Here are some of the words which are commonly misused:
Good and Well
Good is an adjective; well can be an adjective or an adverb.
e.g. The food looks good. (adjective: good taste)
e.g. This is good advice. (adjective)
e.g. You look well today. (adjective: in good health)
e.g. The engine works well. (adverb: functions efficiently)
Human and Humane
Human refers to a person; humane means considerate and merciful.
e.g. This is profound human wisdom.
e.g. This is not a humane way of treating an animal
Common and Mutual
Common refers to many or all; mutual means “reciprocal.”
e.g. This is our common interest.
e.g. Our love and respect are mutual, and that is why we can get along.
Ability and Capacity
Ability is the power to do something; capacity is the power to hold or contain.
e.g. We have the ability to finish this project on time.
e.g. This room has the capacity for a few hundred people.
Genius and Genus
Genius means a talented person; genus refers to class or kind.
e.g. Albert Einstein was a genius.
e.g. This bird belongs to an uncommon genus.
Healthful and Healthy
Healthful means making you healthy; healthy means possessing good health.
e.g. This food is healthful.
e.g. We are not living in a healthful environment.
e.g. You are healthy, and your dog is also healthy.
If and Whether . . or
If suggests a condition; whether . . . or suggests doubt.
e.g. If it rains, we will stay home.
e.g. I wondered whether the money was stolen or not.
Inferior than and Inferior to
Inferior to means not as good as; inferior than is not a standard idiom.
Stephen LauCopyright© by Stephen Lau