10 COMMONLY CONFUSED Word Pairs in English

(Last Updated On: January 18, 2018)

10 COMMONLY CONFUSED Word Pairs in English – May be / Maybe | Every Day / Everyday | Lose / Loose

Transcript: Welcome back. In this lesson, we’re going to look at ten commonly confused pairs of words. I will show you how to avoid the confusion and use all of these correctly without making mistakes. There are two quizzes in this lesson – one in the middle and one in the end – for you to check your understanding. So let’s jump in. The first pair of words are ‘lose’ and ‘loose’. The word ‘lose’ with a single ‘o’ is a verb. The most common meaning of this verb is ‘to not have something because you can’t find it’. For example: “I don’t take my watch when I go swimming so that I don’t lose it.” Notice that the last sound in this word is /z/ – /lu:z/. Another meaning is ‘to fail to win a competition’ as in: “The team will be out of the tournament if it loses this match.” ‘Loose’ with two ‘o’s is an adjective that means ‘not fixed or not attached strongly’. For example: “It looks like you have a loose button on your shirt.” Here, the last sound is /s/ – /lu:s/” One of my teeth is loose. I think it’s going to fall off.” To recap the pronunciation, ‘lose’ has a /z/ sound at the end and ‘loose’ has a ‘s’ sound at the end – ‘lose’, ‘loose’. Number two is the pair of ‘every day’ and ‘everyday’. The difference in spelling between these forms is the space. When we write ‘every day’ with a space, it’s an adverb phrase that simply means ‘each day’. In most situations, this is the form you should use. For example: “I get up at 7 am every day.” “He goes to the gym every day.” and so on. When it’s written without a space, ‘everyday’ is an adjective that means ‘common or ordinary’. “I need to buy a pair of jeans for everyday wear.” (meaning for daily use.) “The best teachers explain difficult concepts using simple, everyday language.” That means using ordinary language. So remember that ‘every day’ with a space means ‘each day’ and without a space, it means ‘common or ordinary’. Next up are the words ‘maybe’ and ‘may be’. Again, the difference is the space. These words are very close in meaning. Both of them are used to make guesses or talk about possibility. When we write ‘maybe’ as a single word, it’s an adverb. Take this sentence: “It will rain tomorrow” – here, the main verb is ‘rain’ and there’s the helping verb ‘will’ – this is a modal verb used to make predictions about the future. So this sentence sounds like I’m confident that it will rain tomorrow. But if I’m not so sure, I can say: “Maybe it will rain tomorrow.” So the maybe at the beginning makes it a little softer – I’m not so confident. Instead, we can also say “It may rain tomorrow.” or “It might rain tomorrow.” Here, we have used the modal verb ‘may’ or ‘might’ (same meaning) to make a weak prediction or guess about the future. Here’s another example: let’s say that a baby is crying. Someone asks, “Why is the baby crying?” and the answer is “She is hungry.” That sounds like we’re very sure that that’s why the baby is crying. But what if we’re not so sure? Simple: add ‘maybe’ to the beginning of the sentence. But I have a question for you: what is the main verb in this sentence? It’s ‘is’ which is a present tense form of ‘be’. There’s no helping verb here because we don’t need one in the present tense. So here’s another way we can say this: “She may be hungry.” Here, ‘may’ is a modal verb and ‘be’ is the main verb in the sentence. This is always true when we write ‘may’ and ‘be’ as separate words: ‘may’ is a modal verb that shows uncertainty and ‘be’ is the main verb. One last example: “I forgot to get my brother a birthday present. Maybe that is why he’s angry with me.” You can also say, “That may be why he is angry with me.” If you want, stop the video, read all of this and make sure you understand. Then play the video again and continue. Number four is the pair of ‘Desert’ and ‘dessert’. ‘Desert’ (with only one ‘s’) is a noun refers to an area covered with sand where there’s no water or plant life.

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