Commonly Misused Words

Many English words have the same pronunciation or similar spelling but have entirely different meanings. This article gives you a handy reference to use when you are confused or in doubt about the spelling of a word you want to use.

If you use the wrong spelling for a word, you can write sentences that don’t say what you want them to say. And of course, using the wrong spelling does nothing to enhance your credibility as a writer…

I’ve included basic descriptions for each word, followed by some examples using each word.

Accept & Except

Accept = Take, Receive

1. This socket won’t accept a three-pronged plug.
2. To accept a proposal.
3. To accept an apology.

Except = Leave out, Exclude

1. They were all there except me.
2. She would travel more except for lack of money.

Affect & Effect

Affect = Influence

1. Cold weather affected the crops.
2. Adverse criticism of the book didn’t affect the author.

Effect = Result, Consequence

1. Exposure to the sun had the effect of toughening her skin.
2. Her protest had no effect.

Already & All ready

Already = Before, Previously, Prior

1. Elvis already left.
2. When they came in, they found he had already arrived.
3. The children were already asleep when I got home.

All ready = Prepared

1. She was all ready to go.

All together & Altogether

All together = Everyone at once

1. The books lay all together in a heap.

Altogether = Completely, Entirely

1. Altogether, I’m glad the winter is over.
2. The debt amounted altogether to forty dollars.

Altar & Alter

Altar = Table of worship, Marry

1. Put the bible on the altar.
2. Traditionally the groom waits at the altar.

Alter = Change, Modify

1. Crime has altered the growth of the cityme.
2. This jacket needs to be altered.

Ascent & Assent

Ascent = Rising, Upward movement

1. The spaceship’s ascent took an entire day.
2. The climbers planned the ascent of Mount Rushmore.

Assent = Agree, Yield

1. The queen assented to the request for an encore.
2. Assenting to her demands, he did as he was told.

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