English for Everyone

<b>English for Everyone</b>
Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Words Frequently Misused

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

Read my most recent publication: Everyday American Idioms.for ESL Learners.(to get the paperback edition, click here)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Words Frequently Misusded

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).

Faint / Feint
Faint (both as a noun and a verb) means loss of consciousness; feint means a misleading attack

e.g. She fainted when she heard the bad news.
e.g. The robber, who gave a feint, began to attack the policeman.

Hail / Hake
Hail means to greet or salute; hale means healthy and strong.

e.g. "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee."
e.g. A man is hale when his complexion is rosy.
e.g. This dress is too loose for you (not tight enough).

Some time / Sometime / Sometimes
Some time means a period of time.
Sometime, as an adverb, means approximately; as an adjective, means former or occasional.
Sometimes, as an adverb, means now and then.

e.g. We have been for the train for some time.
e.g. Why don't you visit me sometime?
e.g. She was my sometime girlfriend.
e.g. Sometimes I like her, and sometimes I don't -- that's our relationship.

Defuse / Diffuse
Defuse means to decrease the danger, such as deactivate a bomb; diffuse means to spread over a wide area.

e.g. It is difficult to defuse the conflicts in the Middle East.
e.g. Once you open the bottle of fragrant herbs, their scents will diffuse.

Lose Loose
Lose means being unable to find; loose means to set free or to become less tight.

e.g. Here is your ticket to the show; don't lose it.
e.g. Don't lose your temper (become angry).
e.g. You are too loose with your students (you have little or no control over them).

Foul / Fowl
Foul means dirty or offensive; fowl  a fowl is a bird, such as hen.

e.g. The smoke from that factory fouls the air. (as a verb)
e.g. He always speak foul language, even in the presence of ladies. (as an adjective)
e.g. We are going to have a roast fowl for dinner tonight.

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. He always keeps me updated with current affairs.


Stephen Lau

Read my most recent publication: Everyday American Idioms.for ESL Learners.(to get the paperback edition, click here)