Learning a language is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ kind of thing: no single style of learning will appeal to all learners. Use this guide to explore options that can help you improve your English language skills.
The following is a list of look-alike and sound-alike words that are commonly mixed up in English. This list presents the difference between the words, and provides an example of each word used in content.
[ Open All | Close All ]
|accept / except||accept: (verb) to receive, to agree||except: (preposition/conjunction) exclude, but, apart from|
|The terms of the contract were accepted.||All conditions apply, except the last point.|
|ad / add||ad: (noun) abbreviation for advertisement||add: (verb) to perform a mathematical procedure, to increase|
|The ad was clearly placed in the shop window.||Please add 6% sales tax to the purchase price|
|addition / edition||addition: (noun) also; mathematical procedure||edition: (noun) a particular version of a document|
|In addition, it can be argued that consumer dissatisfaction arises from an inability to aim advertising at only the likely buyers.||This is the third edition of the textbook.|
|advice / advise||advice: (noun) recommendation, guidance||advise: (verb) to recommend, to suggest|
|The lawyer gave his client some advice.||The client was advised by the lawyer.|
|affect / effect||affect: (verb) to influence||effect: (noun) an accomplishment; to bring about; being in full force|
|Globalisation has affected cultural identity.||The experience of the East Asian ecomonies demonstrates the positive effect of globalisation on economic growth.|
|aid / aide||aid: (verb) the act of helping||aide: (noun) a person acting as an assistant|
|The instructions will aid you in completing the test.||The political candidates brought their campaign aides to the meeting.|
|all ready / already||all ready: (word phrase) completed||already: (adverb) before, so soon|
|The order is all ready to send.||The company has already sent the invoice.|
|bare / bear||
1. naked; without; lacking
2. basic and simple; without essentials
1. a type of animal
2. to support, to hold up; to be accountable for
3. endure (an ordeal or difficulty)
4. turn and proceed in a different direction
1. The man was bare from the waist up.
2. He outlined the bare essentials of the story.
1. Bears have thick fur and a short tail.
2. We cannot bear the responsibility for misuse.
3. I cannot bear the pain.
4. Bear left at the next traffic light and follow the road to the end.
|be / bee||
1. to exist; to occur;
2. used with a present participle to form continuous tenses;
3. used with past participle to form the passive voice
|bee: (noun) an insect|
1. There are no easy answers.
2. The new boss is starting today.
3. The project was done by all members of the group.
|Customers enjoy our honey made by wild bees.|
|beside / besides||beside: (preposition of place) next to||besides: (preposition/adverb) in addition to; apart from|
|The price appears beside the product description.||I have no other family besides my parents.|
|billed / build||billed: (verb) to present a statement of costs or charges||build: (verb) to construct|
|You have been billed for your entire order.||All the parts are in the box, but you have to build it yourself.|
|brake / break||brake: (noun) a device for stopping or slowing motion||
1. (verb) to separate into parts; to smash
2. (noun) a pause
|We are recalling all 2000 models because of a problem with the brake.||
1. The glass will break if you drop it.
2. I need to take a break for 30 minutes.
|buy / by||buy: (verb) to purchase||
1. (preposition) identifies the agent performing an action; indicates the means of achieving something
2. (adverb) so as to go past
|I need to buy the ink cartridges for the printer.||
1. The man was arrested by the police. / Malaria can be controlled by attacking the parasite.
2. A man walked by on the other side of the
|choose / chose||choose: (verb) to select||chose: (verb) past tense of 'choose'|
|Students can choose up to four subjects per semester.||The student chose to study accounting.|
|complement / compliment||complement: (verb) to complete; add extra features||compliment: (verb / noun) to praise / an expression of praise|
|The red shoes will complement the outfit.||I'd like to compliment you for your good work.|
|continuously / continually||continuously: (adjective) uninterrupted or constant||continually: (adverb) reoccurring often|
|The video is played continuously.||We continually review and update our policies.|
|do / due||do: (verb) to perform or execute||due: (adjective) owed as a debt; expected|
|I was unable to do the assignment in time.||Payment is due upon acceptance.|
|envelop / envelope||envelop: (verb) to surround||envelope: (noun) container for a letter|
|We envelop the glass bottle with foam to prevent breakage.||Return your payment in the envelope provided.|
|ensure / insure||ensure: (verb) to make certain||insure: (verb) to protect against financial loss|
|We do everything to ensure your satisfaction.||You can insure the building against fire damage.|
|for / four||for: (preposition) used to indicate aim object, purpose, or recipient of an action||four: (noun) number|
|I run for health purposes.||You must study for four semesters to pass the course.|
|hear / here||hear: (verb) to perceive sound||here: (adverb) at or in this place|
|The students find it hard to hear the lecturer.||Here is your pen.|
|hole / whole||hole: (noun) an opening||whole: (adjective) entire; complete|
|To attach, insert the string in the hole.||I will tell you the whole story.|
|knew / new||knew: (verb) past tense of 'to know'; was aware of||new: (adjective) recent, unfamiliar (opposite to old)|
|He knew of the product defect.||The MAP is a new addition to our programs offered.|
|loose / lose||loose: (adjective) not tight; not fastened||lose: (verb) to misplace|
|The knot is too loose.||I frequently lose my keys.|
|made / maid||made: (verb) past tense of 'make'; constructed||maid: (noun) a servant|
|All of our products are made in Australia.||A maid is a female person employed in domestic services.|
|mail / male||mail: (noun) postal material||male: (noun) a man or a boy|
|The mail is delivered in the morning.||Please indicate whether the applicant is male or female.|
|morning / mourning||morning: (noun) time of day before noon||mourning: (noun) period of grieving|
|The meeting will be held tomorrow morning at 10am.||The nation is mourning the death of the president.|
|no / know||no: (exclamation/determiner) negative; not any||know: (verb) to have knowledge of|
|There is no excuse for your behaviour.||He knows the basic information.|
|overdo / overdue||overdo: (verb) to do too much||overdue: (adjective) beyond the expected time|
|If you overdo it at the gym, your muscles will be sore||Your assignment is a week overdue.|
|pair / pear||pair: (noun) two of a kind||pear: (noun) a fruit|
|I need to buy a new pair socks.||The pear is not ripe.|
|passed / past||passed: (verb) past tense of 'pass'; overtook, moved ahead; went beyond, surpassed||past: (noun) an earlier time|
|The car passed a big truck.||There have never been any problems with the software in the past.|
|personal / personnel||personal: (adjective) private||personnel: (noun) employees|
|Medical history is a personal matter.||All of our marketing personnel will work on the project.|
|plain / plane||plain: (adjective) simple||plane: (noun) airplane/aeroplane|
|Please write the instructions in plain terms.||The plane will arrive in 30 minutes.|
|precede / proceed||precede: (verb) to go before||proceed: (verb) to continue|
|A short speech will preceed the dinner.||I got permission to proceed with the transaction.|
|principle / principal||principle: (noun) a rule; standard of good behaviour||
1. (noun) head of a school
2. (adjective) most important
|The decision was based on principle, not profit.||
1. There is a new principal at the High School.
2. Vegetables are the principal ingredient in the soup.
|sale / sail||sale: (noun) the exchange of goods and services for money; disposal of goods at a lower price||sail: (verb) to travel by water|
|You can buy a computer in the end of year sales.||The ship will set sail on Monday.|
|scene / seen||scene: (noun) the place where an incident occurs||seen: (verb) past participle of 'see'; perceived with the eye|
|The emergency team were first on the scene.||The shoplifter was seen by the store assistant.|
|seams / seems||seams: (noun) lines formed by sewing fabric together||seems: (verb) appears|
|This sewing machine will guide you to sew straight seams.||Resolving the problem seems simple.|
|sew / so||sew: (verb) to stitch||so: (conjunction) therefore|
|I like to sew my own clothes.||He left a message, so I need to return his call.|
|site / cite||site: (noun) a location||cite: (verb) to quote; to reference in-text|
|This is a good site for school.||Please cite all of your sources of information.|
|stationary / stationery||stationary: (adjective) not moving||stationery: (noun) office supplies|
|The train has been stationary for a long time, there must be a problem on the tracks.||We need to order stationery for the new interns.|
|than / then||than: (conjunction & preposition) compared with||
1. at that time
2. after that
|Psychology degrees are more popular than philosophy degrees.||First, this essay will talk about the advantages of globalisation, then it will address the disadvantages.|
|their / there||their: (possessive pronoun) belonging to them||there: (adverb) in that place|
|I used their research in my assignment.||Place your assignments over there, on my desk.|
|through / threw||through: (preposition & adverb) from beginning to the end; moving from one side to the other||threw: (verb) past tense of 'throw'; tossed|
|We must make our way through the whole book by the end of the semester.||The window broke because the boy threw the ball through it.|
|to / too||to: (preposition) in the direction of||
|I gave my assignment to the tutor.||
1. There are many disadvantages too.
2. He was driving too fast.
|undo / undue||
1. to untie; to unfasten
2. to cancel or reverse the effects or results
|undue: (adjective) excessive; inappropriate|
1. The knot was difficult to undo.
2. I'm sorry that we can't undo our error.
|We determined the damage was cause by undue force.|
|waist / waste||waist: (noun) middle of the body||
1. (verb) to consume carelessly
2. (noun) unwanted or unusable material
|The size 10 dress has a 32-inch waist.||
1. We can't afford to waste electricity.
2. Through your waste into the rubbish bin.
|wait / weight||wait: (verb) rest in anticipation||weight: (noun) the heaviness of a person or thing|
|You must wait until July for your exam results.||The shipping fees are based on the weight of the package.|
|where / wear||where: (adverb) the place or situation in which||wear: (verb) to dress in|
|1. Where do you live?||What shoe size do you normally wear?|
|weather / whether||
weather: (noun) the state of the atmosphere at a particular place and time with regards to heat, cloudiness, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc.
|whether: (conjunction) if|
|If the weather is good ,we can go to the beach.||I am wondering whether I can return the items I bought online.|
|we're / were||we're: (contraction) we are||were: (verb) past tense of 'to be'; was in existence|
|We're the leader in private education.||Both companies were founded in 1991.|
|wood / would||wood: (noun) lumber; material from trees used for fuel or timber||
1. past tense of 'will'
2. indicating the consequence of an imaginary event or situation
|The entire chair is made from wood.||
1. He said he would give us back our assignments on Monday.
2. He would lose his job if he were caught.
|write / right||write: (verb) to form letters/words||
1. (adjective/adverb) correct
2. (noun) a direction
|You must write your exam answers in pen.||
1. I'm not sure I know the right answer.
2. Turn right at the next stop sign.
|your / you're||your: (possessive pronoun) belonging to you||you're: (contraction) you are|
|Bring your identification when you register.||You're expected to arrive on time.|
It's difficult to know how to pronounce 'ed' in English because it's pronounced in three different ways. However, there are simple rules to help you get it right every time.
Which pronunciation to use depends on the final sound of the word before the 'ed'. Be careful - it's the final sound, not the letter!
The three pronunciations are:
[ Open All | Close All ]
like in ‘painted’ – ‘paint-id’
If the verb ends with a ‘d’ or ‘t’ sound, the ‘ed’ is pronounced [id].
Be careful! It’s the final sound, not the letter. E.g. ‘decide’ ends in the letter ‘e’, but the final sound is ‘d’ (the ‘e’ is silent)
like in ‘hoped’ – ‘hope-t’
If the verb ends with the following sounds, the 'ed' is pronounced [t]:
'c', 'f', 'k', 'p', 's', 'x', 'ch', 'sh', 'gh'
'c' - danced
'f' - sniffed
'k' - walked
'p' - stopped
's' - promised
'x' - fixed
'ch' - watched
'sh' - finished
'gh' - laughed
like in ‘played’ – ‘play-d’
THE RULE For all vowel sounds (e.g. 'ay', 'ow', 'e', 'ie', 'oe', 'ue') and all other sounds that do not fit the other rules, the 'ed' is pronounced [d].
There are many words in English that end in the letter 's', such as:
Just like the 'ed' pronunciation in English, it can sometimes be hard to know how to pronounce 's' at the end of a word. Which pronunciation to use depends on the sound before the 's' . Be careful - it's the sound, not the letter!
The three pronunciations are:
[ Open All | Close All ]
like in ‘books’ – ‘book-s’
Voiceless - Any time a word has a sound before the 's' that has NO vibration in the vocal chords, the 's' will continue the lack of vibration and sound like an [s].
Voiceless sounds include:
'p', 't', 'k', 'f', 'ph', 'gh', 'th'
'p' - stops
't' - hats
'k' - hooks
'f' - beliefs
'gh' - laughs
'ph' - graphs
'th' - moths
like in ‘gloves’ – ‘glove-z’
Voiced - Any time a word has a shound just before the 's' that has the vibration, the vibration will carry forward and transform the letter 's' into the [z] sound. This ending is also used when the word ends in a vowel sound.
Voiced sounds include:
'b', 'd', 'g', 'l', 'm', 'n', 'ng', 'r', 'v', 'w', 'y', 'the'
'b' - crabs
'd' - words
'g' - bags
'l' - deals
'n' - pens
'ng' - kings
'r' - wears
'v' - drives
'y' - plays
'the' - clothes
vowel sounds - sees, flies
like in ‘bridges’ – ‘bridge-iz’
Sibilant - Any time a word has a sound just before the 's' that is produced by forcing air out toward your teeth (a hissing or buzzing), an extra syllable is required in order to articulate the sounds. In these words, the 's' is pronounced [iz].
These sounds include:
'c', 's', 'x', 'z', 'ss', 'ch', 'sh', 'ge'
'c' - races
's' - pauses
'x' - boxes
'z' - quizzes
'ss' - misses
'ch' - teaches
'sh' - wishes
'ge' - changes
Learn the basics about how to successfully communicate with lecturers, tutors and other members of staff. These basic guidelines can be applied to any professional setting!
THE BASIC RULES
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (using your TOP email will ensure your email doesn't go to spam)
"Booking a consultation time” Leave it blank
"Absence from class" Hi
Dear / Hello Kate Miss/Mrs
Dear / Hello Dr/Prof/Mr/Ms Smith Hey / Yo!
TTYL i u cuz lol wanna dunno gotta