Accede means to agree, to allow; exceed means to go beyond, to surpass, as in “Drivers who exceed the speed limit are asking for hefty fines.” accept, except
Not commonly seen even from unpublished writers, who are probably familiar with the difference because they’re all waiting for an acceptance! “We accept your invitation to your party, except for Bill, who will be away on that day.” However, I recently saw (on a publisher’s web site!) the statement, “We are excepting submissions … ” Can you believe it? adapt, adept, adopt
Adapt means to adjust, adept means skilled and adopt means to take as your own: “Some people cannot adapt to new surroundings.”
“He is very adept at dodging awkward questions.”
“He tends to adopt the attitudes of those around him.”
I saw this confusion on a review on
.com—“a nice edition to the series”. Obviously the writer meant addition. However, if one person can get these confused, maybe others do too. Addition is something that is added; edition is a particular version, issue or publication of a book, play, etc. adverse, averse
Adverse means inauspicious, hostile; averse means disinclined, repelled. “I’m very much averse to making a long, arduous journey under such adverse weather conditions.” advice, advise
Advice is the noun and advise the verb.
“His advice was that we should advise everybody to either stay away or be extremely careful.” aloud, allowed
Aloud means out loud, speaking so that someone else can hear you; allowed means permitted. altar, alter
Altar is the table in a church; alter means to change.
already, all ready
Already means by this time; all ready means prepared.
“Are you already packed?”
“Yes, I’m all ready to leave.”
altogether, all together
Altogether means wholly; all together means everybody in a group: “It’s altogether too bad that you can’t come.”
“All together, now: ‘Good morning, Sir!’”
all right, alright
All right is the correct form; alright is grammatically incorrect. allude, elude
Allude means to refer to; elude means to dodge or escape. allusion, illusion
Allusion is an indirect reference or hint; illusion means deception or mirage. all ways, always
All ways means by every way or method; always means all the time, forever. amoral, immoral
amoral describes someone who has no morals; immoral describes someone with low morals. annual, annul
Annual means yearly; annul means to make void or invalid. anyone, any one
This is quite tricky. Anyone means anybody, any person at all; any one means any one person and is followed by “of”. “Does anyone else want to come?”
“Any one of you is welcome to come along.”
Appraise is to assess or estimate. Apprise is to inform or notify: “I will appraise the situation and immediately apprise everybody of my conclusions.” Please don’t make your character say or write anything like this, though—unless you want him to sound like a pompous twit! ascent, assent
Ascent is an upward movement; assent means agreement.
Assistance means help or aid; assistants is the plural of assistant, one who gives help. assure, ensure, insure
Assure means to guarantee; ensure means to make sure; insure means to protect against loss or damage: “I assure you there’s no call for alarm.”
“To ensure your crockery doesn’t get broken, wrap it all in bubble wrap.” “In case of breakage or loss, you should insure everything with a good insurance company.” auger, augur
Auger is a tool; augur means to predict.
Baited usually refers to traps or snares. When the reference is to someone who is hardly daring to breathe, the correct word is always bated: “She watched with bated breath.”
I’ve yet to read that someone “bated a trap” instead of baiting it, but there’s always a first time. bare, bear
Bare means naked; bear (apart from being a large animal) means to carry. bazaar, bizarre
Bazaar is mostly a term for a market place but can also...
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