For you to understand a word properly, you need to see how it is used in concrete context. No dictionary is able to do this because that dictionary will be so heavy and huge that I don’t think you want to buy it.
The following are words confused by the engineers and the managers. If you are appearing for the GCE English paper, or for College Entrance Exams, you need to master them by now.
Associate (noun: declaring oneself in agreement)
Partner (noun: a person who takes part in a business with shared risks and profits)
Correct: Mr. Brown is our business associate.
Correct: Mr. Hill is one of the partners in this company.
Assignation (noun: a secret appointment to meet between illicit lovers)
Assignment (noun: handling over of something)
Correct: The hotel owner arranged assignation for this gentleman and the lady.
Correct: My last assignment was to teach English language to engineers
who graduated from non-English medium colleges.
Arouse (verb: to give rise to, especially a feeling or emotion, to induce)
Rouse (verb: to stir to action or to bring out of a state of sleep)
Correct: His nervousness aroused the suspicions of the police.
Correct: The loud bang of the thunder roused every body last night.
Abjure (noun: to renounce or repudiate)
Adjure (verb: to request earnestly)
Correct: He abjured the consuming of meats from today.
Correct: His friend adjured him to consider carefully before handing over his
Abrogate (verb: to abolish)
Arrogate (verb: to assume without right)
Correct: Slavery was abrogated long ago.
Correct: The maintenance head arrogated the recruiting responsibility.
Appraise (verb: to estimate or evaluate the worth of)
Apprise (verb: to inform or advise)
Assess (verb: to estimate the size, quality, or value of)
Correct: Before you appraise the employees, you will not know which are the ones to
Correct: The king has not yet been apprised of the decision by the armed forces.
Correct: Our accountants assessed the amount of tax we had to pay last year.
Amoral (adj.: cannot understand the concept of right or wrong)
Immoral (adj.: morally wrong, wicked, evil)
Correct: The truly amoral people are the babies and the lunatics
Correct: It is immoral to kill innocent people.
Await (verb: wait for)
Wait (verb: defer)
Correct: A surprise awaits you for your next birthday.
Correct: We waited for a month before we received the cargo.
Assume (verb: to accept as true without proof)
Presume (verb: to accept as true with something to back up, but not a strong evidence)
Correct: The customers did not complain before and therefore we assumed they are
Correct: We received a complaint from one of our customers before and therefore we
presumed majority of them were not satisfied with our service.
Assure (verb: to reassure, make confident)
Insure (verb: to safe guard against loss or damage by paying insurance)
Ensure (verb: to make certain)
Correct: We assured the casualty that we could reach a hospital within an hour.
Correct: He insures his cargo for a million dollars.
Correct: I ensure the client will receive the component by next week.
Aircraft (noun: machine capable of flight, word is used as singular or plural)
Aeroplane (noun: powered aircraft with wings, British spelling)
Airplane (noun: powered aircraft with wings, U.S. spelling)
Correct: One of the aircraft was damaged by the terrorists.
Correct: The aeroplane / airplane landed safely.
Alternate (adj.: following each other in succession)
Alternative (noun: a choice between one of two or more things)
Correct: These two groups of people work on alternate days.
Correct: There will be a lot of alternatives to consider.
Although (conj.: despite the fact that)
Though (conj.: Interchangeable with although except at the end of a sentence, e.g.
They looked tired, though.)
Correct: Although he was having fever, he came to work.
Correct: Though he was sick, he came to work.
Correct: You’re going to England tomorrow, aren’t you?
Wrong: You’re going to England tomorrow, isn’t it?
Advise (verb: offering words of opinion)
Advice (noun: words offered as an opinion)
Correct: He advises her not to waste the money.
Wrong: He advices her not to waste the money
Correct: She was not happy with his advice.
Wrong: She was not happy with his advise.
Am not going to do nothing
Correct: I am not going to do anything today.
Wrong: I am not going to do nothing today.
Allude (verb: to mention something indirectly, without identifying it)
Elude (verb: to manage to get away from)
Correct: He uses his poems to allude the corrupt practices of his manager.
Correct: He eluded paying some income tax last year.
Allusion (noun: indirect reference to something, a hint)
Illusion (noun: deception)
Correct: The allusion of the poem was about the corrupt manager
Correct: All the sufferings and pains are caused by greed, hatred and illusion.
All right (predic.: in satisfactory condition)
Alright (adv.: less frequently used than “All Right”, but readily found in journalistic and
business publications, or in fictional dialogue)
Correct: It is all right / alright to be late because your presence will not affect anyone.
Award (verb: to bestow for performance or quality)
Reward (verb: to give something in return for a meritorious action or service)
Correct: The best employee for the year was awarded with a return air ticket to
a destination of his or her choice.
Correct: The first aider was rewarded for his bravery in saving the life of the casualty.
Abnormal (adj.: does not conform to the rule or standard)
Subnormal (adj.: below or inferior to the average)
Correct: The abnormal guy urinates on the road when all the tourists are there.
Correct: Because his intelligence is subnormal, he failed his driving test six times.
Absurd (adj.: wildly unreasonable)
Ridiculous (adj.: unreasonable)
Correct: It is absurd for the factory owner to demand that all workers must
work 14 hours per day, six days per week.
Correct: It is ridiculous to believe the people like you because you are rich.
Accessory (noun: additional or extra things fitted to cars, equipment etc)
Accessary (noun: someone involved in a crime but did not actually commit it as chief
Correct: I wish to buy this car without accessories.
Correct: Because Abang was an accessary to that crime, he escaped
the death sentence and was jailed for ten years.
Affable (adj.: agreeable, friendly)
Efface (verb: to make disappear)
Correct: The new director was an affable person.
Correct: Although the document had been folded many times, we were lucky the name
of the author was not totally effaced.
Amend (verb: to alter, change)
Emend (verb: to correct, or improve by removing errors and corruptions)
Correct: This society must amend its constitution so that even the foreigners can
Correct: Many monks sat together to comment on a religious document, so as to
emend it, by removing errors and corrupted portions for the sake of the
Adjacent (adj.: lying near or close)
Adjoining (verb: suggests actually touching)
Correct: His workshop is adjacent to mine.
Correct: His workshop adjoins mine. (in a terrace or semi-detached)
Annunciate (verb: to proclaim or promulgate)
Enunciate (verb: to pronounce clearly)
Correct: The new leaders gathered on that day to annunciate the formation of a
Republic of China, thus ending the over 4000 year-old kingdom.
Correct: Phonetic teachers who are able to enunciate each English
word properly are most appreciated.