English Confusing Words List For English Section

English Confusing Words List For English Section

English Section plays an extremely important role in cracking almost every aspired exam these days for it being an ineluctable section to crack the exam in the long run. Defence Exams like NDA, CDS, CAPF and others have added up English Section to check the basic comprehension knowledge of the candidates in English Language where being well aware of grammar rules is an inescapable task if you are really devoted towards your goal. Gone are the days when candidates used to remain oblivion of in-deep knowledge regarding English Language. In this vying backdrop, you have to cut the mustard in every aspect to perform like a victorious entity. 

Through our platform DefenceAdda, our motive is to reach at every door of defence aspirant to deliver smart study material in every accessible way. In this post, we will cover all the important Grammar rules and tricky scenarios in the form of "ENGLISH STUDY NOTES" on ENGLISH CONFUSING WORDS.


1. all ready / already / all right / alright
All ready and all right mean that everything is ready or everything is
correct / OK:
For e.g. The students are all ready for the test.
= All the students are ready for the test.
For e.g. Your answers are all right.
= All your answers are right.

Already means that something happened earlier than expected:
For e.g. He’s only 14 and he’s already graduated from high school. 

All right can also mean OK, acceptable, or average.
For e.g. Are you all right?
= Are you OK? 
For e.g. If it’s all right with you, we’ll reschedule the meeting.
= If it’s acceptable to you.

Alright is a variant of “all right” that is not considered correct, even though many people use it informally.

2. ancient / antique
The word ancient means very, very old - usually hundreds or thousands of years old:
For e.g. Archeologists found remnants of an ancient civilization that lived in the area around 600 BC.

The word antique describes an item that is from an earlier period - usually 50-100 years old: 
For e.g. I inherited an antique table from my grandmother.

3. city / downtown / town
A city is larger than a town. New York City, Los Angeles are examples of cities. All state or country capitals are cities; cities usually have some significant political, economic or cultural importance.

The word town refers to a smaller population center. And a very small population center – even smaller than a town – is called a village.

To complicate things, the central part of a city (especially the main commercial or
business area) is called downtown. It's more expensive to live downtown than to live in one of the other neighborhoods.

4. defect / fault / flaw
A flaw is a problem or error (small or large) that makes something less effective or valuable. The word flaw can be used for problems in objects, ideas, or people’s character:
For e.g. (i) This diamond is less expensive because it contains several flaws.
(ii) There’s a major flaw in your plan – it will never work.

The word defect also refers to a problem, usually when a mechanical or
manufactured item was produced with the problem. We often use the adjective
For e.g. Defects in the machinery caused several fires to break out in the factory.

The word fault refers to responsibility for a problem or mistake. It’s usually used
with “my/your/his/her fault” or to say that a person/company is “at fault” for the
For e.g. The car accident was his fault because he drove through a red light.

5. dirty / messy
If an area is messy, it means it is disorganized, with many various objects all over the place. A messy area needs to be organized and things put in their proper places.
For e.g. My desk is so messy – there are piles of documents everywhere. 

But if an area is dirty, it has accumulated dirt/dust and needs to be cleaned or washed. After
you exercise and sweat, your clothes are dirty.
For e.g. We drove down a very muddy road and now the car is all dirty. 

6. employees / staff
Both of these words refer to people who work at a company – but staff is always singular and uncountable – it describes the entire group of workers as one thing.

Employees is plural and countable – it describes the collection of individual
For e.g.  The entire staff was happy about the extra day off.
For e.g. All the employees were happy about the extra day off.

7. extend / expand
Both of these words mean to get bigger, or to make something bigger. Extend has more the sense of making something longer in one direction, whereas expand gets bigger in all directions:
For e.g. (i) A balloon expands when you blow it up.
(ii) You extend your arm.

We also use extend, not expand, when making a period of time longer:
For instance: extend a deadline
We use expand when talking about businesses or areas getting bigger:
For e.g. The company expanded its operations to five additional countries. 

8. If I was / If I were
(i) If I were you, I’d apologize.
(ii) If I was you, I’d apologize.

The first one is correct between the two examples – If I were you – because this is a hypothetical (imaginary) situation. It is being imagined that this is the case.

(iii) My mother would definitely disapprove if she were here right now.

If the situation is not imaginary – if there was a possibility that it really occurred in the past – then we can use was:

For e.g. (i) If he was drunk, then he should have called a taxi to drive him home.
(= it’s possible that he was drunk)

(ii) I don’t know if she was at the party; I wasn’t there.
(= it’s possible that she was at the party) 

9. impending / pending
If an issue is pending, it means it is not yet concluded or resolved. It is waiting for a
decision or confirmation.
For e.g. (i) The results of the experiment are pending.
(ii) There are two pending transactions in the bank account.

