The 10 Most Commonly Confused English Words | Helen Companion | Skillshare

The 10 Most Commonly Confused English Words

Helen Companion

The 10 Most Commonly Confused English Words

Helen Companion

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
13 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Grammar Recap

    • 3. Accept / Except

    • 4. Affect / Effect

    • 5. Apart / A Part

    • 6. Its / It's

    • 7. Passed / Past

    • 8. Sight / Site / Cite

    • 9. Then / Than

    • 10. There / They're / Their

    • 11. Too / To / Two

    • 12. Your / You're

    • 13. Conclusion

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Do you frequently confuse the words accept and except? It's and its? If so, you're not alone.

The English language has a lot of very similar sounding words with very different meanings, and mixing them up not only causes confusion for readers, but it is an embarrassing mistake that makes you appear less competent than you actually are. 

In this class,  you'll learn

  • relevant grammatical concepts
  • the definition,
  • part of speech,
  • an example of each of 23 confusing words.

But more importantly,  you'll also learn some easy tips for telling the difference between similar sounding words. For example, for they're, their, and there: 

  • Their ends in heir and both words indicate ownership. 
  • There ends in here and both words indicate location. 
  • They're stands for they are. The apostrophe can be viewed as a miniature a. 

Most of the classes are very short, making them easy to integrate into your life. Join me in learning the ten most commonly confused English words and improve your writing today.

Meet Your Teacher

Hello all! 

I've loved the English language for literally as long as I can remember. My entire life has been, in some way or another, punctuated by this love affair. As a little kid, I told my brother stories I made up. I went to the Alabama School of Fine Arts for high school, which is a very well-reputed arts school in Birmingham, and my major was Creative Writing with a specialty in poetry. As such, I have several poems and stories published in various places. In college, I decided I wanted to be an English teacher and a scholar, so that's my "day job" now. I've published peer-reviewed articles on topics related to the English Renaissance, and I am pursuing a Ph.D. in the field. I also teach classes at a local college, and I teach on-demand over the summers when fewer stu... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Your creative journey starts here.

  • Unlimited access to every class
  • Supportive online creative community
  • Learn offline with Skillshare’s app

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.



