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Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! Welcome back to Top Words!
My name is Alisha, and today, we're gonna talk about 10 pairs of commonly confused words.
So, let's go!
1. claim / complain
The first pair is "claim" and "complain."
First, let's talk about the word "claim."
To claim is like "to accuse someone of (something)."
To complain is "to explain a problem in a negative manner."
So, example sentences:
"He claimed he was harassed by the police."
"She complained about the food."
2. affect / effect
Next pair is "affect" and "effect."
So, this is a pair that even native speakers make mistakes with. There are some deeper meanings to "effect" with an E, when used as a verb. However, when used with an A, "affect," although the pronunciation is the same, "affect," "effect," when used with an A, it means a verb. It means to cause (something) to happen.
"Effect" is a result. You can think of it as the outcome, the result of (something).
So, in sentences:
"My job change is going to affect my salary."
"The weather has a big effect on my mood."
3. accept / except
The next pair is "accept" and "except."
So, they have the same pronunciation. You can hear it "accept," "except," but the spelling is different. "Accept," A-C-C-E-P-T, and E-X-C-E-P-T, E-X-C-E-P-T, yes! So, "accept" and "except."
To accept, as a verb, means "to allow (something)" or "to permit (something)."
Except, however, is a word we use to mean, to mean "excluding (something) else."
"Please accept my apologies."
So please allow me to apologize.
"He gave me everything except his wallet."
So, he gave me all of his things, but not his wallet! So everything, but his wallet, everything except his wallet.
So same pronunciation, different spelling.
4. lead / lead / led
The next pair is actually three words that I want to talk about. I say three because the first word can be pronounced in two different ways. There's "lead" and then there's "lead" and then "led."
So, let's start with "lead" and "lead," L-E-A-D.
We can read them, so we can read the word, L-E-A-D, in two different ways, the word that's spelled like that.
First, let's talk about the noun.
The noun form is pronounced "lead," lead. So, the noun form, so this "lead," means it's like a type of soft metal. If you've ever used a pencil, that's the material that the pencil is made from. That's the writing material. That's called "lead," a lead pencil.
However, the same spelling is used for the present tense of the verb "lead," as in like the word "leader," for example. So, leader has that word. We can also use it as a verb, "to lead (something)" like to lead a group, to lead a party, to lead an expedition into the mountains, I don't know.
So, "lead (as a verb in the present tense)" and "lead (as a material)" have the same spelling. You need to pay attention to the sentence that you're reading and the grammar of the sentence to understand which is the true meaning in that sentence.
Now though, let's talk about L-E-D, "led."
This is the past tense of the verb "lead." So please be careful, "lead," L-E-A-D, the verb, the past tense of that verb is "led," L-E-D. L-E-D, "led" has the same pronunciation as the noun form of L-E-A-D, "lead (as a pencil material)" and "led (past tense of the verb lead)." This is very confusing, I'm very sorry, but that's just the way it is.
So, please be careful with "lead," "lead," and "led."
Okay, example sentences now:
"My pencil is made from lead."
"He wants to lead the presentation."
"She led me to the restaurant."
5. scary / scared
Okay. All right! Next pair, actually, this is a very common issue that I want to talk about, but I'm going to explain it with two common words, "scary" and "scared." So, both of these refer to "fear."
"Scary" is a word that we use to describe something outside us.
A ghost is scary, a movie is scary, a monster is scary, my next-door neighbour's cooking is scary, I don't know. Something that is scary, something that causes fear outside of you is scary, with a Y at the end, "scary."
"Scared," however, refers to a person's emotions.
He is scared, she is scared, the dog looked scared.
"Scared" is referring to an emotion.
"Scary" refers to something's quality, its characteristics.
So, if you're trying to remember, like which to use, "scary" or "scared," go with the -ED one. That -ED is always going to refer to an emotion. So, you'll see similar patterns with other...with other words. So, for example, like...I don't know, like the word, like "shocking" and "shocked." So, one of these two words ends in -ED, "shocked," in that case. So, "shocked" should apply to you, your emotions.
So, if you're ever in that situation, which do I use? There's the "scary," "scared," go with the -ED one.
So, example sentences:
"That movie was really scary!"
"He looks really scared."
6. challenge / try
The next pair is "challenge" and "try."
"Challenge" and "try"
So, we can use "challenge" both as a noun and as a verb. When we say...when we use "challenge" as a noun, we'll say it in a sentence like, "I'm interested in a challenge this year," for example. Something that is difficult, but not impossible to do.
The trouble with these two words comes when people try to use the word "challenge" to mean "attempt." We don't have this meaning for "challenge" in English. So, if you say like I want to challenge this test, it sounds odd. We have a word, we have a verb meaning "of challenge" which means like to…it sounds like to initiate a fight with someone, like he challenged his boss. It's like, it sounds like a very aggressive situation, to challenge someone or to challenge a verdict in a court case, for example. It means like to make an appeal for something or to try to change the opinion of someone else, to challenge, as a verb.
"To try," on the other hand, means "to make an attempt."
So, it doesn't mean...that doesn't have the nuance really of a challenge, necessarily. It might be a challenging task, it might be a challenging thing to attempt, but it doesn't necessarily mean challenge, the word, I'm sorry, the nuance of challenge isn't really always included in the word "try." "Try" just means "attempt."
So, let's look at some example sentences:
"This recipe is going to be a challenge!"
As a verb, "Challenge yourself!"
And then try, "I'm excited to try making this cake!"
