Refrain / sustain
Refrain means to hold back; sustain means to hold up.
e.g. You have to refrain from making any noise.
e.g. Can the government sustain the booming economy for long?
Forbear / Forebear
Forbear means to tolerate, refrain from; forebear means an ancestor
e.g. You have to forbear from asking too many questions at the meeting.
e.g. He always takes pride in that Charles Dickens was his forebear.
Everyday / Every day
Everyday is an adjective.
e.g. This is an everyday event.
e.g. This happens in every day.
e.g. Every day somebody is killed on the road.
Reign / Rein
Reign means to rule over; rein means to control (e.g. an animal)
e.g. The emperor reigned over the country for decades.
e.g. You must rein in your hot temper.
e.g. Beware of giving free rein to your reason. (i.e. not release from any restraint).
Indispensable / Indisputable
Indispensable means absolutely necessary; indisputable means factual, without a doubt, and not arguable.
e.g. Air is indispensable to life.
e.g. It is indisputable that the verdict of the judge is final.
Spoiled / Spoilt
Spoiled (the past tense or past participle of “spoil”) means lay waste, rob; spoilt means mar or ruin.
e.g. You are a spoilt child!
Recourse / Resort
Recourse means turning to others or something for help; resort means to turn to for help (both noun and verb)
e.g. His only recourse was the police.
e.g. The police should not resort to violence to stop the peaceful demonstration.
e.g. The army decided using violence as the last resort.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau