There’s no question that learning the English language is hard – but it’s fun at the same time! As an English language school in Hawaii, we know there are LOTS of pairs or groups of words that can be confusing to English language learners. For instance, consider the words borrow/lend, remind/remember, advice/advise – you get the idea. We’ve included definitions and explanations for some of the most commonly confused words below to help you better understand the proper use of these words.
Advice vs. advise. Advice is a noun, and means recommendation. Advise is a verb and means “to recommend.” You give someone advice, but you may advise someone regarding a great restaurant in the area.
Remember vs. remind. Did you forget to study your English homework? If you did, you’ll need to remember it next time. You remind someone when it is time to go to school, or someone may remind you to study for your English exam!
All ready vs. already. When you’re prepared to do something, you’re “all ready.” This may be the case when you are packing to go on a trip. If you have completed your preparations for a trip, you can say you have “already packed your things.” Essentially already means “by this time,” while all ready means you are “fully prepared.”
Board vs. bored. A board is a piece of wood, or would be used if you were to say you were “ready to board the plane.” Bored is a word that means you are uninterested or lack interest in whatever is going on around you.
Borrow vs. lend. While these two words don’t look or sound similar, many learners get them confused. Borrow is a verb that means to take something for a specific time but not keep the item, while lend means you will give someone an item for a short period. For instance, you may want to borrow someone’s cell phone to make a call, or you could lend your phone to a friend who needs to make a call.
There are literally hundreds of words that look or sound similar, or that are opposites but are still confusing (such as with borrow vs. lend). Don’t panic, in time it will all come to you! With the English language the more you use it in everyday life by reading, watching, listening, writing, and speaking – the quicker you’ll get the hang of it.