#editing in Ghana · Charismata Editorial Services, Ghana · English language and editing · Uncategorized


You have most probably been confusing these commonly confused words!

We would like to welcome you to this week’s lesson and thank you for following us. We hope you enjoyed our previous lesson on the common abbreviations in English. If they are a bit too old-fashioned for you, why don’t you check out a link we shared on our Facebook page for a compilation of the most common 21st-century abbreviation? (for those of you wondering what ‘lol’ and ‘brb’ and ‘imho’ meant).

Today, we are excited to start a vocabulary study series on some commonly confused words in English. Let’s see where you will be caught guilty….

  1. Affect/ Effect: Don’t we see this confusion all the time? What’s the difference – obviously one begins with an A and the other begins with an E (Quite obvious, right?). Well, the real difference is that affect is a verb and effect is a noun (What does this even mean?)

It means you can say that something affects something and that something is the effect of something. But you cannot say something effects something or something is the affect of something.

  • Eg: The words that parents speak to their children greatly Affect the children.

The words used by parents have a great Effect on the children.

2. Different from/ Different than: This is not to show you when to use both because only one of these expressions is correct… And you guessed right, the first one. You describe something as being different FROM another not being different THAN

  • Eg: That pizza is different from the one we took last week

That pizza is different than the one we took last week – INCORRECT

3. Between ….and/ Between ….to: This one I always see in TV commercials:

Interested applicants should be between the ages of 18 to 45 years…

Does this sound correct to you? If it does, then you are under arrest by the language police for violating basic grammar rules. Why? Between ‘goes with’ and (not to). If you want to use ‘to’, you would have to use ‘from’. For example, the following sentences are both right:

  • The children should be between 8 and 18 years   OR

The children should be from 8 to 18 years

4. Disinterested / Uninterested: This one is surely going to take you back to your prefix lessons in Primary or Secondary School. Both ‘dis’ and ‘un’ are prefixes attached to words to form the negative of the word (grace-disgrace, lock-unlock). Now, because they play the same role, differentiating between these two words can be very tricky.

When you are disinterested in something, it means you are indifferent to it. You do not possess any strong emotions for or against it and are in a neutral state.

But when you are uninterested, it really means the opposite: you are not interested. Here, you clearly have a stand against / no interest at all. Get the difference now? Why don’t we look at some examples?

  1. The Maths teacher is trying to force the formula down the skulls of the clearly disinterested students.
  2. Ben never makes time to follow any sporting event and it doesn’t take an angel to tell you he is uninterested in it.
  3. ‘I’m going to get dressed,’ Clara replied in a disinterested tone.
  4. Harvey said he was uninterested in whatever explanation Litt had to give.

That about sums it. There are so many other confused words we can look at and we encourage you to stick with us. Why don’t you suggest some of these words to us in the comment box below?

Thanks for reading and liking and sharing.

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