5 Commonly Confusing Words in English
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Asiamah Boateng Emmanuel Asiamah Boateng Emmanuel, English Teacher

Everyone knows the problem with spell-check: your word might be spelled right, but it may be the wrong word. English is full of confusing words that sound alike but are spelled differently. Below are some of the most commonly confusing words in English.

1. Farther/Further

  • Farther is an adverb: a comparative of far adverb.

eg: Your house is farther from the school than ours.

  • Further is a verb: comes from an Old English word meaning “to impel”.

eg: He gives frequent speeches in order to further his cause

  • As adverbs, both have come to mean “at a greater distance.”

“Farther” refers to a physical distance, while “Further” refers to a figurative distance.

eg: How much farther is it to the station?
I’m too tired to walk any furthe

2. Branch/Brunch

  • Branch is a noun: A division or office of a large business or organization, operating locally or having a particular function.

eg: He went to work at our Birmingham branch

  • Brunch is a noun: A late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch

eg: I didn’t take breakfast, so I had oats for brunch

3. Fan/Fun


  • Fan is noun: A device opened out into the shape of a sector of a circle and waved back and forth in order to move air towards oneself and cool oneself

eg: Hand me the fan please, it’s very hot in here.

  • Fan is a now: can be an admirer, especially of a sport or performer; someone who is fond of something or someone.

eg: I’m a fan of the famous actor Liwin.

  • Fun is a now: amusement, enjoyment or pleasure.

eg: I really had fun last night.


  • Fan is to blow air on (something) by means of a fan (hand-held, mechanical or electrical) or otherwise while

eg: If you had stayed in the village, you would have known how diffiult it is to fan the fire by just blowing air from your mouth.

  • Fun is to tease, kid, poke fun at, make fun of.

eg: Lisa reported Max to the teacher because he was making fun of his shoes.



  • Stationary: not moving or still.

eg: We had to wait patiently in a stationary position for the school shop to open.

  • Stationery: writing and office supplies

eg: The office junior is in charge of ordering our stationery.

5. Live/Leave

  • Leave is a verb: go away from

eg: I am leaving for Paris next week. 

  • Live is verb : reside

eg: Where do you live?

Hopefully the following list of pairs of commonly confusing words will help you keep them straightened out.