Commonly Confused Words
1. Agnostic & Atheist
Agnostic refers to person who claims that they cannot have true knowledge about the existence of God (but does not deny that God might exist).
Usage Example: Agnostic to begin with, he changed his mind when his daughter was saved miraculously.
Atheist means a person who does not believe in God or gods.
Usage Example: His atheist leanings deterred his political career.
2. Aid & Aide
Aid means to provide support for or relief to; help.
Usage Example: Government aid was rushed to the famine-hit areas.
Aide means an assistant or helper, especially a confidential one.
Usage Example: She instructed her aide to deal with the mundane matters himself.
3. Ail & Ale
Ail means to cause pain, uneasiness, or trouble to.
Usage Example: The continued silence of her son ailed her.
Ale means a malt beverage, darker, heavier, and bitterer than beer, containing about 6 percent alcohol by volume.
Usage Example: The two friends walked merrily out of the inn after consuming large draughts of ale.
4. All mighty & Almighty
All mighty means very; to a great degree.
Usage Example: The guests were all mightily pleased to see the dance floor.
Almighty means having unlimited power; omnipotent, as God.
Usage Example: By the grace of the almighty the roads were cleared of the boulders.
5. All ready & Already
All ready means completely prepared or in condition for immediate action or use or progress.
Usage Example: They were all ready and excited to go to the picnic.
Already means by this or that time; previously; prior to or at some specified or implied time.
Usage Example: They had already decided to immigrate so the change of government did not affect them.
6. All together & Altogether
All together means used of a group whose members acted or were acted upon collectively.
Usage Example: The clothes lay all together in a heap on the floor.
Altogether means wholly; entirely; completely; quite.
Usage Example: The premises was altogether destroyed I the fire.
7. All ways & Always
All ways is related to how something is done or how it happens and means every existing possibility, every method.
Usage Example: He was a loser in all ways.
Always means all the time; continuously; uninterruptedly.
Usage Example: He is always posing to be very busy.
8. Allay, Alley & Ally
Allay means to lessen or relieve; mitigate; alleviate.
Usage Example: He managed to allay the fears of the small child.
Alley means a passage, as through a continuous row of houses, permitting access from the street to backyards, garages, etc.
Usage Example: The alleys were dingy and badly lit.
Ally means to enter into an alliance; join; unite.
Usage Example: The two allies signed the agreement.
9. Allusion, Delusion, Elusion & Illusion
Allusion means a passing or casual reference; an incidental mention of something, either directly or by implication.
Usage Example: The author's allusion to Helen meant that the readers would assume she was referring to Helen of Troy.
Delusion means a false belief or opinion.
Usage Example: He has delusions of his own competence of dealing with the matter.
Elusion means the act of avoiding capture (especially by cunning).
Usage Example: He eluded the policeman by posing to be a beggar.
Illusion means the state or condition of being deceived; misapprehension.
Usage Example: The rainbow though an optical illusion is a treat to watch.
10. Altar & Alter
Altar means a raised place or structure where sacrifices are offered and religious rites performed.
Usage Example: In Solomon's temple the altar was made of cedar wood and was overlaid with gold.
Alter means to make different in some particular, as size, style, course, or the like; modify.
Usage Example: His alter ego was a force to reckon with.