Common / Commonplace
Common: shared or used by many; commonplace: ordinary and not very interesting.
e.g. Smoking in an enclosed area is common nuisance.
e.g. To be healthy and wealthy is a common New Year’s resolution.
e.g. Running may be a commonplace sport for many.
Approve / Approve of
Approve means pgive consent to; approve of means think well of.
e.g. Your proposal will not be approved by the committee.
e.g. We approve of our daughter’s marriage to that promising young man.
A few / Few
A few: not many with a more positive meaning; few: not many with a more negative meaning.
e.g. A few people might ask for your help (some, not too many).
e.g. We were disappointed that only few people showed up (hardly any).
Defuse / Diffuse
Defuse: decrease the danger, such as deactivate a bomb; diffuse: spread over a wide area.
e.g. It is difficult to defuse the conflicts in the
e.g. Once you open the bottle of fragrant herbs, their scents will diffuse.
Read / Peruse
Read: look at and understand; peruse: read thoroughly.
e.g. Don’t just read through the document; you have to peruse it to see if there is any hidden code.
Masterful / Masterly
Masterful: determined, strong-willed, like a master; masterly means having good skills.
e.g. He has demonstrated that he is a masterful personality.
e.g. This is a masterly piece of performance
Afflict: cause someone to suffer; inflict: punish or put a burden on someone.
e.g. For years, he has been afflicted with muscle pain.
e.g. The tyrant had inflicted punishment on those who opposed him.
Farther / Further
Father: refers to greater distance; further: with more or greater intensity.
e.g. Our new house is farther from the lake than from the river.
e.g. The demonstration only led to further racial tension.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau