20 Misused Words That Make Smart People Look Dumb

We're all tempted to use words that we're not too familiar with.Point is, we can all benefit from opportunities to sharpen the saw and minimize our mistakes.

#10 Accept vs. Except

#10 Accept vs. Except

English is a funny language. Like any other language it has advanced over the years. But because of the sheer diversity and simpleness of the language it is used all over the world, with varying accents and slight variations. Because of its simplicity it is easy to make mistakes in the language. Tripping up on such simple mistakes can be embarrassing in public.

Don't worry,we have a list here for you explaining the simple and the complicated differences between these words. They go from the simple differences between accept and except to the complicated differences between ironic and coincidental. Lets start with the first one. Accept means to receive something willingly: "His mom accepted his explanation" or "She accepted the gift graciously." Except signifies exclusion: "I can attend every meeting except the one next week." To help you remember, note that both except and exclusion begin with ex.

Knew that already? Go to the next page for a tougher problem with an even simpler solution. Read through it once and never trip up on your words again.

#9 Affect vs. Effect

To make these words even more confusing than they already are, both can be used as either a noun or a verb.Let's start with the verb usage of these words. Affect means to influence something or someone; effect means to accomplish something. "Your job was affected by the organizational restructuring" but "These changes will be effected on Monday."

As a noun, an effect is the result of something: "The sunny weather had a huge effect on sales." It's almost always the right choice because the noun affect refers to an emotional state and is rarely used outside of psychological circles: "The patient's affect was flat."

#8 Lie vs. Lay

We all know what a lie is. It stands for an untruth. It is the other usage of the same word that always confuses us. The word 'lie' also stands to denote a resting or reclined position. It can be used as - "Why don't you lie down and rest?" On the other hand the word lay requires an object: "Lay the book on the table." Lie is something you can do by yourself, but you need an object to lay.

The changing tenses only exist to complicate matters further. The past tense of lie is- you guessed it - to lay down. Example: "I lay down for an hour in the evening." While the past tense of lay is laid. Example: "I laid the book down on the table." While the tense changes the need for an object does not. Which makes it simpler to remember.

#7 Bring vs. Take

Bring describes the movement of something toward a specified location.Take, on the other hand, generally describes the movement of something away from a location.Example:"Bring me the newspaper, then take your shoes away from here."

A simple way to remember is if the movement is toward you, use bring; if the movement is away from you, use take.Simple as that. Go to the next page for the difference between ironic and coincidental.

#6 Ironic vs. Coincidental

A lot of people out there tend to get these two mixed up. The Alanis Morisette song does not help one bit in clearing things up. Ironic has several meanings, all of which include some type of reversal of what was expected. Verbal irony is when a person says one thing but clearly means another. Situational irony is when a result is the opposite of what was expected. O. Henry was a master of situational irony. In "The Gift of the Magi," Jim sells his watch to buy combs for his wife's hair, and she sells her hair to buy a chain for Jim's watch. Each character sold something precious to buy a gift for the other, but those gifts were intended for what the other person sold. That is true irony.

If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that's coincidental. If you drive up to the mountains to ski, and there was more snow back at your house, that's ironic. The reason people are always confused between the two is the confusion surrounding the appropriate use of 'irony'.

#5 Imply vs. Infer

Imply and infer are opposites, like a throw and a catch. To imply is to hint at something, but to infer is to make an educated guess. The speaker does the implying, and the listener does the inferring. Like baseball? Theodore Bernstein, in his classic The Careful Writer, gives us a way to keep imply and infer straight: "The implier is the pitcher; the inferrer is the catcher."

And there you have it. Go to the next page for the difference between nauseous and nauseated.

#4 Nauseous vs. Nauseated

If you're nauseated you're about to throw up, if you're nauseous, you're a toxic funk and you're going to make someone else puke. These words are used interchangeably so often that it makes word nerds feel nauseated!

Nauseated is how you feel after eating funnel cake and riding the tilt-a-whirl, when you're two months pregnant, or any other time you need a vomit bag. Nauseous, on the other hand, should be reserved to mean causing that feeling, not having it. But it's used so often now to mean "feeling sick," that dictionaries define it that way. Pro tip: If your circle includes ultra-particular grammar sticklers, never say "I'm nauseous" unless you want them to be snickering behind your back.

#3 Comprise vs. Compose

These are two of the most commonly misused words in the English language. Comprise means to include; compose means to make up. It all comes down to parts versus the whole. When you use comprise, you put the whole first: "A soccer game comprises (includes) two halves." When you use compose, you put the pieces first: "Fifty states compose (make up) the United States of America."

Go to the next page to know the difference between farther and further.

#2 Farther vs. Further

Farther refers to physical distance, while further describes the degree or extent of an action or situation. Example: "I can't run any farther," but "I have nothing further to say."

As a general rule of thumb to help you remember, if you need to substitute "more" or "additional," use further. Go to the next page for the last two words. Fewer and less.

#1 Fewer vs. Less

Use fewer when you're referring to separate items that can be counted; use less when referring to a whole: "You have fewer dollars, but less money."

Words and their usage changes as time passes. The English we speak today has evolved from day to day usage. The Dictionaries that some of us often like to quote our impeccable English from has evolved by looking at us and observing the changes in our language. Don't be afraid if you mess up once or twice. If everyone you know is using the word wrong it might just be added to the dictionary with your usage. Share this story and help out all of your friends.

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