1. Introduction: welcome to the 10 most commonly confused English words and how to avoid them certain words in the English language or easy to confuse with each other. We all know some of the home phones bear and bear or pair impair their certain words that tend to confuse more than others. And mixing these words up instantly tells your readers that you're unfamiliar with the language. The Graham early card on the right has some famous examples, and it reads. It's easy to take good English for granite, for example. Supposedly there are many folks that think, for all intensive purposes is correct, So granite should be Grant head G R A N T E d Supposedly is not a word. It's supposedly there is in the wrong form. It should be T h E R e. And the actual saying is, for all intents and purposes, um, these air not once, for the most part, that we're gonna be cover in here We are covering there, but it's a good example of how these work get mixed up and why they get mixed up. And then there's this one on the top. That is an advertisement for a learning software that really should know better. This one, of course, should be there. Th e y apostrophe r e short for they are, and the one on the bottom is a little less obvious, but I kind of like it. This is it. Signing to McDonalds and one Concertante, Lee, assume that in continents the inability to hold one's bladder or bowels would be inconvenient, which is what the sign was supposed to me. My name is Helen Companion, and I'm gonna help guide you through 10 sets of most commonly confused words in the English language. Throughout the course, you'll learn the differences between these similar sounding words, and you'll learn some easy tricks to tell them apart. Each set of words have contained in its own short lesson, making them easy to digest and watch in one sitting or over a period of time. If you wish. The final project for this class is to fill out a worksheet with information about each word, the part of speech tips for telling the difference in similar words and any other notes that you might have. One version of the worksheet is on the next slide. There is also a word document where you can easily download and print the form. If you don't have word, I've included a pdf. The boxes on the worksheet are very small. Don't try to fit everything that's on the slide into the worksheet or directly copy it instead, paraphrased the information and put it into your own shorthand. Believe it or not, you'll retain more information that way. And here's an example of the worksheet with the first word except partially filled out, and you can see that by number one of Put the Word except the part of speeches of ARB. The definition is to receive with consent. And one of the tips for remembering this word versus ones confused with which is accept is that except bring something closer, thanks in advance for participating. And when you're ready, move on to the first lesson 2. Grammar Recap: in the first lesson of 10 commonly confused English words. We're gonna take a step back and very quickly go over the parts of speech and some relevant terms. This shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes, and it will help you immensely going forward if you aren't already familiar with this information. So first we were talking about the parts of speech, which are seven groups of words to perform certain functions in a sentence. The 1st 1 is the now, which is a person place thing or idea. Examples would be my name. Helen. Ah, House of all modernism. A good way to test is it's not a proper noun. If you put the word the before something, it makes sense. It's a noun. A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a previously specified now, and these air used to provide variety in the sentence. So examples air. I you, he she it we may my your there, our his her in. It's a verb is an action or state of being performed by announce, Um, so he runs. That would be it was actually program, but he would be the subject print now are pro now and runs would be the verb to be big is over because it's describing a state of being an adjective. Modifieds have provides more information about a noun and the example Pretty bird Pretty is the adjective or in beautiful face. Beautiful is the adjective. I'm an adverb, modifies or provides information about anything except pronouns and pronounce so up. He waved his hands wildly wildly, describes how he waved his hand. So it's an adverb. They sat there there, describes where they sat, so it's an adverb. A proposition expresses a relationship between two other words in a sentence. One of what you must be a noun. So in the example in the house, in is the proposition and house is the object of the proposition. The now on the bus on is the proposition buses, the object of the proposition, and then finally, conjunctions connect thoughts and ideas in a sentence, and some examples of these are for and nor but or yet so. Because when I don't want to get deeply into grammatical terms here. But there are a couple of concepts that will be helpful to know going forward. The first is the idea of possession or possessive word, which means that one thing is dramatically owned by another. In a sentence. An example would be your shirt. The shirt is owned by you or the dogs ball. The ball is owned by the dog. A determiner is a class of adjectives that indicates how much how many or whose you don't need to worry about what that really means. Um, just know that articles such as A and and the and possessive words are types of determine er's. And then finally, the infinitive is the base. Unconscious, gated form of verb and to congregate means to change the verb form to fit announce. So if I said I know, he knew, um, I know would be in conjugated in the present tense and he knew would be conjugated in the past tense. I'm so examples of the infinitive, which is uncultivated or to be to want and to run, and those of the primary grammatical concepts that you'll need to know to get the most out of this class when you're ready will move on to the first set of confused words, which is except and accept 3. Accept / Except: welcome back to the 10 most commonly confused English words and how to avoid them in this lesson, we're going to look at except and accept. It's easy to see whether easily confused. The words look similar and of only two letters different, which at the very beginning, and they sound almost identical. But they're actually pretty different. So overlooking some definitions, the word except with an A is a verb. The definition is to receive with consent to take or endure without protest, and an example is I was happy to accept the promotion except is kind of the opposite. It's a proposition or conjunction. The definition means not including, other than stating it an exception. Excluding, um, example is he attend school every day except Saturday and Sunday. Some tips and ways to remember the first is to accept within a is to bring closer and even see The arrows are pointing at each other except is used when something is excluded or pushed away, and you can see the arrows are pointing away from each other. Another way to think of it is, except starts with E X and just like an X. It's not something you want to include or bring closer, and that brings us to the end of this section. All of these are going to be short and sweet like this one before moving on to the next lesson. Filthy information on the worksheet and read it aloud. Both the process of writing and speaking have been shown to increase retention of information in several studies, and then when you're ready, move on to the next lesson. 