Beware of Commonly Confused Words

In last week’s post, Check Your Writing, I mentioned the need to watch out for commonly confused words. Spell checkers point out some of the most typical –such as its versus it’s – but I suspect all writers have certain words that trip them up. Knowing what these words are is the first step to avoiding them when we write.

Some of my commonly confused words are:

  • advice or advise
  • choose or chose
  • complement and compliment
  • conscious versus conscience
  • council, counsel, console, and consul

This, of course, is not a complete list, but merely the ones I have bothered to document so far. Although some of these pairs are pronounced differently, my diction doesn’t always distinguish between them. These are words that can cause my writing to stumble, so I carefully scrutinize their every appearance.

What words tend to cause you confusion?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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