Published 18th April 2019

English teachers

In our previous post we looked at six commonly confused words for both English teachers and learners. Hopefully you learnt a few things! There are loads more examples, but we’ve chosen another six for you. Do you get confused with any of these words?

More commonly confused words for English Teachers and Learners

Desert vs dessert

Desert is a verb, meaning to leave without permission, or a noun, referring to a dry, sandy region.

Dessert is a noun, referring to the sweet course of a meal.

The soldier was punished for deserting his battalion.

The Sahara Desert is the biggest desert in the world.

He had ice cream for dessert every Tuesday.

Lose vs loose

Lose is a verb, meaning to misplace something so that it cannot be found, or to fail to win.

Loose is an adjective, the opposite of tight.

She had to buy another pair of glasses because she had lost hers.

Manchester United lost to Arsenal last night.

She has lost weight so that dress is very loose on her.

Past vs passed

Past is an adjective or a noun, referring to time gone by.

Passed is the past tense of pass.

My granny always used to reminisce about the past.

When they had passed the library, they began to talk again.

Principal vs principle

Principal is a noun, referring to the head of a school, or an adjective, describing the most important thing.

Principle is a noun, referring to a fundamental belief.

My father was the principal of the high school for five years.

She was the principal ballet dancer in the show.

Don’t let anyone force you to give up your principles.

Site vs sight

Site is a noun, referring to a piece of land which is used for a specific purpose.

Sight is a noun, referring to something we see or the sense of seeing.

This is the site of the new shopping centre.

The sunset was a spectacular sight.

After the operation, he regained his sight.

Stationary vs stationery

Stationary is an adjective, meaning not moving.

Stationery is a noun, referring to writing materials such as pens and paper.

The train was stationary because it was at the station.

Before the school term started, they went shopping for new stationery.

There you have it. Even though these words may seem quite simple and straightforward, there are many times there are used incorrectly. Now that you know exactly what they are and what they mean, you have no excuse to get them confused again!