4. Affect / Effect: in this section, we're gonna look at affect and effect, which are even more frequently confused than many of the others on this list with good reason. Not only are they only one set of very similar sounding valves apart, but Affect has both a noun and a verb form, and the same is true for effect. They also have relatively similar meetings, which adds to the confusion. We'll start with DeMott definitions like we did before. In this case, there's a common use in an uncommon used for both words. So look at that. Second affect is a verb. The definition is to have an effect on make a difference, to touch the feelings of someone, move emotional, and you can already kind of guess what the difference between the two is from. That different definition of an example is the card her daughter made affected her deeply effect the part of speeches, and now the definition is a change which is the result or consequence of inaction or another cause, and the effect of that card was that she was moved so for uncommon used affect and effect can be especially confusing because there is a noun form for affect, and there is a verb form for effect. They're very uncommon. The noun form for affect means emotion. It's generally only used in medical literature in 16th century writings on emotions and not much else, and the verb form of effect means to bring about change is meaning. It's very similar to affect, but because of the similarities between the two, it has fallen into disuse and is very rarely used anymore for keeping these two straight effect is normally a verb. When you see that someone dancing of inaction effect is normally announce, and if you want to remember a sentence, you can affect something to get an effect, and that brings us to the end of this section. As before. It helps if you copy some of the this down in the worksheet and read it aloud when you're ready, will move on to the next section 5. Apart / A Part: welcome back to the 10 most commonly confused English words. The focus in the section is on a part in a part which look almost identical and sound very similar. However, there is a significant difference. But so look at the definitions. At first, as always, Apart is part of speech is an adverb. It means separated by a distance at a specified distance from each other in time or space. And an example is they stood apart from each other because they had recently broken up, and then a part, which is separated by a space between the A and part. The part of speech is an article, which is in a type of adjective plus noun. It is a piece of something. An amount that is a portion of a hole in an example would be a fraction is a part of the whole those some tips. The A and a part is a disconnected part of the word you gotta foot. There's is a part of a person. A part is all or a part is altogether and must be taken apart to get a part. So you have to take it apart to get a single part like a puzzle. And then finally you take off a part to take something apart. And again. There's the puzzle metaphor there that you can keep in mind, and that's all for this section. When you're ready, we'll move onto the next one. 6. Its / It's : it's with an apostrophe, and its without an apostrophe are the topic of this section of the 10 most commonly confused English words. Again, the confusion is totally understandable because they look and sound almost identical definitions, like we normally do it's without apostrophe is the determiner type of adjective or possessive pronoun, which is a type of determiner. The definition is belonging to or associated with a thing previously mentioned or easily identified or belonging to or associated with a child or animal of an unspecified sex or any other object. Early. Um, so example. The beard on its face made the gender unclear. Yes, with an apostrophe. The part of speech is a noun plus verb. The definition is, it is an example is it's the glory. So tips on these you can think of the apostrophe in its within an apostrophe as a miniature . I the contracted It has that I because it stands for it, is the uncontracted. It is not going to have that another tip is to see if you can replace its or it's with it is in the Senate. If it makes sense than it should be. It apostrophe s as you can see. It's pretty easy to tell them apart after you feel if the worksheet will move on to the 7. Passed / Past: we're about halfway through with this course now is to give yourself a pat on the back. In the second half, we will be introducing some sets of three words. So be prepared for some of these lessons to be a little longer, but not by much. This one on past p ssed and passed P A S T Onley deals with two words, though, so definitions past with an E. D is a verb. The definition is to move or cause to move in a specified direction, to go by your across toe leave behind or on one side in proceeding. The example would be, that car just passed me in the right. Lang past PST is a part of the part of speech is an adjective or a noun. Definition is gone by in time or no longer existing, which is as an adjective or as a noun. It is the time or period of time before the moment of writing or speaking, so things were better in past times. And if you're curious, that's actually where the word pastimes one word comes. Kay says. Some tips passed with a needy indicates movement. You can think of it as the longer of the two words, because it's stretched out like it's moving past. PFT indicates time in a sentence to help you remember would be the car passed by me in the past, and that's it for this section. When you're ready, will move on to our first set of three words, which are site, site and site. 8. Sight / Site / Cite : in this next section of the 10 most commonly confused English words and how to avoid them. We're gonna look a sight s I g h t site s I t e and site C I t e b. These three hell have very different meanings and they're actually really easy to tell apart once you understand that. So site s I g h t is a noun. The definition is a thing that one sees or that can be seen or the faculty of power or power up seeing. So the sunset was a breathtaking sight. Sight s i t e is a noun is an area of ground on which a town building or a monument is constructed. It can also refer to a website. So the site where the church was to be built was perfect and site C I t is the only verb of the bunch. And the definition is quote a passage book or author as evidence for or justification of an argument or statement, especially in the scholarly work. And you really only going to use that if you're talking about writing, particularly in college. I mean, the example isn't her research paper She made sure to cite the author frequently. So tips site is a verb. The noun form of his citation, which is a synonym for ticket. Both ticket and site. Heavy. See? Site s I g h t and s I t e r both now, but s but site s I t e is a location and a sentence too. Keep those last two straight. The messy construction site was an unpleasant sight for the manager. And that's it for this one. If you'd finished filling out the worksheet and then we'll look at then and then two more words that are very frequently 9. Then / Than: This next section in the 10 most commonly confused English words is on then and then. These two words are pronounced