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11 Common Words You’re Probably Using Wrong

Take a closer look at the word “awful” — although you assume you can use it when talking about something “full of awe,” in reality, this adjective has a completely opposite meaning. That being said, sometimes we tend to use lots of other English words the wrong way without even realizing it.

We at Bright Side decided to find out which pairs of words we usually confuse and reveal the correct ways to use them.

11. Epilation vs depilation

  • Epilation is the way you’d remove an unwanted hair by tearing it out, usually with a pair of tweezers.
  • Depilation is the way you’d get rid of an unwanted hair at the level of your skin by shaving or trimming.

10. Farther vs further

  • When you’re talking about a physical distance, you can say, “This is farther from that.”
  • Further usually refers to a figurative distance, meaning “extra or more” as in the following sentence: “If you complain further, I’m going to stop this conversation and never return to it again.”

9. Flammable vs inflammable

  • Flammable means “capable of being set on fire.”
  • Inflammable means exactly the same thing, so there’s no difference between these 2 words.

8. Affect vs effect

  • Affect is usually a verb that means “to influence or change something.”
  • Effect is usually a noun that refers to the result of such influence or change.

7. Emoticon vs emoji

  • If you use characters such as punctuation marks, numbers, letters, etc. to express your feelings or mood, you use emoticons.
  • Emojis are actual graphical expressions that can refer to anything including faces, common objects, places, types of weather, animals, and so on.

6. Famous vs infamous

  • The word famous usually refers to people who are known for their great deeds, like heroes.
  • However, if you want to say “very famous,” you should never use infamous as it means “famous for a negative reason,” like bank robbers or other criminals.

5. Poisonous vs venomous

  • Poisonous is used to refer to something that is toxic if you eat it.
  • Venomous is used to refer to something that is toxic if it bites you.

4. Torturous vs tortuous

  • When something makes you feel bad or causes pain and suffering, it’s considered torturous.
  • Tortuous means “full of twists, turns, or bends.” You can also use this word when talking about something too lengthy or complex.

3. Bemused vs amused

  • Although most people think that bemused means “to be amused in a calm way,” it’s not actually true. The real meaning of this word is “to be bewildered, puzzled, or confused.”
  • So when you want to say that you’re having an enjoyable time, you should say that you’re amused.

2. Emigrate vs immigrate

  • When you leave your country to permanently live in another one, you emigrate.
  • When you move to another country in order to permanently settle down there, you immigrate.

1. Nauseous vs nauseated

  • Despite what you might think, nauseous doesn’t mean feeling sick to your stomach. What it really means is “causing nausea” like when you’re speaking about something smelly, spoiled, or rotten.
  • So if you feel unwell, you probably feel nauseated.

Which English words do you always confuse? Let’s continue the list together in the comments!

Preview photo credit shutterstock.com