An impending event is one that will happen very soon. Impending often has a negative connotation (though not always).
For e.g. (i) The soldiers prepared themselves for the impending battle.

10. review/ revise
If you review a document, it means you read it and examine it (and maybe have some ideas to improve it) but you don't make any changes.

If you revise a document, it means you change the text to correct errors or make

11. Advice / Advise
Advice is a noun, and advise is a verb:
(a) She gave me some good advice.
(b) She advised me to get some rest.

There’s also a pronunciation difference: advice has an “S” sound, and advise has a “Z” sound.
Don’t make the common error of saying “advices” – the word advice is uncountable.
However, you can say “pieces of advice”:

12. Appraise / Apprise
The verb appraise means to evaluate, especially in an official way in which a grade will be given or the value of something determined:
(a) A car dealership appraises the value of used cars.
The noun form is appraisal, meaning an evaluation:
(a) Please give me your honest appraisal of the book I’ve written.

The verb apprise means to inform or notify. You can apprise (someone) of (some
(a) Please keep me apprised of this situation

13. As far as / As long as / As soon as
Use as long as for:
(a) Time – when talking about a long period:
“I’ll stay with you as long as you want.”
 A condition that is a requirement:
(b) “You can go to the party as long as you’re back by 11 PM.”
Use as soon as for:
 Time – when one thing happens at the same time as another, or immediately
after another:
(a) “The phone rang as soon as I walked into my apartment.”
Use as far as for:
 Degree or distance
(a) “I’ll walk with you as far as the corner.”
Opinion (in the expression “as far as I’m concerned”):
“As far as I’m concerned, he owes me an apology.”

14. Assure / Ensure / Insure
Assure means to tell another person something to remove doubt or anxiety.

(a) I assure you that the water here is perfectly safe to drink.
After assure, we always have a person: assure you, assure him/her, etc.

Ensure is something you do to guarantee a specific result.
(a) Please send the document by express mail to ensure that it arrives on time.

Insure is used when you get a financial plan to pay for any damage
or loss to a person or thing. This is related to the word insurance, such as health insurance, car insurance, etc.
(a) Our house is insured against fires, floods, and theft

15.  Begin / Start
You can use both start and begin for an activity. “Begin” is more formal than “start”:
(a) I started playing the piano when I was 8 years old.
(b) He’s beginning to read more advanced books in English.

When you turn on a car or vehicle, use “start”:
(a) I had to call a mechanic because my car wouldn’t start.
In general, begin is used for more formal and more abstract ideas:
(a) Scientists are studying how life began on earth.

16. Chance / Possibility / Opportunity
With the verb have, always use opportunity. The word possibility is more often
used with “there is”:
(a) There’s a possibility I might move to America next year.
(b) I have the opportunity to work in a reputed company.
Also, possibility is neutral – it means maybe the event will happen, and maybe it will not happen. The word opportunity is a little more positive, it expresses the possibility for something good.

So we can use possibility with good or bad things, but opportunity is usually used only for good things:
(a) I’m worried about the possibility of losing my job.
(b) You should take that job. It’s a great opportunity for your career.

The word chance is more informal, and it can be used for possibilities or
(a) Is there any chance of rain this weekend?
= any possibility that it will rain 

17. Continuously/ Continually 

Continuously means something happens without stopping,
without interruption:
(a) A waterfall has water continuously falling over the edge
of a cliff.

Continually means something happens frequently/repeatedly.
(a) If you have an old car, it might continually break down - it breaks down very

18. Decent/Descent/Dissent
The adjective decent describes something good, satisfactory, or
(a) My job’s not very glamorous, but I earn a decent salary.
The noun descent has a few different meanings:
 The action of going down:
After reaching the top of the mountain, the hikers began their descent.
 Describing family origin:
(a) He is of Spanish descent.

The word dissent can be a noun or a verb, and it means a difference of
opinion; to disagree:
(a)  After the government’s decision to raise taxes, large groups of protestors
expressed their dissent.

19.  Distinct / Distinctive
The word distinct means:
1 that something is clearly and noticeably different or separate from other things
(a) Three distinct languages are spoken in this region.
2 that something is strong and obvious:
(a) There is a distinct possibility that the flight will be canceled.

The word distinctive means that something has qualities that make it noticeably
different and easy to be identified or recognized. While distinct is neutral,

(a) His thoughtful and poetic lyrics are a distinctive characteristic of his music.

20.  Enough / Too
Enough means you have what is sufficient/necessary; too means you have more
than what is sufficient/necessary. There are a few important details about their word order in the sentence:
too + adjective
This shirt is too expensive.
verb + too much
He complains too much. He has such a
negative attitude.
enough + noun (countable or
We don’t have enough people for a
soccer team
verb + enough
I don’t exercise enough.
Adjective + enough
you’re not old enough to buy

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