by IELTS PASS

30 Words That Can Be Confusing Even To Native Speakers

Have you ever come across some words that just simply confused you? Let’s take a look at some of the words that even a native speaker might find it difficult to get them right.The famous British journalist Harold Evans has written down a vocabulary list outlining 30 words that are confusing, and many people have treated them as synonym. Why not take a look at the words and see if you know the differences? You can use this as quiz to test your friends too!01. affect / effectExamples:affect: The bad weather affects my mood.effect: The president effected several changes in the company.02. alibi / excuseExamples:alibi: The police broke her alibi by proving she knew how to shoot a pistol.excuse: I can’t buy his excuse.03. alternatives / choicesExamples:alternatives: New ways to treat arthritis may provide an alternative to painkillers.choices: Our choices come down to staying here or leaving here.04. anticipate / expectExamples:anticipate: What Jeff did was to anticipate my next question.expect: I expect that the weather will be nice.05. flagrant / blatantExamples:flagrant: The judge called the decision “a flagrant violation of international law.”blatant: Outsiders will continue to suffer the most blatant discrimination.06. chronic / acute / severeExamples:chronic: For those with chronic depression, she said, “keep at it.”acute: Acute dysentery wracked and sapped life from his body.07. compose / compriseExamples:compose: England, Scotland and Wales compose the island of Great Britain.comprise: After the 2014 referendum on independence for Scotland, the UK still comprised England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.08. continual / continuousExamples:continual: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual war,” Madison concluded.continuous: Continuous farming impoverishes the soil.09. crescendo / climaxExamples:crescendo: She spoke in a crescendo: “You are a bad girl! You are a wicked girl! You are evil!”climax: The fifth scene was the climax of the play.10. decimate / destroyExamples:decimate: Famine decimated the population.destroy: The soldiers destroyed the village.11. dilemma / problemExamples:dilemma: Many women are faced with the dilemma of choosing between work and family commitments.problem: The problem of street crime is getting worse every year.12. disinterested / uninterestedExamples:disinterested: A lawyer should provide disinterested advice.uninterested: He was uninterested in politics.13. entomb / trapExamples:entomb: The city was entombed in volcanic lava.trap: The train was trapped underground by a fire.14. flotsam / jetsamExamples:flotsam: The water was full of flotsam and refuse.jetsam: The smallest bits of jetsam, like the most transient incidents in a life, can be the most evocative.15. forego / forgoExamples:forego: So she did his bidding and gave him the cup, which no sooner had he drunk than his head forewent his feet.forgo: Sometimes this priority shift means you have to forgo one goal in exchange for another.16. gourmet / gourmandExamples:gourmet: Food critics have to be gourmets in order to write about food in an informed way.gourmand: He’s the kind of gourmand who swallows food without even pausing to taste.17. inchoate / incoherentExamples:inchoate: She had a child’s inchoate awareness of language.incoherent: The talk she gave was incoherent and badly prepared.18. incumbent(noun.) / incumbent (adj.)Examples:incumbent(noun.) : The incumbent president faces problems which began many years before he took office.incumbent (adj.): She felt it was incumbent on herself to act immediately.19. inflammable / flammableExamples:inflammable: Petrol is a highly inflammable liquid.flammable: This solvent is flammable.20. insidious / invidiousExamples:insidious: Cancer is an insidious disease.invidious: The boss made invidious distinctions between employees.21. judicial / judiciousExamples:judicial: a judicial enquiryjudicious: We should make judicious use of the resources available to us.22. less / fewerExamples:less: We must try to spend less money.fewer: Fewer people smoke these days than used to.23. litigate / dodgeExamples:litigate: The case is still being litigated.dodge: He dodged the bullet.24. luxuriant / luxuriousExamples:luxuriant: Tall, luxuriant plants grew along the river bank.luxurious: They have a very luxurious house.25. prescribe / proscribeExamples:prescribe: The doctor prescribed his patient who was down with fever.proscribe: The sale of narcotics is proscribed by law.26. refugee / migrantExamples:refugee: Refugees were pouring across the frontier.migrant: The government divides asylum seekers into economic migrants and genuine refugees.27. replica / reproductionExamples:replica: Replica is the more valuable, for it is supposed to be more beautiful.reproduction: This is a reproduction of a popular religious painting.28. sceptic / denierExamples:sceptic: The sceptic may argue that there are no grounds for such optimism.denier: He is a denier of harsh realities.29. transpire / happenExamples:transpire: Later, it transpired she had failed the examination.happen: ‘It just happened.’ she said, after failing her exam.30. viable / feasibleExamples:viable: Cash alone will not make Eastern Europe’s banks viable.feasible: She questioned whether it was feasible to stimulate investment in these regions.31 (bonus). viral / viralExamples:viral: I can’t believe that video of our puppy lounging on a pool float went viral!viral: Some viral proteins do good.