Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Confusing English Words! | Fix Common Vocabulary Mistakes & Errors

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Hello! I'm Emma from mmmEnglish!

There are plenty of English words that confuse you

because they look similar, they sound similar.

I know because when I was at

school and I was learning English, I also

found these words really confusing.

Lots of native speakers find these pairs of

words confusing!

In fact, this lesson will be useful for

you if you're learning English as a

second language or if you are a native

English speaker, you might even be

reminded about some spelling mistakes

that you're making.

Because these words can be kind of tricky!

In this lesson today, I'm going to share some pairs of

words that are often confused because

they look similar and they sound similar.

Words like 'advice' and 'advise', 'accept' and

'except', 'aloud' and 'allowed',

'all together' 'altogether', 'along' 'a long',

'desert' 'dessert',

'principal' 'principle',

'complement' 'compliment'.

Confusing, huh? Like I said

native English speakers often confuse

these words as well, so don't worry, we

are going to fix these problems right

here, right now in this lesson!

As usual, I've made you a worksheet that you can

download to practice what you learn in

this lesson but you'll have to watch

until the end to find out how to get it!

Imagine how thrilled you're going to be

when you notice a native English speaker

misspelling one of the words that you're

about to learn today!

And you will get the chance to correct them!

Okay, enough with the chitchat!

Let's get on with the lesson!

'Aloud' and 'Allowed'

These two words are pronounced in

exactly the same way. 'Aloud' means to

speak out loud. 'I'm speaking aloud right

now!' 'Read that paragraph aloud so that the

rest of the class can hear you!'

'Allowed' is the past tense form of the verb 'allow'

but it's also an adjective that shows permission.

'You are allowed to bring a

small bag with you.' 'You are not allowed

to wear shoes inside the house.'

'You are not allowed to speak aloud!'

'Complement' and 'Compliment'. Both of these words

are pronounced in the same way but

'complement' with an 'e' is the verb

and it's used to show that something goes

well with something else, when it adds to

or it improves something else. 'That hat

really complements the dress you're

wearing. They look good together.'

'What type of cheese is this? It really

complements the flavours of the fruit.'

'We chose plants that would complement each other.

They really suit each other.'

'Compliment' with an 'i' is the one that

you probably are most familiar with.

It's the noun that we use when you say

something nice to someone. You pay

someone a compliment.

'I want to compliment you on your performance, you

did a really good job.'

'I don't take compliments very well. I get really shy

and embarrassed and try to change the subject.'

'Though I don't often give

compliments, those shoes really complement your outfit!'

'All together' and 'altogether'

These words are pronounced exactly the same

but you're focusing on the spelling here.

We've got two words versus one.

'All together' means all in the same place, at

one time. 'Let's meet at the roller

coaster at 12 - we want to ride it all together!'

'Altogether' is an adverb that

means completely.

'I'm a vegetarian, now. I've stopped eating meat altogether!'

'The public transport system in Melbourne

is so good! Some people

have stopped driving their cars altogether!'

'Altogether' can also be used

to summarize a point.

'Altogether, I think it's a good decision for the company.'

Oh! 'Altogether' can also mean 'in total'.


you'll pay $3,000 for your flights and


'Altogether you'll pay $5,000 if you travel all together.'

'Desert' and 'dessert'.

There is a slight pronunciation difference here and

it's simply a matter of syllable stress.

In 'desert', the stressed syllable is the

first syllable. In 'dessert', the second

syllable is the stressed syllable.

Both of these words are nouns. 'Desert' is an

area of land that doesn't have much water.

'If you drive from Melbourne across

Australia to Perth, you have to drive through the desert.'

'Dessert' is of course,

cakes, ice creams, sweets.

It's the meal that follows a main meal

like dinner or even lunch!

'If you don't finish your dinner, you won't get your dessert!'

I'm sure every parent, no matter

what language tells their children that.

'My favorite dessert is Tiramisu!'

'Dessert' can also be a verb. It sounds

like 'dessert' but it's spelt like 'desert'.

So 'dessert' can also be a verb and it

means to leave someone alone or abandon them.

