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Confusing Words Explained | Net Writing

Confusing Words Explained

Affect and Effect.

  • What is the effect of higher taxes? How do higher taxes affect yourself?

There, their, and they’re.

  • The place is over there. (refers to place)
  • Their journey was long and arduous. (refers to person)
  • They’re going to be happy the bus was on time. (short for They are)

You’re , Your

  • You’re not going to believe this. (short for you are)
  • Your wallet was stolen (wallet belonging to you)

Affluent and Effluent

  • He was very affluent after investing in the chemical firm. Unfortunately, the factory produced much effluent into the river

Amoral / Immoral

  • Voltaire was amoral not worrying if he was right or wrong. It was immoral to steal the collection plate.

Beside / Besides

  • My alarm clock wasn’t beside my bed. Besides I had forgotten to set it.


  • An American billion is a thousand million. $1,000,000,000.
  • A British billion is a million milion $1,000,000,000,000.
  • However, in everyday use, the American concept of a billion is becoming commonplace

Carousal / Carousel.

  • The drink sang a raucous Carousal. Whilst the children went to play on the carousel.

Complement / Compliment

  • I would like to compliment you on your new hat. It makes a lovely complement to your dress from Matalan

Childish / Childlike

  • The banker was very childish to forward his girlfriends explicit email to his colleagues. Tom delighted everyone with his childlike innocence and spontaneous joy.

Compare / Contrast

  • Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? June was in sharp contrast to November which was very cold.

Cynic / Sceptic

  • Ian Hislop is a bit of cynic. He always half expects politicians to be on the fiddle. Tom was sceptical that the new Parliamentary laws would prevent MPs fiddling their expenses.
  • Florence was sceptical that the soldiers septic leg wouldn’t need amputation. She became cynical about the war after that.

Delusion / Illusion

George was suffering from a delusion that he could bring democracy and free apple pie to every corner of the world. The myth of American invincibility was shown to be an illusion after George messed things up again.

Discreet / Discrete

  • To keep a secret you need to be discreet. The alarm was quite discrete from the general noise.

Euphemism / Euphuism

  • Euphemism is a way of avoiding certain embarrassing words.  George was mentally challenged.
  • Euphuism is an exaggerated, ornate style of writing.  For example, using Pleonasm – redundant words – the black darkness, the quick speed. It is virtue, yea virtue, gentlemen, that maketh gentlemen; that maketh the poor rich, the base-born noble, the subject a sovereign’

Immanent / Imminent

  • Immanent – contain within. The Divinity immanent in man
  • Satchitananda is both transcendent and immanent to every moment of creation.
  • Imminent – soon to occur.
  • The divine transformation of earth is not imminent.

Incredible / Incredulous

  • I was simply incredulous (can’t believe) at the incredible speed of the Astana rider up the mountains.

Perspicacious / Perspicuous

  • Perspicacious – showing understanding
  • Perspicuous – lucid easily understood.
  • Despite the perspicuous delivery of the economic lecture. George was not displaying any perspicacity.