differently, and they look different, too. However, neither of them are now they're verbs and instead of adverbs and conjunctions, which are more flexible and easier to confuse in some of the other parts of speech. So we'll start with definitions, then with an E N is an adverb. The definition is at that time at the time in question. After that, next or afterward and an example is I went to school. Then I did homework. Then the part of speech is a conjunction or proposition. The definition is introducing the second element in a comparison. I mean, it's also used in expressions introducing an exception. Or a contrast example is he would rather play and do homework. So some tips then always has to do with time or the progression of events. Van always has to do with the comparison, and in some sentences, either word might fit. But the meaning would change dramatically, so in he would rather eat, then drink. He wants to eat and then drink on Lee when he has finished eating and he would rather eat than drink, given the choice he would prefer to eat instead of drinking. And that brings us to the end of this lesson. As you can see, then in then are two very different words. The last three sections in this class involves some of the most fans. Sets of commonly confused works at least only Internet to T w 02 t o and two T o There, See a G? Why, Ari there th yori and there th ei r And then finally your while you apostrophe r e and why oh, you are when you're ready will move on. 10. There / They're / Their: there's a bad joke and it goes like this. How do you comfort a grammarian? Say they're They're They're the joke of courts hinges on the fact that there are three different Homa phones being used here, but they all have very different meanings. Those definitions there th ey apostrophe r e a part of speech is a pro noun plus, over the definition is they are and an example. Is there going to the mall? Because their friends, their th ei r the part of speech is a determiner says it's a possessive pro. Now the definition is belonging to or associated with the people or things previously mentioned or easily identified. And an example is Joe and Jane Doe had all their books packed into boxes. The last one is there. T H E r e part of speech is an adverb, and the definition is in at or to that place or position. And the example is, while they were there, they they said some tips for keeping these three straight, Um, like with it's I t apostrophe s, you can imagine the apostrophe and their TG. Why, Ari as a miniature letter in this case in a and it looked like this in your head. Th ey little teeny a superscript r e they're t a g ir ends in air in both words indicate ownership there T h e r e ends in here, which indicates location and that's it for this group of works. Uh, in the next one will look at 22 and two, which are also extremely common victims of confusion when you're ready and move on. 11. Too / To / Two: justifiably to, too, And two T, 00 T W and T O caused a lot of confusion. The definitions between the three are actually very different. To T. Oo is an adverb meaning to a higher degree that is desirable, permissible or possible excessively in addition to were also an example is I had too much coffee this morning. Two d w O is a number. The definition is simply the numeral two. An example would be there are two cows in the field to t. O is the most complicated of the three is a proposition and part of an infinitive verb. The definition as a proposition is expressing motion in the direction of a particular location, expressing or reaching a particular condition. And as an infinitive verb, it is used with the base form of a verb indicate that the verb is in the infinitive. An infinitive verb is the base form of the verb. It starts with two as in to walk, and we talked about that. It really earn the grammar recap. All of that sounds like a lot of complicated information. You'll see on the next page that there's a really easy way to keep its right. An example is he did not want to go to school, but he went anyway and see him to go. It is functioning as part of the infinitive and in to school, it is functioning as a proposition. So some tips for keeping these three strikes to T oo has too many owes to be to t 02 tw o is simply the number two If neither to t 00 or two to w o makes sense than the right word is TF on. And that's how I tend t check it to just cause I'm very quickly, often proof reading a check and see if t oo works. If it doesn't work ago to t oh, he don't be Whoa And if that doesn't work, then it has to be Teoh. Um, that brings us to the end of this section. We only have one more left, which is your and your when you're ready, move onto the next one 12. Your / You're: welcome to the last section of the 10 most commonly confused English words. Last up is your and your Y o u apostrophe r e and Y ou r And this is a good one to end on because the two are actually very different even if they look similar. And they're also work that we tend to easily miss type and confuse so definitions. I was having some trouble with formatting, so this one looks a little different. Um, your y o u apostrophe r e is a pronoun plus verb. The definition is you are and an example is if you're going to the store, will you pick me up some milk? And your while you are is a possessive pronoun meaning belonging to or associated with the person or people that the speaker is addressing And an example is Is that your and then some tips for telling the difference between these two, Like with other contractions, you can view the apostrophe, and you were while you apostrophe r e as a miniature letter, just like in there. Th ey apostrophe r e um, you could view it as a miniature a and your while you are ends an hour, which is another pronoun indicating ownership and indicating a group. This brings us to the end of the lessons in this class. In the next section will recap what you learned and make sure you finish the worksheet before moving on to the last set of slides. 13. Conclusion: we're at the end of our time together for this class, which is 10 most commonly confused English words. These are the words that we've covered except eight, except effect effect a part a part. It's I t apostrophe s its i t s past p ssed past PST site C i t e site as I GHT site s I t e then then there th ey are apostrophe there t h e r e They're th ei r two t o to t w 02 t o your while you apostrophe r e and your While you are. You've also learned the 10 most commonly confused sets of words the part of speech definitions and examples for each of these words and easy to remember tips and tricks for telling. And that brings us to the final project. Throughout the course, you've been filling out of work sheet with the word part of speech definitions, tips and any other notes you have on the next slide is a copy of the worksheet that I've filled out. Yours might look a little different, but the information should be similar. I'll happily look at any of the work sheets if you need a little extra support. Likewise, feel free to ask any questions. I'll be happy to answer them. Um, follow me post on the community and share this if you like to the video. And I would love to. This is an example of what your worksheet might look like. This is the last live this presentation, So feel free to leave it up and take it moment to check your answers. Thanks again for watching. Um, hopefully I'll have another video posted in the next couple of weeks. Thanks.