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Sunday, February 10, 2019

They May Look Alike

Lean / Lien

Lean means incline or tilt; lien is a legal claim.

e.g. Stand up straight and don't lean against the wall.
e.g. There is a lien against your house if you don't pay its property tax.

Recourse / Resort


Recourse means an appeal to; resort means turn to for help.

e.g. We may have recourse to compulsion.
e.g. If there is no solution, we may have to resort to force.(as a verb)
e.g. We may have to open it with a knife as a last resort (as a noun).
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Indoor / Indoors

Indoor is an adjective; indoors is an adverb.

e.g. Basketball is often an indoor game.
e.g. It is raining; we'd better go indoors.

Smother / Smolder


Smother means cause difficulty in breathing; smolder means burn slowly.

e.g. For a while, we were smothered by the dense smoke.
e.g. The ashes at the fireplace were still smoldering.
e.g. For years, hatred smoldered in her heart.

Regardful /Regarding


Regardful means paying attention or showing respect for; regarding means concerning or relating to.

e.g She is regardful of all her customers.
e.g. Regarding this matter, I think you didn't get it right.

Infamous / Notorious


Infamous means evil or wicked; notorious means well known for something discreditable.

e.g. He was an infamous kidnapper.
e.g. Everybody knows that she is a notorious liar.


Emigrate / Immigrate

Emigrate means to move to a country; immigrate means to come to country.
e.g. Many people like to emigrate to the United States.
e.g. Those who immigrate from other countries must abide by the laws in this country.

Complacent / complaisant / compliant

Complacent means self-satisfied; complaisant means too eager to please; compliant means obeying or submissive
e.g. I was filled with a complacent satisfaction when I eventually completed the project.
e.g. You are too complaisant with your boss: you over flatter him.
e.g. Unlike the computer, people are not compliant, and neither are they predictable.

Eminent / Imminent

Eminent means important or outstanding; imminent means coming soon.
e.g. He is an eminent author whose books have been translated into multiple languages worldwide.
e.g. Look at the dark clouds above; I think a storm is imminent.

Overdo / Overdue

Overdo means do too much; overdue means past the deadline date.
e.g. This is good enough; don't overdo it!
e.g. The payment is now overdue

Wander / Wonder

Wander means to walk aimlessly; wonder means to consider or question some issue.
e.g. The hiker lost his direction and wandered in the forest for some hours.
e.g. I wondered if he would come to the birthday party. 

Born Borne

Born means to be brought into existence; borne means to be carried or tolerated.
e.g. Don't take me for a fool; I wasn't born yesterday!
e.g. The heavy burden of taking care of his family was borne by borne by him for many years.
e.g. All human sorrows can be well borne if you have faith in God. 


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Better English for You

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