The 11 Most Confusing English Words

TalkShop confusing English words tipsSome English words are spelled and pronounced similarly that they can be confusing . While errors in these may not be evident in conversation, they stick out like a sore thumb in written form, major communication no-no and definite corporate blooper. Sheila Viesca, TalkShop CEO shares her list with examples to put across your message as you polish your writing style:

1. Altogether and All together
• Altogether – totally
Her speech was altogether enlightening.
• All together – people or things taken as one
All together, they proceeded to the conference room.

2. Compose and comprise
• Compose – make up
The choir is composed of 8 year-old boys.
• Comprise – have, include
Some 8 year old kids comprise the church choir.

3. Connote and Denote
• Connote – to imply, suggest
A family connotes love and sense of belonging.
• Denote – indicate specifically
A family denotes parents and their children.

4. Device and Devise
• Device – an instrument used to perform a task
The device is not working.
• Devise – to create or invent
She devised a program.

5. Its and It’s
• Its – possessive form of “it”
Its hem has to be repaired.
• It’s – contraction for “it is.”
It’s raining.

6. Than and Then
• Than – to compare
She is more efficient than her colleagues.
• Then – Not now
See you later then.

7. Sever and Severe
• Sever – to cut through completely
She severed ties with her friend after the incident.
• Severe- strict, hard, extreme.
Her hair, tightly pulled in a bun, gave her a severe look.

8. Who’s and Whose
• Who’s –contraction of who is
The guest list is a great source of who’s who in society.
• Whose – possessive of “of whom”
Whose eyeglasses are these?”

9. Shear and Sheer
• Shear – to cut off
He had his beard sheared.
• Sheer – pure, unadulterated
It was sheer pleasure dining at the restaurant.

10. Your and You’re
• Your – possessive form of “you”
Your dress is pretty.
• You’re- Contraction of “you are”
You are a true friend.

TalkShop, the leading, ISO-certified corporate training provider specializes in Communication Excellence that help you acquire English fluency. All communication programs are customized to address the particular professional requirements and learning styles of our students.


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Posted by TalkShop
Sheila Viesca, TalkShop CEO and Director of Communication finished her bachelor degree in Literature, masters in Entrepreneurship, and doctorate in Applied Cosmic Anthropology. She designed the Philippines' Language Competency Benchmark for the Department of Education and pioneered Integrated Language Teaching (ILT) in workshop designs and corporate communication training. You can follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, LinkedIN, and Google+


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