CURRANT / CURRENT
Currant means a kind of black berry; current means a movement of air or water; or of the present time.
e.g. We enjoy the dessert made with honey and currant.
e.g. The water may not be safe for swimming because there is a strong current below the water surface.
e.g. His secretary always keeps him updated with current affairs.
PRECEDE / PROCEED
Precede means come or go before in time or place; proceed means to go forward.
e.g. Soaking the beans overnight should precede the cooking.
e.g. We decided to proceed with the plan, even without the funding.
TERMINABLE / TERMINAL
Terminable: can be ended.
e.g. Your job is only temporary and terminable at any time.
Terminal: at the end.
e.g. The doctor told the patient that she had terminal cancer.
SECONDARY / SECONDLY
Secondary means next after the first in importance; secondly means in the next place.
e.g. Concentrate on this; that is only a secondary source.
e.g. Firstly, you have to take care of yourself. Secondly, take care of your family.
PRETENSE / PRETENSION
Pretense is to make believe; pretension is a claim
e.g. I make no pretense to like her (I do not pretend that I like her).
e.g. He laughed and made a pretense not to be offended by the insult.
e.g. I make no pretension to that award.
e.g. I never make any pretension that I am an expert in this field.
WAIVE / WAVE
Waive means to forgo or relinquish; wave means to move.
e.g. If you sign this document, you will waive all your rights.
e.g. He was waving his hands at you.
DEFER / INFER
Defer: give way or yield to; infer: conclude.
e.g. He is a good kid: he always defers to his parents' wishes.
e.g. We can infer from your statement that you don't like this policy.
ACCOUNTABLE TO / ACCOUNTABLE FOR
Accountable to: responsible to someone; accountable for: responsible for something
e.g. The Manager has to be accountable to the Board; he has to be accountable for all his business decisions.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau