5 pairs of confused words I’ve recently come across

LOSE/LOOSE (both verbs)
This was not, in fact recent, but when I was teaching, many moons ago, I had a cover lesson for an absent English teacher. One child brought his work up to show me. I glanced at the previous work done and marked by the said English teacher.
I cannot remember the exact sentence the boy had written, but let’s say it was something like ‘If you aren’t careful you’ll lose your wallet’ Imagine my shock when I noticed the boy had written ‘lose’, correctly spelling it, but the teacher (English teacher remember) had crossed it out and written ‘loose’.

LOSE is to misplace something.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

LOOSE is to release, or to not be tight as in my shoelaces are loose) .

WET/WHET (both verbs)
The second of these is often rendered like the first. I recently came across it as ‘wet his appetite.’

WET. Covered in water, or has water soaked into it. It can be other liquids, too.

Image by Jason Gillman from Pixabay

WHET. To sharpen
You use a whetstone to sharpen a knife (or dagger) I used to think, when I was little, that the said stone had to be used after putting water on it. But it’s a sharpening stone.
Similarly the scent of cooking will whet (sharpen) your appetite for the meal to come.

INSURE/ENSURE (both verbs)
Now these are becoming interchangeable, it seems. In fact, INSURE seems to be taking over, But in fact they have different meanings.

Image by Maaark from Pixabay

ENSURE. To make sure something does or does not happen.
e.g. I will lock the door to ENSURE no one gets into the house while I’m out shopping.

Image by Henryk Niestrój from Pixabay

INSURE. This is to make payments to a company who will pay you money in compensation if the thing insured against happens.
e.g. ‘When I go on holiday, I take out travel insurance in case something goes wrong.’

IMPLY/INFER. (both verbs)
I heard these confused recently on BBC radio 4.IMPLY. To suggest something without actually saying it.
e.g.‘Are you implying that I’m not telling the truth?’
INFER. To draw a conclusion from something that has not been specifically said.
e.g. ‘I infer from what you said, that he told lies about it.’

This one I read in a book recently, Hoard was used instead of Horde!

Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay

HOARD. A verb or a noun.
Verb. To accumulate something, then hide it from others.
Noun. A secret stock of money or other valuables that is usually kept secret.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

HORDE. A large group of people, although it can be used of other living things.
e.g.The pied piper of Hamelin led a HORDE of rats away from the town.
There was a HORDE of football fans coming down the street toward me.

I hope these few words of mine help you in your use of the English Language.

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