- accept – receive something, recognize a truth, or approve of something except – to leave out or exclude
- accessible – easily approached or attained assessable – capable of being evaluated
- adverse – harmful or unfavorable averse – opposed to, reluctant, distasteful
- affect – bring about a change effect – a result Note, “effect” can be used to mean “create a change.” “This new rule is intended to effect a change.”
- among – in the midst of several things between – comparison of two things; area separating two things Note, “amongst” is not acceptable in American writing, although it is acceptable in other varieties of English.
- appraise – determine the value of something apprise – inform
- assure – inform to remove doubt or concern ensure – guarantee insure – take out insurance or act as insurance (Use “ensure” unless you are describing an insurance arrangement.)
- bimonthly, biannually – every two months or years semimonthly, semiannually – twice a month or twice a year
- censor – review something and remove the objectionable parts censure – find fault with or blame
- common – shared equally by members of a group of people; emphasizes an entire group mutual – shared by two or three people or parties; emphasizes individual entities
- compliment – express praise or admiration complement – complete, make a whole, make perfect
- compose – create or form something comprise – consist of or made up of
- consecutive – following one after another without interruption successive – following one another in order, but not necessarily without interruption
- continual – happening often, usually in rapid succession continuous – occurring without stopping
- discreet – using good judgment in terms of conduct discrete – separate and distinct, or individual
- distinct – clearly notable, individual, discrete distinctive – distinguishing, unique
- eminent – prominent, distinguished in reputation imminent – about to occur, threatening, impending
- exceedingly – extremely, extraordinarily excessively – beyond what is reasonable
- fewer – used with countable items less – used with quantities
- forward – at, near, or toward the front foreword – the beginning of a book or report
- impediment – hindrance, slowing progress toward a goal obstacle – something that completely stands in the way of the goal
- imply – express indirectly or hint infer – conclude or deduce
- indexes – alphabetical listings of subjects indices – a scientific or technical listing, or statistics
- precede – come before in time, place, or rank proceed – advance or continue
- principal – foremost in importance, head of a school principle – standard, rule, or ethical code
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Quiz on the confusing word pairs
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