There are many words in English which cause confusion because they are similar to another word or because they look like a word in your own language but have a different meaning. Here are some words that often cause confusion.
Read through our explanations then have a go at the ‘Are You Confused Quiz?’ to see how much you’ve learnt.
Journey v’s Travel
Journey (Noun/Countable): to move from one place to another. The word usually indicates that this took place over a longer period of time.
- It was an arduous journey this Easter. The traffic was awful and it took us many hours to reach our family in Gdansk
Travel (Noun/ Uncountable): the process of travelling.
- My son’s new school is quite far away from our home. It involves a fair amount travel to get there.
BritIt v’s Brexit v’s Biscuit
BritIt (Noun): The name of this English blog which focusses on the English language and British culture.
- I read the BritIt blog on a weekly basis.
Brexit (Noun): The national British referendum on EU membership. The majority of voters voted ‘leave’.
- The Brexit Vote sharply divided public opinion in the UK.
Biscuit (Countable noun): A very popular sweet treat. A kind of small, sweet bread. Often served in the UK throughout the day as a snack with a cup of tea.
- I love dunking biscuits in my morning cuppa.
Their v’s There
Their (Possessive pronoun/determiner): linking objects to things or people who have already been referenced. Can be used instead of ‘his’ or ‘her’ to avoid repetition.
- Their new dog is completely untrained. I hope they are going to start dog training classes.
There (Pronoun): Used instead of a subject in general situations. You use ‘there are’ before a plural noun. ‘There is’ is often contracted to ‘there’s’.
- There are no restaurants open today due to the national holiday.
It v’s It’d v’s It’s v’s Its
It (Pronoun): It can be a subject or an object in a sentence. Used to refer to things which have already been mentioned or used as a subject when talking about general things e.g. time or to a situation which is happening now or to refer to something which is revealed later in the sentence/paragraph etc.
- If it wasn’t for him, I’d have never emigrated to Canada.
It’d: Is a contraction of ‘it would’ or ‘it had’. Informal.
- It’d been (it had been) a good summer but the seasons were now changing.
It’s: The short form of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. Very often confused with its .
- It’s a long way to Tipperary. It’s a long way to go.
Its (Determiner): The possessive form of ‘it’. To refer to an object or thing which has already been mentioned e.g. a person. Very often confused with it’s.
- The cat has lost its collar.
Quiz: Are you confused?
Choose the correct word to complete each sentence:
- Did you make the ……………………. alone? It was brave of you in this weather.
- ……………………. can be something of an obsession in the UK and there are so many different varieties to choose from.
Brexit BritIt Biscuits
- ……………………. is no point keep repeating the same question if he refuses to answer it.
- Where does she live nowadays? I think ……………………. Newcastle, but I’m not sure.
It’d It’s Its It
- We often holiday in Turkey. Though ……………………. be nice to try somewhere different this year.
It’d It’s Its It
journey, biscuits, there, it’s, it’d
How did you get on? We hope you have more clarity in your confused state! Let us know via the comment box any other English words which you find confusing.