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.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Words Frequently Misused

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.


Stephen Lau

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