Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Commonly Confused Words to Avoid

Some words have the same spelling or sound but differ in meaning. IELTS test takers must be extra careful in using these words especially when answering the IELTS Writing exam.

Grammar Range and Accuracy is one of the criteria for the Writing exam.  It assesses how accurate is the test taker’s grammatical resource. Thus, it helps to be familiar with common homonyms to avoid committing errors. There are numerous options to choose from. You can read books, listen to audiobooks, use a dictionary or enroll in an IELTS review center. There are lots of tutorial facilities that offer language skills assessment.  (There are IELTS review centers in Cebu, Baguio, Manila, Makati and Davao.


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Then again, if you are on a tight budget, you can study on your own and do some research. Here are 10 commonly confused words that you must take note of.

1.)    Hoard vs. Horde


Hoard is a stock or supply of something hidden for future use, while a horde refers to a crowd or large group or a swarm.

•    Pirates buried a hoard of gold inside that cave.
•    A horde of civilians run in panic as bombs explode in Syria.

2.)    Imply vs. Infer

Imply means to express a message indirectly, while infer is to make a judgment or conclusion based on facts or by reasoning.

•    The tragedy seems to imply that the protagonist has an ulterior motive other than saving the kingdom.
•    We can infer from the evidence that the old carpenter is the murderer.

3.)    Precede vs. Proceed

Precede is to come before, while proceed means to continue or carry on.

•    The king’s speech preceded the closing ceremony.
•    Shortlisted applicants proceed to the initial interview.

4.)    Elicit vs. Illicit


Elicit is to evoke or draw out a response or emotion,   while illicit is used to describe something that is prohibited by law.

•    Her peculiar reaction elicits laughter from the crowd.
•    It has never occurred to me that he was having an illicit affair.

5.)    Breath vs. Breathe


Breath refers to the air that is inhaled or exhaled during the breathing process, while breathe is the act of inhaling and exhaling.

•    The barbarians couldn’t care less about their breath.
•     Those who are trapped in the burning house can hardly breathe well due to the smoke.

6.)    Stationary vs. Stationery

Stationary pertains to something unchanging or something that stays in a fixed place, while stationery refers to writing materials.

•    The gate keepers remain stationary at the entrance for three hours.
•    You can borrow some stationery from Robbie.

7.)    Bare vs. Bear

Aside from a furry animal, bear refers to something difficult to handle, while bare means naked or uncovered.

•    A person can only bear a certain degree of humiliation.
•    They explore the muddy terrain with their bare feet.

8.)    Comprise vs. Compose

Comprise means to include or contain, while compose means to make up a whole.

•     Two atoms of oxygen and an atom of carbon comprise carbon dioxide.
•     The Philippines is composed of three island groups: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

9.)    Wreak vs. Wreck


Wreak means to bring about, while wreck means the act of destroying.

•    The hurricane wreaks havoc in different provinces.
•    The tornado wrecks the town.

10.)     Lose vs. Loose

Lose means to loss something or miss one’s possession, while, loose means to not tightly fitted.

•    Keep your eyes on the baggage. You might lose some of your items.
•    Suddenly, the ropes of the wooden bridge turn loose, making it impossible to pass.

These words are only some of the commonly confused words that you may encounter. Before you take the IELTS exam, start reading books and periodicals. Whenever you encounter an unfamiliar or a confusing word, look it up in the dictionary. You may also avail the services of an IELTS review center to help you further your skills especially in writing. After all, numerous IELTS review centers are available in Cebu, Baguio, Manila, Makati and Davao.



The author works at an IELTS review center in Cebu City at the moment. She was once a computer instructor in CA. She likes to travel in numerous nations and loves photography.

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