English has many words that sound the same but have different meanings. Because of this, your spellchecker might not point out a misused word. Use this list to help identify commonly confused words and make sure you are using the right word for your sentence.
Note: Many of these words can be used as other parts of speech. This handout lists the most common confusions.
advice = (noun) a suggestion
My practicum mentor gave me great advice.
advise = (verb) to give suggestions
The doctor advised the patient to exercise regularly.
accept = (verb) willing to receive something
He accepted an award for his volunteer work.
except = (preposition) not included
Everyone attended the conference except Jim.
affect = (verb) to influence
Smoking affects our health.
effect = (noun) a result
Smoking has a negative effect on your health.
complement = (verb) to complete something or make it better
The colours in the painting complement the room décor.
compliment = (noun, verb) praise, to give praise
I always compliment my classmate on her math skills.
ensure = (verb) to make certain
An early childhood educator must ensure the safety of the children.
insure = (verb) to protect something financially
It is important to insure your home in case of a fire or flood.
its = (possessive pronoun)
When you fix the computer, reinstall its drivers.
it's = (contraction) it is/it has
It's important to read the safety precautions carefully.
then = (adverb) time, next, afterwards
Nurses need to check the patient's chart, then proceed with the appointment.
than = (preposition) shows comparison
James has been an engineer longer than Ian.
there = (adverb) a place; used with the verb "be" to state a fact OR indicates a specific place
There is a photocopier in the next room.
they're = (contraction) they are
They're hardworking students.
their = (possessive pronoun)
The architects brought their plans to the site.
weather = (noun) rain, sunshine, snow, wind, etc.
The competition was cancelled due to poor weather.
whether = (conjunction) which one of two
I don't know whether to buy a laptop or desktop computer.