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5 Confusing English Word Pairs

The spelling and pronunciation might be different but we still confuse these words sometimes. Read the information below and do a short quiz to remember the difference.

1. Lose and Loose

 Lose [“z” sound] – (a verb) to not have something anymore or not to win. You can lose your cell phone, or you can lose your way while driving somewhere.

  • I don’t want my football team to lose the game.
  • She will lose her money if she gambles with it.

Loose [“s” sound] – (an adjective) free, unattached or not tight. It’s also a verb meaning to untie or let go of something.

  • The door handle fell off because it was too loose.
  • A loose sweater feels very comfortable.

2. Resign and Re-sign

 Resign [“z” sound] – to quit your job.

  • My boss didn’t want to increase my salary so I decided to resign. This will be my last week of work.

Re-sign [“s” sound] – to sign a contract again; it usually also means that you’ve decided to stay in your current job.

  • I love my current job, so I happily re-signed for another year.

3. Advice and Advise

 Advise [“z” sound] – (a verb).

  • She advised me to invest my money more carefully.
  • You can advise your friend to travel to Italy.

 Advice [“s” sound] – (a noun).

  • My father gave me one piece of advice – “Always be on time.”
  • Can you give me some advice?

4. Compliment and Complement

Compliment (a verb and a noun) – saying something nice about someone.

  • I complimented my sister on her delicious cooking (verb).
  • I gave my sister a compliment on her delicious cooking (noun).

 Complement – when two things go well together, or complete each other. This word is often used in food and in fashion to describe matching styles or ingredients.

  • My blue tie really  complements my white shirt (my blue tie and white shirt go well together).
  • That wine complements the meat dish well.

 5. Bear and Bare

Bear – (a verb) to hold up or support a heavy weight and to suffer or endure difficulties.

  • Don’t stand on that old chair, it cannot bear your weight.
  • I cannot bear to see my son in pain.

 Bare – (an adjective, a verb) naked or uncovered, or a verb which means to uncover or reveal.

  • Visitors to the temple must not have bare arms or legs, so wear long pants and a jacket (adjective).
  • I bared my arm to show them my new tattoo (verb).