Commonly Confused Words 2
Hello and welcome back. We’re officially in the New Year and kicking it off with part two of Commonly Confused Words.
Let’s get into it. First, I want you to pause the audio and go through the sentences below. When you’ve finished, go ahead and play the audio again, and I’ll give some brief explanations to the answers.
(Woman or Women) She’s a real __________.
(Many or Much) My brother has so __________ friends.
(To or Too) Champagne costs way _________ much.
(Bought or Brought) Why have you __________ a new car?
(Past or Passed) My ex-girlfriend walked ___________ me without saying a word.
(Hear or Here) I cannot __________ anything because of the music.
(Through or Threw) She __________ the ball for the dog.
Okay, so let’s see how many you got and if you also have the same reasoning as me.
(Woman or Women) She’s a real woman.
Explanation: This is an easy one, but also easily confused. The simple answer is:
Woman = singular
Women = plural
I know a woman called Monica.
Did you see those two women fighting?
(Many or Much) My brother has so many friends.
Explanation: Again, this is the same rule here.
Much = singular (non-countable)
Many = plural (countable)
So plural nouns such as “friends” is something you can count, that is, you can count how many friends you have, whereas you cannot count “water”
My brother has so many friends.
The dog drinks so much water.
(To or Too) Champagne costs way too much.
Explanation: These words don’t really differ in pronunciation. You could argue that the second “too” is a slightly longer sound, but in quickly-spoken conversations you’re not gonna to hear it.
So, this one is all about spelling.
To = a preposition (This has many uses, but the most common meaning is “toward” or “until.” For example:
I’m going to bed.
The time is twenty to twelve.
It is, of course, also used with verbs in the infinitive: To eat, to sleep etc.
Too = an adverb and used to express that something is excessive or inclusivity (as well).
You drink too much.
I have that shirt, too.
(Bought or Brought) Why have you bought a new car?
Explanation: This is one of my favorites, as natives even get this one wrong all the time, so don’t beat yourself up too much. But please, get it right.
Bought = the past tense of “to buy”
Brought = the past tense of “to bring”
My mom has bought a new car.
Have you brought the coconuts with you?
(Past or Passed) My ex-girlfriend walked past me without saying a word.
Explanation: Although the spellings are different, the pronunciation is the same. You hear that the D in passed sounds more like the T in past. So which is which?
Past = has many different uses but I’m going to keep it as simple as possible. Use “past” when talking about an event or a length of time that previously happened:
The boy has an interesting past.
I’ve been learning English for the past 12 months.
“Past” can also mean “to get by,” that is, to physically “pass by” something or someone.
Sorry, I just need to get past.
We just drove past another gas station.
In the last two examples, you can see that “past” is joined with another verb. This is a good rule to follow. If you already have another verb indicating movement, then you will use “past”
Passed = the “past” particle form of “to pass”… Yes, this is a tricky one when you get into it. But basically, “passed” usually indicates a movement, often a forward movement.
The cyclist passed me on the wrong side.
He passed me the check.
I passed my final exam today.
(Hear or Here) I cannot hear anything because of the music.
Okay, let’s move on to a slightly easier example.
Explanation: Same pronunciation but different usage.
Hear = a verb
I cannot hear you.
Did you hear the good news?
Here = an adverb of place
He’s over here.
What time will you be here?
(Through or Threw) She threw the ball for the dog.
Through = an adverb or preposition, and often indicates entering and exiting something.
He posted the letter through the letterbox.
You can also use it to say that something is over or that you no longer will do something.
I am through with you.
Threw = past form of the verb “to throw”
Someone threw a sausage at me.
Who threw my cake in the trash?
Nice… There were some tricky ones in there, but I hope I cleared up any confusion. If you have any questions or more examples of commonly confused words, please leave a comment below.
See you next time.