The 12 Most Confused Words That Affect And Effect Writers

12 Confusing Words for Writers

By Lisa Brown

Being a writer is exciting, but sometimes, confused words cause errors.

The English dictionary should be an indication of how many words we really have to know.

Sometimes these words sound the same or are spelled the same and even confuse professionals.


The following twelve confused words are some of the most confused words to not just writers, but most people.


Related reading: Affect vs Effect And Why The Effects Affect Your Writing


1. Advice vs Advise

Honestly, if it wasn’t for my grammar checker, I might still use these incorrectly. I know what each one means individually, but I always question myself for some reason. Let’s look at the meanings of each word individually and hope we get it right.

Advice – a noun recommending to someone what should be done.

Advise – a verb to recommend something specific.


2. Accept vs Except

Students get this one wrong as well. This is because they do not know the meanings of these words or don’t take enough time to think about it.

Your mind can also play tricks on you, and you might believe that you are using it right. A grammar corrector tool can help you get this one right until you know the difference between these two very commonly confused words.

Accept – This is to agree to do something.

Except – Without / not included


3. Aloud vs Allowed

These words sound the same, but the meanings could not be any more different. Just because they sound the same does not mean you can use one in place of the other. Your entire sentence meaning would change.

Aloud – Out loud / loudly


Allowed – Permitted


4. Alter vs Altar

Once again, these words sound exactly the same, but their definitions are very different. As writers, we often use these incorrectly because it’s just one letter that is different between the two words. Once you know which means which, it becomes easier to use correctly.

Alter – To make alterations or change

Altar – A sacred stand at church


5. Bazaar vs Bizarre

One of these may be used more often than the other when writing a story, but it is important to know the meaning of both. Depending on your niche, you might need to use both frequently and besides, it’s never too late to add a new word to your vocabulary. Always do a complete sentence check when using these words.

Bazaar – A market in the Middle East

Bizarre – Weird / Strange


6. Coarse vs Course

We’ll get it right eventually, but for now, these two words can still confuse any writer. Of course, we know what it means, but when you are on a roll and writing fast, this can easily be mistaken.

Coarse – Rough

Course – Direction / Subject at school / Side dish


7. Draught vs Draft

There is a distinct difference in the way these words sound and written, but for some reason we still get confused. There are some similarities between these words, and that is a sure way to get confused.

Draught – Current of wind / air

Draft – First piece of writing


8. Exercise vs Exorcise

We live in times where working out and living healthier is part of our everyday life. I assume we all know what exercise means, but these words are very closely linked by its pronunciation.

Exercise – Physical activity

Exorcise – To get rid of an evil spirit


9. Hoard vs Horde

Both these words are pronounced the same and can be very confusing to any writer. As with most words, it is important to know the definitions to help to apply them correctly. It might be a little less of a problem if you use these words constantly in your writing. Also, once you know these words, you can incorporate it into your work. I love adding to my vocabulary, like all writers out there.

Hoard – A store / to store too much in one place

Horde – A huge crowd



10. Sight vs Site

Once again, these words are pronounced the same, but the spelling has significant differences. Once you start using these words more, you might be able to see it as less confusing. For now, they still confuse many writers.

Sight – The ability to see

Site – A place / location


11. Wreath vs Wreathe

This set of words is very confusing, and no one should slap you on the wrist for getting it wrong. There is one letter difference, but besides that, it’s spelled exactly the same. No wonder we get confused. You might need to use a sentence correction tool on this one. 

Wreath – A flower arrangement shaped in the form of a ring

Wreathe – To surround


12. Stationary vs Stationery

How confusing are there two words? Honestly, I still get it wrong at times. We know what the definitions are but the spelling is very similar, and you might question yourself when using it.

Stationary – Not moving

Stationery – Materials to write



Most of the time as writers we get it right, but it is still okay to be confused by these words. I doubt it will change overnight. We all have to continue to improve our writing skills and learn something new every day.


Lisa Brown Lisa Brown works as a content manager. She is specialized in writing useful articles for writers, students and people who want to improve their writing skills. Her hobby is reading, travelling and blogging. Lisa`s life motto is “Never stop learning because life never stops teaching”.


9 thoughts on “The 12 Most Confused Words That Affect And Effect Writers

  • January 29, 2019 at 6:57 am

    That was the only reason I clicked on the article only to find it is not even in the article. A classic faux pas for any writer. Headline/title is the subject of the article…include it in body!

  • January 27, 2018 at 8:46 am

    The effect of the tequila shots affected his balance.
    I’m wondering about the different pronunciations of draught and draft? I wasn’t aware there was a difference.

    • March 10, 2020 at 11:22 pm

      I don’t think there is a pronunciation difference between the two. “Draught” is British English. “Draft” is American English. Both mean a current of wind, among other things.

  • January 27, 2018 at 4:55 am

    I was expecting effect/affect, which is pretty much the only word I cannot figure out when to use each.

    • October 25, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      Effect is the result (both have an E)

      Stationery means l E tier or E nvelope. Or. E mail

      Stationary is standing. (Both have an A

      principal. The principal is your PAL.

  • May 16, 2017 at 12:50 am

    I’ve never forgotten being taught the difference between stationary and stationery – stationery has an e for envelope.

  • February 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    How about effect and affect

    • July 19, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Yes please – effect and affect would be helpful. Thank you.


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