7. everyday / every day
Okay! The next pair of words is "everyday" and "every day."
So, the difference here is there's a word with no space, "everyday," and then there's two words, with a space, "every day." There is a difference between these two words.
"Everyday (with no space)" is used, this is an adjective, so it means something that is common, something that is a regular behavior or something that is kind of expected, an everyday behavior, an everyday activity, for example.
"Every day" refers to something that happens regularly, but it is not an adjective. It's like, it's like we use it as an introduction to a phrase.
"Every day, I brush my teeth."
"Every day, I take a shower."
"Every day, he goes to work."
However, when we use "everyday," we use it as an adjective.
So, for example, "Going to work is an everyday activity." "Taking a shower is an everyday activity."
We can use these two words to describe the same things, to describe similar activities and similar actions, however, grammatically, they have different functions, so please be careful.
"Everyday" - adjective
"Every day" - refers to a series of activities, each day.
All right. Example sentences:
"I study every day."
"It's an everyday task for me."
8. then / than
Next is a common spelling error, I think, even for native speakers.
It's "then" and "than," T-H-E-N and T-H-A-N.
"Then" is like a connecting word. We say first, next, then, after that, for example. Or "then" meaning like it leads to or it connects to another idea in a sequence.
"Than," however, is used typically to make comparisons, like "My hair is longer than her hair," for example. Or, "My rent is cheaper than Donald Trump's," I don't know. I don't know. Why was that the first, I don't know.
But "than" is used to make comparisons.
"Then" is used to make connections.
So, please try to keep these two in mind. That vowel does make a difference. That sounds very similar, I know, but "then," "than."
"Then" and "than"
Example sentences:
"I took a shower, then went to bed."
"He has more time than me."
9. borrow / lend
The next pair is "borrow" and "lend."
"Borrow" and "lend" are so confusing, I know, and actually, I mix up these words in, like other languages and I study them too. I don't why they're so difficult to remember. I feel your pain. Okay, but let's review.
So, to borrow (something) from (someone), when you, yourself, use the word "borrow," it means you want to receive something. So, "Let me borrow your book." "I want to borrow your car." "Can I borrow your dog?" I don't know what happens if I borrow someone's dog."
But, to borrow (something) means you're going to receive something. When you make a request, "Can I borrow (blah, blah, blah)?" or "My friend let me borrow his....DVD player," I don't know. Borrowing, to borrow means to receive that thing.
"Lend," on the other hand, means to provide something, to give someone something. So, the confusion, I think, comes in with an expression like "Will you lend me your car?" because the speaker is asking the other person to take the action of giving something. But we use the word "lend" like "lend me your car."
That's...in American English, I think, I tend to say "Can I borrow...?" I'll put myself as the subject there. "Can I borrow your pen?" for example. "Is it okay if I borrow your pen?" I typically don't use the expression, "Lend me your pen." That's just not a word that I tend to use. However, I think it can cause confusion because I'm using the word "lend," however, I want to receive that thing. So, I'm using the command form for the other person. I'm telling them, "Lend me (something)." So, I think that's where the confusion comes in.
So, if you use an expression, depending on the kind of English you'd like to use, of course, you can use "borrow," you can use "lend." Either of these patterns are fine, but just keep in mind, if you want to borrow something, you should say, "Can I borrow…?" If you want to use the verb "lend," you should say, "Lend me…" You can say, "Will you lend me (something)?" but just keep in mind who the subject of the sentence is, like "Will you lend me this thing?" "Will you lend me your pen?" is correct and "Can I borrow your pen?" is correct.
Keep in mind who the subject of the sentence is. So, if the other person is giving you a thing, you can use like, I want, "I want to…" If I'm the subject, "I want to borrow that thing." If the other person is the subject, it's "Lend me that thing."
So, quite confusing, I think, but I think in this case, this could be one of those times where it's better to try to think of it as a set phrase and focus less on the individual words. So maybe studying them as set questions, studying them as a pattern, instead of focusing a lot on, "Ah, is it lend or borrow?" I think trying to repeat as a question or as a statement could be more useful if this is difficult for you.
So, let's look at some more example sentences:
"I borrowed a lot of money from the bank."
"Hey, can you lend me your car for the afternoon?"
10. loose / lose
The last one is another spelling problem and pronunciation problem, I supposed.
The last pair is "loose" and "lose."
"Loose" and "lose"
You can hear maybe the difference in bowel sound, "loose" and "lose."
So, "loose" is an adjective.
So, "loose" means something that is not, the opposite of tight. So, if your bag comes together, you pull the string, your bag becomes tight. The opening in the bag becomes tight. If you relax the string, the bag becomes "loose" perhaps, and you can put items inside it. So, "loose" is an adjective which kind of means like relax or open, so the opposite of tight.
"Lose," however, is a verb.
So, "to lose (something)" like "I don't want to lose my wallet" or "Oh my gosh, I'm going to lose my job," not true, but to lose (something) means it disappears, it goes away.
So, "loose" and "lose" have very different meanings. However, there is one O that is different there.
Example sentences, okay.
"I lost a lot of weight, and now my pants are loose."
"Be careful not to lose your keys!"
So, those are 10 pairs of commonly confused words. I hope that that was helpful for you. If you have any other words that are confusing for you or if there's something that you often make a spelling mistake with, let us know in the comments.
Thank you very much for watching this episode of Top Words and we will see you again soon! Bye-bye!
And then "lose" only has one O because it lost the other O. Oh my gosh!