Here are some common words that are often mistaken for each other when either spoken or written.

 

STATIONARY and STATIONERY

We use stationary for something that is not moving and we use stationery for writing materials.

 

YOKE and YOLK

We use yoke for a wooden crosspiece to harness a pair of oxen together and we call the yellow part of an egg the yolk.

 

LOOSE and LOSE

Loose means it is not attached to anything and lose means unable to find.

 

FOREWORD and FORWARD

The foreword is an introduction to a book whereas forward is moving straight ahead.

 

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EXERCISE and EXORCISE

To exercise means to do physical activity to get fit while exorcise means to drive out evil spirits.

 

ENSURE and INSURE

To make sure something happens is to ensure it happens whilst to insure something means to provide compensation if something is damaged.

 

DESERT and DESSERT

A desert is a large area full of sand whereas a dessert is the sweet course we have after a main meal.

 

COUNCIL and COUNSEL

A council is a group of people who manage or advise something. Counsel is advice you receive or the act of advising.

 

As you can see, there are many words that can be confused with each other when you hear them. Obviously context will help to know which word is being used and with what meaning, but sometimes it is not completely clear and you must work it out for yourself or ask the person who is speaking which word they are using.

 

K. Charles

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