Common esl spelling mistakes and confusing words in English language. Here's a list of words, which are often used incorrectly. List includes short explanations and links to lessons.


  • Accept/Except
    • Accept : (verb) - to receive willingly, to approve, to agree
    • Except : (preposition or verb) - exclusion or leave out
  • Ad/Add
    • Ad : an advertisement
    • Add : to combine, join, unite or to find a sum
  • Advice/Advise
    • Advice : (noun) - suggestion or recommendation
    • Advise : (verb) - to suggest
  • Affect/Effect
    • Affect : (verb) - to change, have an effect on
    • Effect : (noun) - result
  • Ate/Eight
    • Ate : Past tense of verb [to eat]
    • Eight : number 8
  • Buy/By/Bye
    • Buy : (verb) - to purchase
    • By : next to something, by way of something
    • Bye : used to express farewell. Short for [goodbye]
  • Choose/Chose/Choice
    • Choose : (verb) to make a choice or selection
    • Chose : past tense of the verb [to choose]
    • Choice : (noun) choosing; selection
  • Cite/Site/Sight
    • Cite : to mention something or to quote somebody as an example or proof
    • Site : the location of an event or object. A website
    • Sight : ability to see, a thing that can be seen
  • Decent/Descent
    • Decent : kind, tolerant, respectable, modest
    • Descent : family origins or ancestry. Also the process of coming or going down
    • Dissent : (verb or noun) disagreement with a prevailing or official view
  • Desert/Dessert
    • Desert : (verb) to leave or abandon. (noun) waterless land with no vegetation and covered with sand
    • Dessert : sweet food served after the meal
  • Eat/It
    • Eat : to put food into the mouth, chew it and swallow it
    • It : the thing, animal or situation which has already been mentioned



Other Quizzes Grammar Exercises Match Word to Definition Tests Spelling Tests English-to-Spanish Word Matching Tests

  • Four/For
    • Four : number 4
    • For : to indicate the object, aim, or purpose of an action or activity
  • Here/Hear
    • Here : in, at, or to this place
    • Hear : to perceive (sound) by the ear
  • Knew/New
    • Knew : past simple of the verb [to know]
    • New : recently created
  • Know/Now/No
    • Know : (verb) to be familiar with someone or something
    • Now : at the present time or moment
    • No : negative reply, refusal or disagreement
  • Many/Money
    • Many : consisting of a large number, numerous
    • Money : currency or coins issued by a government that can be exchanged for goods and services
  • Off/Of
    • Off : away, at a distance in space or time
    • Of : belonging to or connected with someone or something
  • Peace/Piece
    • Peace : freedom from war and violence
    • Piece : a part of something
  • Than/Then
    • Then : refers to time or consequence
    • Than : used to compare or contrast things
  • There/Their
    • There : place or position
    • Their : possessive word that shows ownership of something
  • To/Too/Two
    • To : preposition (I went to school) or part of an infinitive (to go, to wwork)
    • Too : also (I like you too) or in excess (That is too much)
    • Two : number 2
  • Wander/Wonder
    • Wander : to walk aimlessly or without any destination
    • Wonder : (noun) feeling of surprise and admiration. (verb) desire to know
  • Weather/Whether
    • Weather : the atmospheric conditions in area, with regard to sun, cloud, temperature, wind and rain
    • Whether : introduces indirect question involving alternative possibilities
  • Where/Wear/Were
    • Where : to, at or in what place
    • Were : past tense of the verb [to be]
    • Wear : to have clothing, glasses, etc. on your body
  • Right/Write
    • Write : (verb) To form letters, words, or symbols on a surface (like paper) with a pen or pencil
    • Right : morally good, proper. Also opposite of left

Sentences for lessons are taken from VOA News, with addition of sentences from other news sources and online books. For an explanation of common English usage errors and how to avoid making them see list of errors from Common Errors in English page.


A Few Helpful Definitions

What are Homophones? Words which have the same pronunciation but different meanings and (sometimes) spellings.

What are Homonyms? Words which have the same pronunciation and spelling but different meanings.

What are Homographs? Words which have the same spellings but different meaning and (sometimes) pronunciation.