Common Mistakes and Commonly Confused Words

English has a large number of homophones—words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings. In addition, there are many pairs of words that sound very similar but are slightly different when pronounced carefully, as well as those that are similar enough in spelling or meaning that they are often confused for one another in speech and writing.
In this section, we’ll look at various sets of words that are commonly confused in writing due to these factors, highlighting the specific part (or parts) of the words that give writers trouble. We’ll also look at some other minor spelling errors that writers sometimes encounter.
Where possible, we’ll try to offer some mnemonic devices and other quick tips to help remember which spelling is the correct one. We’ll also include mini-quizzes for some of the more difficult sets to test your ability to use each word correctly.

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