Confusing Words 2

In the English language, there are many words that look similar and can be confusing, especially to ESL learners.

 Ingenious / Ingenuous

 Ingenious is clever; ingenuous is natural, free from deceit.

e.g. I must say that was an ingenious way to steal the money.

e.g. His response was sincere and ingenuous.

Bulk / Hulk

 Bulk: in large quantities; the greater part of.

e.g. His business was selling brown rice in bulk.

e.g. The billionaire gave the bulk of his estate to charity.

Hulk: a big, clumsy person.

e.g. If you do nothing to your obesity, you will soon become a hulk.

 Genteel / Gentle

Genteel: well-bred, polite; imitating the lifestyle of the rich.

e.g. Your friend is genteel. Is he very rich?

e.g. All along he has been living in genteel poverty. He is not practical.

Gentle: being nice and showing care

e.g. Be gentle with the baby.

Bulk / Hulk

Bulk: in large quantities; the greater part of..

e.g. His business was selling wheat in bulk.

e.g. The billionaire gave the bulk of his estate to charity.

Hulk: a big, clumsy person.

e.g. If you do nothing to your obesity, you will soon become a hulk.

Hail / Hale

Hail means to greet or salute; hale means healthy and strong.

e.g. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.”

e.g. A man is hale when his complexion is rosy.

e.g. This dress is too loose for you (not tight enough).

Some time / Sometime / Sometimes

Some time means a period of time.

Sometime, as an adverb, means approximately; as an adjective, means former or occasional.

Sometimes, as an adverb, means now and then.

e.g. We have been for the train for some time.

e.g. Why don’t you visit me sometime?

e.g. She was my sometime girlfriend.

e.g. Sometimes I like her, and sometimes I don’t — that’s our relationship.

Lose Loose

Lose means being unable to find; loose means to set free or to become less tight.

e.g. Here is your ticket to the game; don’t lose it.

e.g. Don’t lose your temper (become angry).

e.g. You are too loose with your children (you have little or no control over them).

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

 

 

 

Confusing Words

In the English language, there are many words that look similar and can be confusing, especially to ESL learners.

MELLOW / MELODIOUS

Mellow: mature; soft and pure; rich and full.

e.g. As he continues to age, he become more mellow and compassionate.

Melodious: tuneful; pleasant to the ear.

e.g. He voice is melodious; he should take up singin

SEDATIVE / SEDENTARY

Sedative: calming or soothing.

e.g. The doctor gave her some sedative medicine to put her to sleep.

Sedentary: accustomed to sitting; physically inactive.

e.g His sedentary work — sitting in front of the computer — took a toll on his health.

e.g. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle even if you are approaching 60..

GENTEEL / GENTLE

Genteel: well-bred, polite; imitating the lifestyle of the rich.

e.g. Your friend is genteel. Is he very rich?

e.g. All along he has been living in genteel poverty. He is not practical.

Gentle: kind, friendly, mild.

e.g. Be gentle to my puppy.

DISPOSABLE / INDISPOSED

Disposable: can’t be removed or got rid of.

e.g. This machine is disposable; we can do without it

Indisposed: not feeling well; unwilling to

e.g. You look indisposed. Is there something wrong with you?

e.g. Many people are indisposed to working on weekends.

TERMINABLE / TERMINAL

Terminable: can be ended.

e.g. Your employment is only temporary and terminable at any time.

Terminal: at the end.

e.g. The doctor told him that he had terminal cancer.

DECORATIVE / DECOROUS

Decorative: having an artistic or showy effect.

e.g. The ballroom with all the ribbons and flowers are very decorative.

Decorous: showing good taste.

e.g. The Princess looks decorous in that simple but beautiful dress.

 

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau