Commonly Confused Words


SUPPOSED TO: correct form for “to be obligated to” or “presumed to”
Example: Grandma’s plane is supposed to arrive at 10:30.
SUPPOSE: to guess or make a conjecture
Example: Julie supposes Grandma’s plane will be on time.

THAN: use with comparisons
Example: Many soldiers would rather make dinner in a Crock-Pot than eat at the DFAC.
THEN: at that time, or next
Example: I ate dinner at home, and then I went out for dessert.

THROUGH: by means of; finished; into or out of
Example: The car crashed through the wooden fence.
THREW: past tense of throw
Example: She threw away the leftover food.
THRU-abbreviated slang for through; not appropriate in standard writing
Example: Bob and Fed are thru with work for the day and will grab dinner at the drive-thru.

WHO: (pronoun) refers to a person(s)
Example: Jenna wondered why Jack, who was always punctual, was late picking her up.
WHICH: (pronoun) replaces a thing(s)s
Example: Which book genre is your favorite?
THAT: used to refer to things or a group or class of people
Example: Miranda lost the book that she borrowed from the library.

WHO: used as a subject or as a subject complement
Example: Steve is the man who will get the job done right.
WHOM: used as an object
Example: Whom did Sarah choose to go with her?

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Amor Libris (Kelly Hartigan)

Are there any words not on this list that you either confuse yourself or have seen others confuse? Please share in the comments!

This is great information to have and I reblogged/shared/tweeted! 🙂

Another one to check I have in my folder of ‘things to consider’.
I have so many ‘ten things to …’ and ‘fifteen things all writers must …’ etc.
I have a feeling the number of checklists is why I still end up with the odd issue creeping in.
Great post. 🙂

Another pair I see misused frequently is imply/infer. The speaker implies. The listener infers.

I had no idea the different spellings for Capitol meant something different. LEarn somethign new everyday. Thanks.

I see shudder/shutter mixed up a lot in the books I’ve been reading recently. Also peek/peak/pique are occasionally used incorrectly (typically peak is used in place of pique).

I am guilty of struggling with the effect/affect

Great post! I’m in the same boat as Dj!

I certainly confuse words such as these. Hopefully I’m editing myself good enough to catch them.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Great post! Affect and Effect are in my nightmares right now. I can never seem to figure out when to use one or the other. Ugh!

Oh no! Nightmares with affect and effect? I hope this helped and you can have pleasant dreams again.

I need to print this out and stick it on my wall! I usually pick the right words but when I am tired it is sometimes easy to get confused.

Sometimes it is hard to pick the right words, Chloe. Printing something like this and putting it on your wall is a good idea. Maybe I should put together some downloadable and/or printable charts, like this one, to add to my website.

This would be perfect idea to know the common of these words! Saving this for printing thanks!

My son was always confused about theses common words! He would probably need this. Glad I found it.

there are a few of them that i get mixed up as well. it’s funny how some of them are so common.

Haha, I cannot stand when people use some of these words incorrectly. Like, did you go to school?

I actually think it is common and I did go to school and college lol. I usually pick up my mistakes during editing 🙂 Great list to have handy!

confident/confidant is another one. confident is a feeling, confidant is a person you tell your secrets to.

Great list to have available and I have sent to my facebook pages and tweeted this great information. I know a lot of individuals that can certainly use this list.

I know so many people that misuse a lot of these words. Great info to have handy.

I love this list! I cringe when words are misused sometimes–granted, I do it too. But when I see alot, I’m all, “NO! Two words!”

Omg this list is amazing! I’m italian and it’s so useful, thanks for sharing!

Led and lead, oh my goodness. I don’t have a problem with it personally, but I edit my husband’s papers and he is terrible with this one! I always tell him if Colonel Mustard’s not in the library with his trusty pipe, it’s not “lead.” I’m printing this out and taping it on his desk. 🙂

Oh my gosh, so many people need this list. I’m starting with my teenager!

Great list here!! A wonderful resource.

I totally need to print this out and put it on the fridge for my teenagers but of course I struggle with accept and except sometimes too!…shhhh…they don’t have to know! lol

The English language can sometimes be confusing, but these are basic things, words that we ought to know and well should be teaching the younger generation, too. It can be tricky, but nothing that won’t be a breeze with studying. This is an awesome list that you put together.

Wonderful resource Amor :). I am going to print out this right now for my sons.They will definitely love it.

Yes haha so true. Effect and Affect and There and Their is probably the most common words that people confuse x

I have seen people get confused over the use of phrase “should have” and say “should of”

A great resource for new writers. Sometimes these words can be a little confusing.

I appreciate you sharing this. There are words that I usually used wrongly, it’s very useful 🙂

It’s easier to speak than to write! lol! But now that I started to show interest in writing, this is a very helpful guide!

These are a great list of words. I suppose all homophones could exist in the category of misunderstood words. But these are more than that.

A lot of these confuse me and I am about to turn 30. I always get confused with lose/loose.

It’s great that you posted something like this. It’s a good reminder for everyone especially now that we’re all practically on social media and we use writing more than speaking.

This is awesome! A lot of people make these errors when writing or posting even on their statuses in their social media accounts. This is a good guide.

This is definitely an important concept to learn especially in the blogging world. You can look really illiterate if you can’t get these differences!