The English language contains many words which can cause confusion for learners. It's common for a word to have several meanings or to be pronounced and spelled the same as other words.
For example, homophones are words that sound like other words but have a different spelling and a different meaning. Homonyms are pairs of words which are spelled and pronounced the same but have a different meaning. Homographs are words which are spelled the same as another word but have a different meaning and pronunciation.
With so many words that appear similar to others, it's easy to make mistakes. This is the first instalment of the Commonly Confused English Words blog which will explain the difference between these pairs of often misused words in English.
Compose / Comprise
The verb 'compose' means to create, build or put something together. This could be a poem, letter or even yourself.
When a noun 'comprises' other things, it means that it is formed by these things.
It is a common mistake to use the preposition of after 'comprise'. It's not necessary to use a preposition after this verb.
Franz Schubert composed hundreds of pieces of music in his short life.
This apartment comprises three bedrooms, a bathroom and a large kitchen.
Envy / Jealousy
'Envy' is an emotion that is felt when one lacks something. It is the feeling of wanting what someone else has and resenting them for having it.
'Jealousy' is a reaction to the threat of losing something or someone. An emotion that comes from the idea that someone is trying to take what's yours.
She is envious of her friend's holiday to Thailand. She would love to travel there too.
When my brother spends time with his female friends, his girlfriend often feels jealous.
Adopt / Adapt
If you 'adopt' something, it means that you accept it as your own.
However, to 'adapt' to something is to change in a way that allows one to deal with new circumstances.
Except / Accept
The preposition 'except' is used to show that something has been excluded.
We use the verb 'accept' to describe a situation in which someone consents to receive something.
Compliment / Complement
A 'complement' is an addition to something that improves it.
If you pay someone a 'compliment', you make an admiring remark about them.
These are just a few of the words which can confuse English learners. Can you think of any more? Post your answers in the comments section below and I will include them in the next Commonly Confused English Words blog. If you have any questions, you can contact us here or email us at Intrepid English.
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