In the English language, there are many words that look similar and can be confusing, especially to ESL learners.
DEPLETE / REPLETE
Deplete means to empty; replete means to be filled with.
e.g. The workload has depleted me of energy and strength.
e.g. Your garage is replete with garden tools.
COMMON / COMMONPLACE
Common means shared or used by many; commonplace means ordinary and not very interesting.
e.g. To be healthy and wealthy is a common New Year’s resolution.
e.g. Running may be a commonplace sport for many.
SEDATIVE / SEDENTARY
Sedative: calming or soothing. Sedentary: accustomed to sitting; physically inactive.
e.g. The doctor gave her some sedative medicine to put her to sleep.
e.g His sedentary work -- sitting in front of the computer -- took a toll on his health.
e.g. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle even if you are approaching 60..
GENTEEL / GENTLE
Genteel: well-bred, polite; imitating the lifestyle of the rich. Gentle: kind, friendly, mild.
e.g. Your friend is genteel. Is he very rich?
e.g. All along he has been living in genteel poverty. He is not practical.
e.g. Be gentle to my puppy.
ARISE / RISE
Arise: appear; begin. Rise: appear above the horizon; get out of bed.
e.g. When he was just about to call 911, a few men in uniform arose.
e.g. The sun rises in the east.
e.g. He rises very early every morning.
INGENIOUS / INGENUOUS
Ingenious is clever; ingenuous is natural, free from deceit.
e.g. I must say that was an ingenious way to steal the money.
e.g. His response was sincere and ingenuous.
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.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau