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53 words and phrases that are often misunderstood

English is a peculiar language where both speaking and reading skills enhances you. People usually misunderstand words and phrases. This due to lack of comprehension and usage of grammar. A problem occurs where different words would be pronounced in a same way or the same word used in different situations. Let’s look on some commonly used words and phrases:


  1. Lie- Lay: Lie and Lay are two words are often misused for others. Lie means to rest on a surface whereas Lay means to put something in place.
  2. Toward- Afterward-Anyway: These words should never end with ‘S’.
  3. Fewer- Less: ‘Fewer’ is sued when you count while ‘Less’ is used for things you cannot count.
  4. Farther- Further: When referring to physical distance we use the word ‘Farther’ and Further means Advancement or progress.
  5. Capitol – Capital: Capitol is the word for a noun. Capital refers to money in a venture.
  6. Ensure – Insure: Ensure is like promise or guarantee. You insure a car or house.
  7. Beck and Call: These words are often misused as ‘Beckon call’. This phrase means being made available.
  8. Climactic – Climatic: Climactic is used for the sense of climax whereas climactic is used when referring to climate.
  9. Accept – Except: Accept which means to ‘receive’. It’s a verb. Except means not top include which is a preposition.
  10. Affect – Effect: Affect is to influence. Effect is the result of an event.
  11. Elicit – Illicit: Elicit means to revoke or bring out. It is a verb. Illicit means unlawful which is used in terms on adjective.
  12. Perspective – Prospective: Perspective is a unique way to take on events. Prospective means potential.
  13. Gauge – Gouge:  Gauge is referred in terms of reaction. Gouge means to focus on a particular thing for a long time.
  14. Prosperity – Posterity: Prosperity means wealth. Posterity is used when we refer future generations.
  15. Principal – Principle :   Principle means law or basic rule whereas Principal is a noun, the head of the school
  16. Tenet – Tenant: Tenet is rule while we are discussing a subject. The one who rents is a tenant.
  17. Rein – Reign – Rain:  The tendency to overreact is often termed as Rein, while a monarch reigns over his or her empire. Rain falls from the sky.
  18. By and Large:  This phrase is usually mistaken as ‘By in Large’. This phrase is used while discussing a subject in general sense.
  19. Solidarity – Solitary: Solidarity referred in terms of supporting or joining a movement. Solitary means alone or lonely or isolated.
  20. Weary – Wary:  Weary means tired. It also means jaded. Wary means suspicious. You would be wary of a candidate with terrible references.
  21. Leery – Leer: Leery also means suspicious. Leer is to stare in a appropriate way.
  22. Broach – Breach – Brooch:  Breach is to cross the rules. Broach the subject tomorrow while wearing your grandmother’s lucky brooch.
  23. Fleshing – Flushing: Fleshing is to investigate and find out more in details.  Flush is to remove or turn down.
  24. Banal – Blase:  Banal means boring. Blase means unconcerned.

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