Confusing Words and False Friends – Choose Appropriate Words

Words Eduhyme

Confusing words are two or more words which have a similar meaning to each other but are used in a different way or are related to the same topic, but have a different meaning or look similar, but have a different meaning

False friends are words in English which have a similar-looking word in another language but which have a different meaning.

Complete the following sentences with the appropriate word in bold.

1. action / activity
The police took immediate ____________ when they realised the situation was getting out of hand.
Economic ____________ stagnated as the recession took hold.

2. advice / advise
Can you ____________ me on the best course of action to take?
He offered me some excellent ____________ .

3. affect / effect
Cuts in spending will have a serious ____________ on the healthcare services.
The strike will seriously ____________ train services.

4. appreciable / appreciative
There is an ____________ difference between manslaughter and murder.
She was very ____________ of our efforts to help.

5. assumption / presumption
They raised taxes on the ____________ that it would help control spending.
It’s sheer ____________ for the government to suggest things have improved since they came to power.

6. avoid / prevent
Rapid government reforms managed to ____________ a revolution taking place.
He’s always trying to ____________ taking a decision if he can help it.

7. beside / besides
The office is just ____________ the railway station.
____________ their regular daytime job, many people do extra work in the evening.

8. briefly / shortly
____________ before the conflict began, the army pulled down the border posts.
The senator spoke ____________ about the need for political reform.

9. channel / canal
The television ____________ received a formal complaint about the program.
The Suez ____________ was built in the second half of the nineteenth century.

10. conscientious / conscious
Most people are ____________ of the need to protect the environment.
____________ workers should be rewarded for their hard work.

11. continual / continuous
A ____________ trade embargo has badly affected the economic infrastructure.
The computer has given us ____________ problems ever since we installed it.

12. control / inspect
Environmental health officers regularly ____________ kitchens and other food preparation areas.
The government plans to ____________ the price of meat to make sure it doesn’t go up too much.

13. criticism(s) / objection(s)
They didn’t raise any ____________ when we insisted on inspecting the figures.
The government’s plan was met with severe ____________.

14. damage / injury / harm
It was a severe ____________ which needed immediate hospital treatment.
A lot of ____________ was caused to buildings along the coast during the storm.
There’s no ____________ in taking a break from your job now and then.

15. discover / invent
When did he ____________ the telephone?
Did Alexander Fleming ____________ penicillin?

16. during / for / while
Stores were closed ____________ the duration of the conflict.
____________ the transition from a dictatorship to democracy, the country experienced severe strikes and riots.
The bomb went off ____________ the President was making his speech.

17. however / moreover
The plan was good in theory. ____________, in practice it was extremely difficult to implement.
The plan was excellent. ____________, it was clear from the beginning that it was going to be a success.

18. considerate / considerable
He made a ____________ amount of money from his dotcom enterprise.
She’s a very ____________ person, so she would never intentionally upset anyone.

19. intolerable / intolerant
I consider his behavior to be quite ____________.
The government is ____________ of other political parties.

20. job / work
Everybody has the right to a decent ____________ with good pay.
Following the recession, many people are still looking for ____________.

21. lay(s) / lie(s)
The city of Quito ____________ near the equator.
The manager made it clear he intended to ____________ down some strict rules.

22. look at / watch
We must ____________ the situation in Lugumba carefully, and be prepared to act if violence flares again.
We need to ____________ the problem carefully and decide if there is anything we can do about it.

23. permission / permit
I’m afraid we can’t ____________ photography in here.
They received ____________ to attend the sessions as long as they didn’t interrupt.

24. possibility / chance
There is always the ____________ that the government will reverse its decision.
If we act now, we have a good ____________ of finding a cure for the disease.

25. priceless / worthless
____________ paintings by artists like Van Gogh should not be in the hands of private collectors.
As inflation spiraled out of control, paper money suddenly became ____________.

26. principal(s) / principle(s)
Many people refuse to eat meat on ____________.
The ____________ of the college is an ardent non-smoker.
The country’s ____________ products are paper and wood.
Not many people are familiar with the ____________ of nuclear physics.

27. process / procession
The ____________ made its way down the avenue.
Applying for a visa can be a long and frustrating ____________.

28. raise / rise
As prices ____________, demand usually drops.
In response to the current oil shortage, most airlines plan to ____________ their fares.

29. respectable / respectful
The delegates listened in ____________ silence as the chairman spoke.
They want to bring up their children in an area which is considered to be ____________.

30. treat / cure
Hospitals are so understaffed that they find it almost impossible to ____________ patients with minor injuries.
They were unable to ____________ the disease, and hundreds died as a result.

31. subjective / objective
Your report should be as ____________ possible: just present the facts and try to avoid saying what you think about them.
The newspaper article was extremely ____________: the journalist more or less forced his own views and ideas on his readership.

32. disinterested / uninterested
In order to end the dispute, we need some impartial advice from a / an ____________ third party.
I thought they would enjoy my talk, but they were completely ____________.

33. imply / infer
From what you just said, can I ____________ that you think I’m interfering?
I didn’t mean to ____________ that you were interfering. I merely said that I needed a bit of time to myself.

34. complimentary / complementary
In western societies, acupuncture and hypnosis are seen as ____________ medicines.
All new students will receive a ____________ study pack and dictionary.

Correct Answers:

  1. action / activity
  2. advise / advice
  3. effect / affect
  4. appreciable / appreciative
  5. assumption / presumption
  6. prevent / avoid
  7. beside / besides
  8. shortly / briefly
  9. channel / canal
  10. conscious / conscientious
  11. continuous / continual
  12. inspect / control
  13. objections / criticism
  14. injury / damage / harm
  15. invent / discover
  16. for / during / while
  17. However / Moreover
  18. considerable / considerate
  19. intolerable / intolerant
  20. job / work
  21. lies / lay
  22. watch / look at
  23. permit / permission
  24. possibility / chance
  25. priceless / worthless
  26. principle / principal / principal / principle
  27. procession / process
  28. rise / raise
  29. respectful / respectable
  30. treat / cure
  31. subjective / objective
  32. disinterested / uninterested or disinterested (it is a common misconception in English that disinterested cannot be used in the same way as uninterested when we want to say that someone does not find something interesting)
  33. infer / imply
  34. complementary / complimentary
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