Tag Archives: spelling

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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10 commonly misspelled words.

There are some words that many people have trouble with. I know there are some that I need to think about, so I decided it might be a good idea to do a series of posts of some of these words.. I hope it helps you with your spelling.

Absence: not Absense.

Accommodate: two cs and 2 ms.

Acquainted: It has a c and a qu.

A lot: not alot (It appears Alot is a town in India!)

Analysis: not analisis.

Beginning: Two ns.

Business: not busness (or even bisness.)

Ceiling: not celing, (or sealing, which is stopping hole.)

Committed: Two ms, two ts

Committee: two ms, two ts and two es.

I hope this helps you. Look out for more next month.

Leave your comments in the comments box. All are welcome as long as they are polite!

Words That Don’t Follow Normal Plural Rules


Today I’m going to discuss a few words that don’t form the plural by adding the letter ‘s’. These words come mainly from foreign ‘imports’, although a lot are very old. Some people are confused by these words and use the plural as a singular.
So here we go.

 Singular: Bacterium        Plural: Bacteria
 Singular: Phenomenon        Plural: Phenomena
 Singular: Medium            Plural: Media
 Singular: Datum            Plural: Data
 Singular: Criterion            Plural: Criteria
 Singular: Cactus            Plural: Cacti
 Singular: Fungus            Plural: Fungi
 Singular: Stadium            Plural: Stadia
 Singular: Nucleus            Plural: Nuclei
 Singular: Syllabus            Plural: Syllabi
 Singular: Focus            Plural: Foci
 Singular: Thesis            Plural: Theses
 Singular: Crisis            Plural: Crises
 Singular: Index            Plural: Indices
 Singular: Appendix        Plural: Appendices

It is becoming more acceptable to hear ‘stadiums’, ‘syllabuses’ and ‘indexes’, although they grate on me, personally, but my least favourites are when I hear ‘criteria’, ‘bacteria’, ‘fungi’ and ‘phenomena’ used as singular nouns. Grrrrr!

Now for some that don’t change for the plural.

 sheep
 deer
 fish (although the word ‘fishes’ can be used if referring to a number of different types of the creatures. e.g. There was a great variety of fishes swimming around on the reef.)
 aircraft
 moose
 offspring
 species
 salmon
 trout

Now what about those that are completely different in the plural? Here we have the following:

 Singular: Child            Plural: Children
 Singular: Man            Plural: Men
 Singular: Woman            Plural: Women
 Singular: Mouse            Plural: Mice
 Singular: Goose            Plural: Geese (N.B. The plural of ‘mongoose’ is not ‘mongeese’, but ‘mongooses’. Wierd, I know, but that’s the English language for you.)
 Singular: Die             Plural: Dice
 Singular: Foot             Plural: Feet
 Singular: Louse             Plural: Lice
 Singular: Ox             Plural: Oxen
 Singular: Person             Plural: People
 Singular: Tooth             Plural: Teeth

I hope this has helped some of you, at least. I would like to know if there are any I’ve forgotten, or about any that personally grate on you when you hear them misused.


20 commonly mis-spelled words

Here are some commonly misspelled words in English. 113biggestbookdubai

 Acceptable, not Acceptible
 Accessible, not Accessable
 Achieved, not Acheived
 Acquire, not aquire
 Analysis, not Analasis
 Business, not Busness
 Ceiling, not Cieling
 Consistent, not Consistant
 Definite, not Definate
 Discipline, not Disipline
 Exhilarate, not Exilarate
 Exceed, not Exeed
 Forfeit, not Forfit (or Forfiet)
 February, not Febuary
 Height, not hight (or hieght)
 Heirarchy, not Hierarchy (or Hirarchy)
 Independent, not Independant
 Inoculate, not Innoculate
 Leisure, not Liesure
 Liaise, not Liase

English is a very odd language as far as spelling is concerned. This is because it has words and roots from many other languages. There are still a few Celtic words, although not very many. Then the Romans came bringing Latin.


Latin was the language of scholars and it is only within living memory that it was a requirement to gain entry to Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England. The Roman Catholic Church used Latin in its services until comparatively recently, and many mottos are still in Latin.


After the Romans left these isles, we were invaded by Scandinavian. These brought their own languages with them. Today, in Scotland in particular, there are many words similar, if not the same, as those in the Scandinavian languages. Dialect words often very old and date back to those languages.

There were also the Saxons. they brought Germanic languages to this country and we have many words that are very similar to the German equivalent. An example is Mutter, meaning Mother, and Haus, meaning House.


After the Saxons came the Normans. They were, incidentally the last people to successfully invade these isles. This was in 1066. They brought French. The Normans became the ruling classes and spoke French. The workers spoke Anglo-Saxon. This explains why we have differences in the names of food we eat and the animals it comes from.

The French for a bull is Boeuf from which comes Beef. But in the field it is called a Bull, cow or in the plural, cattle.


The French for a sheep is Mouton, from which comes Mutton, but in the field it’s still the old word, sheep.

The French for a calf is Veau from whence we get Veal.

You get the picture.

Then Dutch engineers were brought in to drain what is now the Fens in East Anglia and they brought words with them. The British Empire was a source of words too, especially India.

So our language is something of a hotch-potch, hence the different spellings and pronunciation.

I will add to these words in a future blog. I hope you find this useful.