40 Easily Confused Words Authors Should Know

Most spellcheck and grammar check programs are useful, but they are far from perfect. An author might have spelled a word correctly but used it incorrectly, or we might have used the wrong homonym. These are issues that free grammar and spelling tools are not likely to correct. Raise your hand if you’ve been guilty of mixing up words that sounded similar but had different meanings. Hand raised! Sometimes, those mistakes can even be embarrassing, right? Well, never fear! We are here to explain how to correctly use 40 of the most easily confused English words and save you from embarrassing blunders!

Accept vs. Except

Advice vs. Advise

Affect vs. Effect

Among vs. Between

Assure vs. Ensure vs. Insure

Assure vs. ensure vs. insure

Bare vs. Bear

Climatic vs. Climactic

Complement vs. Compliment

Disinterested vs. Uninterested

Economic vs. Economical

Elicit vs. Illicit

Farther vs. Further

Historic vs. Historical

Imply vs. Infer

It’s vs. Its

Lay vs. Lie

Principal vs. Principle

Stationary vs. Stationery

Than vs. Then

Their vs. There vs. They’re

Also available in 简体中文繁體中文Türkçe

For more instruction on academic writing, visit our Academic Resources page. And to receive expert revision on any written document, check out our all-in professional proofreading services.