'Principle' and 'principal'. These two

words used to confuse me all the time!

'Principal', 'principal' is a noun and also

an adjective. As a noun it is the head of

a school and I remember my grade four

teacher always telling me to remember

that the principal is your pal, your friend.

But 'principal' can also mean

important or significant when it's used

as an adjective. 'Our principal concern is

the safety of the children.'

So here, 'principal' means most important.

'I have a meeting with the school principal

this afternoon.'

'Principle' is only a noun and it's a

truth, a law or a rule that shapes how

something is done. 'There are three main

environmental principles that shaped this project.'

You might also hear

expressions like he's a man or she's a

woman 'of principle', which means that they

always do the right thing. They always do

what is morally right or morally correct.

'We need to protect the community,

it's a matter of principle.'

'It's the right thing to do.'

'Along' and 'a long'.

They sound exactly the same,

though again, we're looking at spelling here.

Two words versus one.

'Along' is an adverb or

a preposition and it means to move along

something (horizontally) on a flat surface like this.

'It's such a nice night tonight!

Let's go for a walk along the river.'

'Can I bring my friend along?'

You've also heard it in the phrasal verb 'get along'.

To 'get along' with someone. So that means

to have a good relationship with them.

'A long' is a little different here

because long is an adjective that refers

to the length of something either in

distance or in time.

'A' is an article here,

used with the noun that follows the

adjective 'long'. So here, 'long' is an

adjective and the singular article 'a'

can be used only with a countable noun.

'A long day.'

'A long trip.'

'A long road.'

'It's been such a long journey.'

'There is a long list of names on the board.'

'I walked along a long, windy road!'

'Advise' and 'Advice'.

Can you hear the difference in

pronunciation between the two words?

They're very similar. 'Advise' and 'advice'.

The difference is in the final consonant sound

Very slight.

'Advice' is a noun.

It's when your friend has a problem and you

offer them a suggestion about

how to solve the problem or what they

should do to fix the problem.

You are offering a piece of advice.

It's a noun, an uncountable noun, so it's always 'advice'.

Not 'advices'!

But people often ask for advice when they want

some recommendations or some suggestions about how

to deal with the situation. It might be

about a relationship, a job, children, school,

even a way to manage your boss at work.

'Hey, can I ask your advice?'

'I've got a piece of advice for you!'

'I always listen to my dad's advice.'

'Advise' is a verb.

And it's the action of recommending or suggesting

something to someone else,

usually because you've had some experience

dealing with that that situation before.

'I need someone to advise me on the

subjects I need to complete for my course.'

'The flight attendant will advise you

where your nearest exit is.'

And an 'advisor' is the noun for someone who

advises you or they give suggestions and

recommendations to you.

OK what about

'accept' and 'except'?

These words are very

very similar but there is a tiny, tiny

difference in pronunciation in the first

vowel sound.

In 'accept', it's

the lazy schwa sound


For 'except', it's


Very, very slight. You can almost

hardly hear the difference!

'Accept' is a verb and it describes the action of

agreeing to receive something or do something.

'You need to accept the Terms and Conditions.'

'You've been so generous already.

We can't accept any more money from you.'

'The police told me that the

case was closed.

But I just can't accept it.'

'Except' is a conjunction or a preposition and it

means 'not including'. 'I walk the dog every day

except Tuesdays, because I work late.'

'I've been to every country in

Southeast Asia, except Cambodia.'

'I love food! I'll eat anything! Except oysters, yuk!'

OK well I hope you found that useful!

I've made you a worksheet which you can

download and practice so that you can

really make sure you're using these

words correctly. You can download it just

up there. If you really like this lesson

then please let me know, like it and tell

me in the comments. There are so many

other English words that have similar

pronunciation, similar spelling like

'through' and 'threw' and 'break' and 'brake',

'lose' and 'loose', 'course' and 'coarse'

Let me know if you enjoyed this lesson and I

will definitely make you another one!

That's it from me today, make sure you

subscribe if you haven't already and if

you want to keep watching more English

video lessons then check out this one

or this one!

Bye for now!

The Description of Confusing English Words! | Fix Common Vocabulary Mistakes & Errors