Let’s stop confusing these words

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Today, let’s take a look at some words my students often confuse.

Affect / Effect

While both words have a similar meaning, affect is a verb and effect is a noun.
Their meaning becomes the same when you add Have an before and on after effect.

Meeting her affected me = Meeting her had an effect on me

Advice / Advise

This is another example of a noun and a verb.

We give people advice, but we advise people to do something.

Bare / Bear

Bare means naked or uncovered.
For example, if I’m walking barefoot, this means I’m not wearing any shoes (and socks)

Bear can be the animal, as well as be used as a verb meaning accept and tolerate unpleasant things and difficulties. (We must bear the responsibility for our choices)

Cereal / Serial

Often, when the topic of movies and TV series comes up, students tend to say that they watch serials, which wouldn’t be wrong if they had given more information. However, all three words have a different meaning

CerealCereal is something we don’t need to cook and usually eat for breakfast.

Let’s look at a few of the meanings of Serial:

1) Part of a series (This book is a serial novel. The whole story is divided into 3 books)
2) Someone who commits a crime more than once. (The police caught a serial killer this week)
3) Something that appears at regular periods of time. (I read serial publications (magazines, newspapers, e.t.c.) to know all the latest trends)

When you want to talk about Prison Break, The Game of Thrones or any other TV programs, it’s better to say TV series.

Complement / Compliment

The first word is often used when talking about food or fashion. For example, you want to tell your friend that the shoes he’s wearing complement his suit or the cheese complements the pasta you’re eating. When you say that, it can sometimes sound like a compliment.

To the person reading this and doing the exercises, you are amazing and you’re doing a great job working on your English! How’s that for a compliment? 🙂

Emigrate / Immigrate

Both words have a very similar meaning, but Emigrate is used to talk about leaving one country and moving to another while immigrate is used to say that you came to live in this country.

My friend wants to emigrate from Ukraine to the USA
(He wants to move to the USA from his own country)
The Vallejo family immigrated to the USA in 2012
(They came to the USA and they’re living there now)

Quiet / Quite

Quiet means that there’s no noise. You can ask people to be quiet if they talk too loudly.
Quite, on the other hand, is used for emphasis and can also mean a little or a lot but not completely

There were quite a lot of people I haven’t seen for years at the party. (I want you to hear that there were a lot of people I forgot all about)
I’m quite tired after our trip. (But not completely tired, I can still walk)

Than / Then

Sometimes people can confuse the two words, but it’s quite simple, actually. Than is used when we want to compare something (He’s older than me) while Then is used for talking about the time or when you talk about what happened or will happen next:

I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll have an answer for you by then.
I’ll ask her if she wants to join us and then we’ll go.

I advise you to practice these words in context by doing a few short exercises below:

I hope this post will have a good effect on you, I hope you got quite a good result and that your second try was better than the first one. 😉

See you next Saturday! 🙂

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