Commonly Confused Words
1. Complacent & Complaisant
Complacent means pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied.
Usage Example: The buoyancy in the market made the investors complacent.
Complaisant means inclined or disposed to please; obliging; agreeable or gracious; compliant.
Usage Example: He was surrounded by complaisant, irritating aides.
2. Complement & Compliment
Complement means something that completes or makes perfect.
Usage Example: Perfect dinner setting is a complement to the meal.
Compliment means an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration.
Usage Example: A compliment if sincere increases the efficiency of a person.
3. Condemn & Contemn
Condemn means to express an unfavorable or adverse judgment on; indicate strong disapproval of; censure or to force into a specific state or activity.
Usage Example: Being uneducated condemned him to a life of abject poverty.
Contemn means to treat or regard with disdain, scorn, or contempt.
Usage Example: It is easy to contemn the work of others but difficult to do the same in their position.
4. Cache & Cachet
Cache means a hiding place, especially one in the ground, for ammunition, food, treasures, etc.
Usage Example: The squirrels hid their cache of food and tidbits in a small hole in the tree.
Cachet means a distinguishing mark or feature; stamp:superior status; prestige.
Usage Example: Courteous behavior is a cachet of good breeding.
5. Calvary & Cavalry
Cavalry means the part of a military force composed of troops that serve on horseback.
Usage Example: The cavalry unit was stationed at the northern border.
Calvary means the place just outside the walls of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified.
Usage Example: The name Calvary is the Latin translation of 'Place of the Skull'.
6. Capital & Capitol
Capital means the city or town that is the official seat of government in a country, state, etc.
Usage Example: The state capital housed all the important offices.
Capitol means the building in Washington, D.C., used by the Congress of the U.S. for its sessions.
Usage Example: The Capitol building in Washington is situated on Capitol Hill.
7. Condemnation & Commendation
Condemnation means strong censure; disapprobation; reproof.
Usage Example: He was very vehement in the condemnation of caste divide.
Commendation means the act of commending; recommendation; praise.
Usage Example: He was a miser in the field of commendation, rarely did he ever praise someone.
8. Confidant, Confidante & Confident
Confidant means a close friend or associate to whom secrets are confided or with whom private matters and problems are discussed.
Usage Example: There were some facts of the case which he did not reveal to his confidant also.
Confidante means a woman to whom secrets are confided or with whom private matters and problems are discussed.
Usage Example: Being a close confidante of the Queen meant that she had to keep a lot of things close to her chest.
Confident means having strong belief or full assurance; sure.
Usage Example: He was confident of winning the debate.
9. Conscience, Conscientious & Conscious
Conscience means the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action.
Usage Example: She held back her words as if she had something weighing on her conscience.
Conscientious means careful and painstaking; particular; meticulous; scrupulous.
Usage Example: Adolf Hitler, known to be a tyrant was, on the other hand, a kind and conscientious employer.
Conscious means having the mental faculties fully active.
Usage Example: She was conscious of the beauty of the inner self.
10. Contemptible & Contemptuous
Contemptible means deserving of or held in contempt; despicable.
Usage Example: The contemptible fraud went on for years.
Contemptuous means showing or expressing contempt or disdain; scornful; disrespectful.
Usage Example: How much ever he smiled he could not keep the contemptuousness he felt for them out of his voice.