MOMENTARY / MOMENTOUS
Momentary: lasting only a moment; momentous: important with great consequence.
e.g. There was a momentary flash in the sky after a heavy thunder.
e.g. The Senator made a momentous decision to run for President of the United States.
FLAIR / FLARE
Flair: talent; flare: fire.
e.g. She has a flair for public speaking.
e.g. There's a flare in the garbage room; we'd better call 911.
POLE / POLL
Pole: a long stick; poll: a survey.
e.g. See if you can push this back with this pole.
e.g. According to the poll, which candidate won in the debate?
MINER / MINOR
Miner: a person who works in the mine underground; minor: a child.
e.g. My grandfather was a miner, and he did not like his occupation.
e.g. He is a minor, and therefore his testimony will not be taken seriously.
COULD / MIGHT
Could denotes potentiality; might suggests possibility.
e.g. Don't play with the knife; you might accidentally hurt yourself.
e.g. Could you close the window, please?
EXHAUSTING / EXHAUSTIVE
Exhausting means making one very tired; exhaustive means very thorough, covering a lot.
e.g. To remove all the books from this room is exhausting work.e.g. This is an exhaustive inquiry, covering every aspect of what happened.
FEWER / LESS
Fewer: used for items that can be counted; less: for items that cannot be counted.
e.g. Fewer people came to the meeting today than yesterday.
e.g. We have less money to spend on this trip than we used to have.
REAL / REALLY
Real: an adjective; really: an adverb.
e.g. The firefighter was really brave when he saved the child. .
ANXIOUS / EAGER
Anxious: worried; eager: impatiently desirous.
e.g. He was anxious about his future.
e.g. The children are eager to open their Christmas presents.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau