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Confusing Words

In my Which Word? article I discussed commonly mis-used words.

Recent questions from clients have focused around when and how to use these words correctly.

The simplest words can often be the most confusing to use in the correct context.

Here are examples of when to use some of our confusing words.

Confusing WordExample
YourHere is your copy of the report.
You'reI hope you're feeling better.
AffectThis decision will affect the outcome of the elections.
EffectI don't think it will have any effect on the outcome.
ItsThe coach will be able to help the team to achieve its goals.
It'sIt's going to be a relaxing holiday.
PieceWould you like a piece of cake?
PeaceOur aim is to bring about peace.
CouncilThe local council clean up will take place on Tuesday.
CounselSue will be able to counsel you on the best action to take.
TherePlace the bags over there.
TheirThis is their first visit to Australia.
They'reThey're visiting Sydney and then going to Brisbane.
QuiteIt's quite cold today.
QuietThis is a quiet location.
AdviceShe gave good advice.
AdviseI'd advise you to go a different way.
ToKaren is going to the city.
TooI'm feeling hungry too.
TwoDavid has two siblings.
PracticeThe law practice is located in Sydney.
PractiseThe best way to improve your speaking skills is to practise.

Benefits for you

There are benefits in being aware of the confusing words in the English language.

When you check what you have written you are:

  • More likely to pick up these common errors ensuring their mis-use are no longer a distracter for your clients and colleagues
  • Able to present yourself and your business in a professional manner.

More tips

For more tips on how to use words well, check out:


Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. Her programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
30 Business Communication Tips

Looking for tips to help you with your speaking, writing and interpersonal communication?

Then download my free ebook, 30 Business Communication Tips.

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  1. James Birtwistle

    How true, Maria, recently I have noticed spelling errors with amazing regularity in the media as well as in personal communication.

    Is this a flaw of the education system, carelessness and laziness, and a 'who cares, let the reader work it out' selfishness on the part of the writer?

    • Maria Pantalone

      Hi James

      Thanks for your comments. You've posed an interesting question. An additional point to consider is that nowadays everyone seems to be dealing with information overload and time-constraints.

      In the case of the media, could it be more to do with 'getting the story out first'? In so doing, the writer hasn't considered the impact of their mis-use of words on their readers.

      I also thinking texting has had an impact on how people write generally. It's becoming commonplace to see poorly formed sentences in emails with the shortening of words and phrases.

      I may have posed even more questions. 🙂

      Thanks again for your comments.


  2. Ewa Kapusniak

    Maria, thank you for this blog. It is a common theme with wrong words used in the context in a sentence or paragraph. There are other words that I could add to the list above that I struggle with, not only in writing but also in speaking.
    Also,I love your weekly tips and blogs! Keep up the awesome work, thank you.

    • Maria Pantalone

      Thanks for your feedback, Ewa.

      I'm pleased that you're enjoying the blog posts and my weekly tips.

      If you feel comfortable doing so, feel free to post your list of words here. They may help others who are also having similar experiences with those words.


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