warrantee       person who is given a written guarantee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                warranty       written guarantee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • way       direction
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  weigh       to measure mass

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • weak       lacking strength
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    week       seven days starting with Sunday

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • wear       to carry on the body
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      where       in what place?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      whether       if

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • weave       to interlace thread or yarn to make a fabric
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        we’ve       contraction for we have

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • went       (see gone)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • were       past tense of are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            we’re       contraction for we are

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • wheeled       moved on wheels
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              wield       to exercise power; to handle a weapon effectively

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • which       what one?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                witch       sorceress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • while       during or in the time that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  wile       a trick to fool, trap, or entice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • whine       complaining cry
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    wine       fermented grape juice that becomes an alcoholic beverage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • whined       past tense of whine, complained
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      wind       what one does to keep a watch ticking on time (pronounced like kind); air current (pronounced like sinned)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      wined       to supply with wine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • whirled       spun rapidly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        world       planet Earth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        whorled       shaped like a coil

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • whole       (see hole)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • wholly       (see holy)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • who’s       contraction for who is

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Example:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Who’s at the door?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                whose       possessive case of who

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Example:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Whose coat is this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • won       (see one)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • won’t       contraction for will not
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      wont (adjective, noun)       accustomed; habit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • wood       tree trunk material
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        would       expressing an intention

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Example:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I would if I could.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • wrap       (see rap)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • wrapped       (see rapt)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • wreak       (see reek)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • wrest       (see rest)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • wretch       (see retch)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • wring       (see ring)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • write       (see right)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • wrote       (see rote)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • wrought       (see rot)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • wry       (see rye)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • yoke       harness for oxen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                yolk       yellow center of an egg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • yore       long past
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  you’re       contraction for you are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  your       possessive pronoun

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