There are some Confusing words in English that are commonly used in place of each
other by many people considering them to be synonyms, however they are not
Synonyms and their meanings differ. Let’s understand how they are different
from each other in meaning and usage.
This understanding will not only make you more competent, but also increase
your confidence and make you an impressive and effective public speaker. Now Lets talk about some confusing words…
1. Hear vs Listen.
Hearing – an event; something which happens to us unconsciously or
unintentionally. It is something that happens without paying attention to,
happens by chance. Example: Do you hear the sound of traffic?
Listening – an action; something we do consciously or intentionally or
deliberately. It means paying attention to what the speaker is saying.
Example: We should listen to our teacher in the class.
2. Disinterested vs Uninterested.
Disinterested – impartial or not influenced by personal opinion, feelings,
unbiased, not related with the outcome. Example: A disinterested judge is
appointed to resolve the dispute.
Uninterested – bored, not interested or concerned. Example: He seems to
be uninterested in my problems, so I don’t want to ask for help.
3. Affect vs Effect.
Affect – (Verb), to influence. Example: Words can affect the human brain
and in shaping lives.
His ideas might affect my life.
Effect – (Noun), the result or impact of something. Example: Anti-
depressants have a lot of side-effects.
4. Amoral vs Immoral.
Amoral – lacking moral sensibility or who lacks conscience to act morally,
like Infants, insane people. Example: She paid for the amoral expertise of
Immoral – having no morality, corrupt, unethical, being wicked or evil.
Example: Stealing someone’s valuables is Immoral.
5. Elicit vs Illicit.
Elicit – (Verb), to obtain, to manage to get, to extract or to evoke. Example:
The Police failed to elicit the information about the criminal.
Illicit – (Adjective), disapproved for moral reasons, unaccepted or not
approved of by society, not allowed by laws or rules. Example: He was fired
from the job for the illicit behavior. (2) She warned her husband on/for
having an illicit affair with his secretary.
6. Exercise vs Exorcise.
Exercise – (Noun/Verb), all kinds of mind and body activities; to perform a
task. Example: We must exercise discipline in our lives, if we want to
achieve success. (2) I need to exercise to reduce weight.
Exorcise – (Verb), to cast out evil, cast out evil spirits or negative forces by
religious ceremonies. Example: Psychotherapy sessions help Schizophrenia
patients to exorcise some of their demons.
7. Assure vs Ensure.
Assure – promise, remove doubt. Example: I assure you that I will never
leave you alone.
Ensure – confirm, to make a certain thing will or won’t happen. Example:
Please ensure that there is enough food in the refrigerator for guests. (2)
He ensured me that nobody will be able to harm me.
8. Emigrate vs Immigrate.
Emigrate – to exit your current homeland, to leave one’s country to live in
another. It is followed by from. Example: There is no value for life in my
country so I want to emigrate from here.
Immigrate – coming in to another country to live permanently. It is
followed by to. Example: There is no value for life in my country so I want
to get immigrated to the US.
9. Imply vs Infer.
Imply – to hint at something, to suggest indirectly. Example: When she
stared at me and tried to talk, I ignored her and walked away implying that I
don’t like her.
Infer – to guess, deduce or figure out. Example: Politicians make a lot of
commitments, but voters have to infer what is real and what is fake.
10. Inquiry vs Enquiry.
Inquiry – it is used for formal investigation. Example: We should help the
police with their inquiries.
Enquiry – it is used or general senses of “ask”. Example: Students enquiry
about the course.
All these are most confusing words if you wants to learn more about these confusing words.
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