throwthrew (have/had) thrownwearwore(have/had) wornwritewrote(have/had) writtenPerhaps the most often misused irregulars are lie/lay, set/sat and rise/raise.For example, lie and laymean different things -- lie means to recline, and lay means to set something down -- but their tense forms are similar. So, they confuse:TENSELIE(recline)LAY (set down)PresentLieLayPastLayLaidParticipleHave lainHave laidTENSESET (put down)SIT (have a seat)PresentSetSitPastSetSatParticipleHave setHave satTENSERISE (come up)RAISE (lift up)
PresentRiseRaisePastRoseRaisedParticipleHave risenHave raisedConfused WordsCertain word pairs plague writers because they sound alike or look alike, and so they are easily confused. Examples include: affect/effect, accept/except, historic/historical, stationary/stationery.Below is a list of commonly confused word pairs, and many others are not listed here. You’re not expected to memorize them all now, but you should become familiar with them. The ones you're most likely to run into later are colored red. The more familiar these are to you, the more likely “red flags” will go up in your mind as you encounter them in your writing.At least you’ll know there’s a potential problem, and you can look it up if you need to.Affect: To influence – used as a verb (TV affects children.)Effect: Used most often as a noun – consequence or result. (TV has an effect on children.)Aid: To help – used as a verbAide: Someone who helps – used as a noun (the governor's aide)Allude: To refer to something indirectly (To what was he alluding?)Elude: To escape from or avoid (The burglary suspect eluded the police.)Alternate: To move between choices – used as a verbAlternative: Another choice – used as a noun (She had two alternatives.)Alumna/Alumnae: A female graduate/Female graduatesAlumnus/Alumni: A male graduate/Male graduatesAmbiguous: Unclear, fuzzy, hard to make outAmbivalent: Not caring strongly one way or the otherAmong: For more than two (among the three students; among the crowd)Between: Only for two (between you and me)Appraise: To assess or evaluate (The jeweler appraised the diamond.)Apprise: To inform someone (I apprised her of the situation.)Bemused: Lost in thought (I sat there bemused, not noticing the light had changed.)Amused: To find something humorousBiannual: Twice a yearBiennial: Every other yearBoat: A small watercraftShip: A large watercraft, capable of carrying many peopleBrake: To stop (as a verb), or a mechanism that stops something (as a noun)Break: To smash or fractureBread: FoodBred: To have raisedCapital: A city (Montgomery is the capital of Alabama); also means money or resourcesCapitol: A building (I can see the Capitol building from here.)Censor: Someone who prevents others from seeing things (The military government censored the news.)Censure: A reprimand (The Senate censured Rep. Bob Jones for fighting.)Chord: Grouped musical notesCord: String, twineClimactic: At the highest point, or climaxClimatic: Having to do with the weatherComplement: To go well with something else (His tie complements his coat.