Here are are few more sets of words that get confused by writers that you might want to put in your notebook:
Adverse and averse. I admit to being averse to these two words since they often muddle me up. To be adverse to something is to be in opposition to it (think: I’m opposed to). It’s a phrase that usually refers to things, not people. “I’m adverse to war, poverty, and cruelty.” However, “I’m averse to risk.” Averse usually describes a person’s attitude, something you have feelings against. It’s a subtle difference.
Effect and Affect. These two words get confused because there are instances when effect is a verb. But aside from saying, for example, “We can effect change” (used as a verb), the word effect is a noun. Affect is a verb and means these things:
- to act on or influence: The noise affected his hearing.
- to move emotionally: His illness affected her.
- to imitate or pretend: He affected compassion but didn’t feel a thing.