In a language like English, you don’t always say what you write and you don’t always write what you say. So it takes time to understand and get used to the intricacies of the language when you aren’t used to speaking it with daily practice. This is an issue I’ve often faced, especially when it comes to similar sounding words. To help you combat this confusion, keep a lookout for this list in your everyday communication, and you’ll quickly be able to use them without any hesitation or confusion.
- Compliment and Complement:
When you compliment someone, you say something nice to them. However, when something or someone complements another, it means they go well together. So while you may compliment your business associate over a team presentation, the two of you also complement each other and make a good team. When a food item at a hotel is free with another, it is complementary, not complimentary.
- Draft and Draught:
If you confuse these two, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone. Draught can mean a gust of wind entering a space from a crack in the floor or under a door. It is also a kind of beer which is stored in a barrel. A draft, on the other hand, is the first copy of something that you are writing; rough work, so to say. A draft can also be a bank payment document.
- Later and Latter:
Doing something later is to do it after some time. However, latter means the second of two things- for example, if a place serves tea and coffee, and you choose the latter, enjoy your coffee!
- Then and Than:
Only a minor change between these two words, both in the way they are pronounced and the way they are spelt, which causes a lot of us to use the two interchangeably. “Then” indicates an order or time, such as “I’ll see you tomorrow, then!” or “Then you should speak after the event.” “Than” is a marker of comparison between two or more things- such as “This store is cheaper than the one we went to the previous week” or “I wish it would rain in the night than in the day.”
- Moral and Morale:
When we hear a story or read one, by the end we often ask what the ‘moral’ of the story is. However, when your team at work feels low, you wonder how the ‘morale’ of the team can be boosted. There is also a slight difference in the way the two words are pronounced, be sure to look that up as well.
More often than not, English tricks the best of us. I find that keeping myself in the loop of what words mean and practising how to use these tricky words and phrases helps me feel more confident about them. By finding such ways to practice for yourself too, ensure that your morale is never low!