10 Tricky English Words

English abounds in words that confuse the bejesus out of people.

Who amongst us is not torn between forego and forgo or confused over the difference between ingenious and ingenuous when writing an essay!

In this post, I’ve picked a bunch of English words that frequently flummox the best of us.

1. Idol, Idle, Idyll

Idol means an effigy; idle suggests inactivity or unemployed; and idyll means an happy interlude

2. Imply, Infer

Imply is to say something indirectly or insinuate while infer means deduce or conclude

3. Carat, caret, carrot, karat

Carat is a weight measurement for gemstones like diamonds; caret is a mark made by editors or proofreaders; carrot is a vegetable; karat refers to the purity of gold (as in 24-karat gold)

4. Forego, Forgo

Forego means precede while forgo is a synonym for abstain

5. Ingenious, Ingenuous

While ingenuous means innocent, ingenious is a synonym for clever.

6. Stationary, Stationery

Stationary means not moving while stationery refers to writing paper

7. Purposely, Purposefully

8. Aisle, Isle

Aisle refers to a corridor while isle means an island

9. Insight, Incite

Insight and incite have completely different meanings.

Insight refers to understanding, knowledge or comprehension.

Incite means to prove or stir up.

10. Reek, Wreak

Reek is a synonym for bad smell. Wreak means inflict.

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