Commonly Confused Words
1. Alternate & Alternative
(a) To interchange repeatedly and regularly with one another in time or place; rotate (usually followed by with).
Usage Example: The guards have alternate duties.
(b) To change back and forth between conditions, states, actions, etc.
Usage Example: He is like a rolling stone; he alternates between success and failure.
Alternative means a choice limited to one of two or more possibilities, as of things, propositions, or courses of action, the selection of which precludes any other possibility.
Usage Example: he has the alternative of travelling by car if he does not want to go by train.
2. Amiable & Amicable
Amiable means having or showing pleasant, good-natured personal qualities; affable.
Usage Example: Nature has blessed her with an amiable disposition.
Amicable means characterized by or showing goodwill; friendly; peaceable:
Usage Example: An amicable solution to the problem was arrived at with the intervention of the law officer.
3. Amity & Enmity
Amity means friendship; peaceful harmony.
Usage Example: The amity amongst neighbors led them to help each other in trying times.
Enmity means a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism.
Usage Example: Their enmity worsened with time.
4. Amoral & Immoral
Amoral means not involving questions of right or wrong; without moral quality; neither moral nor immoral.
Usage Example: Being a completely amoral person, he was oblivious to the sufferings of others.
Immoral means transgressing accepted moral rules; corrupt.
Usage Example: In their opinion, colonialism was immoral.
5. Apposite & Opposite
Apposite means suitable; well-adapted; pertinent; relevant; apt.
Usage Example: by looking at the man he guessed his observation to be apposite.
Opposite means contrary or radically different in some respect common to both, as in nature, qualities, direction, result, or significance; opposed.
Usage Example: The opinion of both the journalists on that matter is opposite.
6. Appraise & Apprise
Appraise means to estimate the monetary value of; determine the worth of; assess.
Usage Example: Before selling the estate they had to get it appraised.
Apprise means to give notice to; inform; advise (often followed by of).
Usage Example: She went to apprise him about the coming events.
7. Auger & Augur
Auger is a boring tool, similar to but larger than a gimlet, consisting of a bit rotated by a transverse handle.
Usage Example: He took out his auger to drill a hole in the door.
Augur means to serve as an omen or promise of; foreshadow; betoken.
Usage Example: Promising sales figures augur well for the growth of the company.
8. Aureole & Oriole
Aureole means any encircling ring of light or color; halo.
Usage Example: A beautiful golden aureole surrounded the setting sun.
Oriole is any of several usually brightly colored, passerine birds of the family Oriolidae, of the Old World.
Usage Example: The oriole family built a nest on the tree in the back yard.
9. Auricle & Oracle
Auricle is the auricular appendage, an ear-shaped appendage projecting from each atrium of the heart.
Usage Example: Her torn auricle was repaired surgically.
Oracle means (especially in ancient Greece) an utterance, often ambiguous or obscure, given by a priest or priestess at a shrine as the response of a god to an inquiry.
Usage Example: The scriptures are sometimes referred to as oracles.
10. Aver, Avert & Evert
Aver means to assert or affirm with confidence; declare in a positive or peremptory manner.
Usage Example: He averred to be innocent.
Avert means to turn away or aside.
Usage Example: She averted her eyes on seeing him arrive.
Evert means turn inside out; turn the inner surface of outward.
Usage Example: She everted her eyelids to hide the pain.
11. Among & Amongst
Among is used to indicate a division, choice, or differentiation involving three or more participants.
Usage Example: The teacher distributed the sweets among her students.
Amongst is just a variant form of 'among'. There is no difference in the meaning of two words.
Usage Example: They do not fight amongst themselves like our group does.
12. Assure & Ensure
Assure means to tell or promise a person that a particular thing will definitely happen. In other words, you give an 'assurance' to someone.
Usage Example: I assure you that this car is safe to drive.
Ensure means that you make certain that a particular thing happens. In other words, you fulfill the conditions of that particular event.
Usage Example: She needs to study hard to ensure a good grade.