Why are words so confusing? The answers.

If you read this post, you probably have already thought about the incorrect sentences given and know which words are incorrectly used. Here are the sentences again with an explanation of what is wrong after them.

1. Strong coffee doesn’t effect me at all.
Effect is a noun but in this sentence, the auxiliary (do) precedes it so a verb is needed. Affect is the verb which is often confused with the noun effect.
Strong coffee doesn’t affect me. subject + auxiliary + verb
Strong coffee has no effect on me. to have an effect on something.

2. There are strong economical arguments for having high taxation at the moment.
Economical is an adjective that means something gives good value or return in relation to the money spent or resources used. It also means something does not use many resources or much money.
e.g. My car is quite economical. Its doesn’t use much fuel.
Economic is an adjective which relates to the economy or the study of economics. In our sentence above, the context suggests we are talking about the economy (high taxation) so economic would be the correct adjective to use here.

3. He was so busy to do his homework.
So is often incorrectly used instead of too. To make this sentence work, so busy needs to be followed by that+clause e.g. He was so busy that he couldn’t do his homework. Too+adjective is followed by the full infinitive e.g. He was too busy to do his homework.

There is a difference between these two sentences:
It is so hot.
It is too hot.

so hot : this suggests it is very hot
too hot: this suggests that the heat is excessive

4. Do you think there is an opportunity of life on Mars?
Opportunity suggests that something is possible because the circumstances are good or right for something to happen e.g. The party was a great opportunity to meet new people. The opportunity to meet people is there because you are at the party.
Possibilitysuggests that something might be true or might happen. It is often followed by of or that e.g. Do you think there is a possibility of life on Mars?

5. I was standing besides the IELTS examiner.
Besides means in addition toe.g. Where are you going besides the cinema?
Beside means next to e.g. I was standing beside the IELTS examiner.

When you find a word that you mistake for another, make sure you look it up in a dictionary or on Google. Try to use the word in a piece of writing or when you are speaking. We can only learn how to use a word correctly if we try using it!

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