Vocabularies Causing You to Feel Confused
Vocabularies Causing You to Feel Confused
  • 경남타임즈(경남대학교)
  • 승인 2023.12.29 14:26
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Han Hak-sunProfessor of the Department of English Education
Han Hak-sunProfessor of the Department of English Education


Hello, KT readers! Have you been waiting for this column? I have been thinking about what interesting and useful English expressions to share with you in this December issue ever since I completed my previous article last year. For this column, English Use & Usage, four professors (including myself) are in charge of providing you with useful information, knowledge, and expressions. We take turns writing this article quarterly.

Up until now, I have made efforts to highlight useful expressions taken from literature such as Nietzsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra and Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince , along with my perspectives on those works.

However, for this issue, I will go beyond the scope of literature. I intend to introduce verb, noun, and adjective pairs which might confuse some of you due to similar spellings, such as ‘lice’ and ‘rice.’ I hope you enjoy the information I provide here. I want KT readers to read this column with little stress. Furthermore, at the end of this article, I added a short fun little quiz, which can give you another way to derive satisfaction from The Kyungnam Times (KT) besides just reading articles in KT. Let’s start.

If you have any questions and comments, don’t hesitate to contact us. Here are some words which can lead to confusion and headache. For your understanding, I put the English meanings in the parenthesis right after each word and provided example sentences. Now, here are those words:

Words Which Lead You to Confusion

1. Die (to stop living) vs. Dye (to color something): He will die someday. She will dye her hair.

2. Effect (a result or consequence) vs. Affect (have an effect on something or somebody): The effect of the medication was evident. His mood can affect the entire team.

3. Principal (the educator who has executive authority for a school) vs. Principle (a rule or standard especially of good behavior): The principal of the school makes a speech. Honesty is a fundamental principle.

4. Tension (mental or emotional strain) vs. Suspension (temporary cessation or interruption): Her laughter soon dissipated the tension in the air. He was given a six-month suspension due to his misbehavior.

5. Complement (something that completes or goes well with something) vs. Compliment (a polite expression of praise): The team needs players who complement each other. It’s a great compliment to be asked to do the job.

6. Device (a machine or tool used for a specific purpose) vs. Advise (give advice to someone): Operation of the device is extremely simple. Doctors now advise only sparing use of such creams.

7.Incredible (beyond belief or understanding) vs. Incredulous (skeptical or doubtful): Her academic achievement of psychology is incredible. He looked incredulous when hearing the news.

8. Accepting (willing to accept) vs. Excepting (excluding): She’s in two minds about accepting his invitation. We must all obey the law, not excepting the king.

9. Practical (useful or suited for everyday use) vs. Practicable (able to be put into practice): We need people with practical skills like carpentry. The only practicable alternative is to postpone the meeting.

10. Elicit (to draw out or evoke a response) vs. Illicit (forbidden by law, rules, or custom): I could elicit no response from him. They were all prosecuted for illicit liquor selling.

11. Disinterested (impartial or unbiased) vs. Uninterested (lacking interest or enthusiasm for something): The umpire makes disinterested decisions. He seemed utterly uninterested in all these matters.

12. Discreet (careful in behavior and action) vs. Discrete (Separate and distinct): He was always very discreet about his love affairs. The organisms can be divided into discrete categories.

13. Aesthetic (related to the appreciation of beauty) vs. Ascetic (describing a person who leads a life of self-discipline): He has focused on the aesthetic aspect of the architecture. The monks lived a very ascetic life.

14. Sensible (having good judgment) vs. Sensitive (easily affected or offended): If you plan to have children, marrying young is quite sensible. They each contain a different pigment and are sensitive to light wavelengths.

15. Stationary (not moving or standing still) vs. Stationery (writing materials): Literary value is not stationary, but becomes rich with meaning. Stationery has been donated by a rich person over the past two years.

Did you enjoy reading these words, or do you have a headache now? If you feel a headache, read the article once more. Then, your understanding will be much better. Now, it's a short quiz time. Don’t look at the words above, and try to choose the proper word in each passage.

Quiz: Choose the correct word in each pair

-Passage 1: One aspect of (affective, effective) communication is being (sensitive, sensible) to the needs and feelings of others. Being (discrete, discreet) in our conversations and respecting boundaries is crucial in maintaining a positive and respectful interaction. On the other hand, (discreet, discrete) pieces of information, when organized and presented clearly, can enhance the overall (aesthetic, ascetic) of a presentation or written work.

-Passage 2: In our technology-driven world, the use of various (advises, devices) has become a part of our daily lives. Whether it's a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer, these devices serve as (practical, practicable) tools to help us navigate the modern world in a (sensible, sensitive) and efficient manner. However, the same devices can also be misused for (elicit, illicit) purposes, underscoring the importance of being (sensible, sensitive) to ethical boundaries and responsible usage.

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