Top 10 Confused Words in English [A-B]
In compiling a list of the top ten confused words, it’s difficult to choose between simple misspellings and words whose meanings are mixed up in the mind of the writer.
For example, the word altar (raised structure for sacrifice) is frequently misspelled as alter. The writer probably knows the difference between the noun altar and the verb alter, but hasn’t learned the fact that they are spelled differently.
Likewise, the pair its/it’s usually tops lists of “confused words,” but it seems to me that writers who commit errors with this pair have problems with the correct use of the apostrophe in general.
The words in the following list represent misunderstanding of the words’ meanings and not simply an inability to spell them correctly. Notice that this post covers words starting with the letters a and b.
1. affect / effect
These two words have specialized meanings in psychology, but in ordinary speech and writing, affect is most often used as a verb meaning “to act on or to cause a change” and effect as a noun meaning “a change that is the result of some action”:
How will the move to New Orleans affect the family? (verb)
What is the effect of this move on the children? (noun)
Note: Effect can also be used as a verb meaning “to cause” or “to bring about”:
The new mayor has effected positive change in the police department.
2. advice / advise
The error with this pair results from mispronunciation and failure to distinguish between a noun and a verb. The c in advice is pronounced with the sound of /s/. The s in advise is pronounced with he sound of /z/.
Advice is a noun meaning “recommendation regarding a decision.” Advise is a verb meaning “to recommend”:
She always gives me good advice. (noun)
What do you advise me to do? (verb)
3. aisle / isle
Both words are nouns. An aisle is a passageway between rows of seats, shelves, or other fixtures or obstacles that people need to move between. An isle is an island:
You’ll find the children in the toy aisle.
Robinson Crusoe was stranded on a desert isle.
I want a modern kitchen with a work isle in the middle.
4. adverse / averse
Both words are adjectives that imply a form of opposition. Something that acts against one’s interests or well-being is adverse. The word averse describes feelings of repugnance towards something:
The jury delivered an adverse verdict against the defendant.
Ferris Bueller was averse to attending school that morning.
Read words 5-10 here: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/top-10-confused-words-in-english/