It’s the Principle (or is that Principal?)

Confusing Words Exercise

Employers complain about employees who can’t spell or who confuse common words. Help your students be better prepared for workplace expectations with this 15-sentence exercise on confusing words. An answer key follows.

  1. In business reports writers must (site, cite, sight) their sources of information.
  1. It is (to, too, two) soon to know whether either of the (to, too, two) plans will work.
  1. My manager checks sales (everyday, every day) as part of his (everyday, every day) routine.
  1. After the restructuring, the company (then, than) offered higher salaries (then, than) anyone expected.
  1. (Their, There, They’re) going to put (their, there, they’re) backpacks over (their, there, they’re).
  1. News of the merger immediately (effected, affected) the stock market.
  1. Elena was surprised and (greatful, grateful) when she received the award.
  1. His (principal, principle) reason for taking the job was its location.
  1. The hotel (formally, formerly) known as the Sands (formally, formerly) reopened as the Oasis.
  1. If there are no (farther, further) objections, we will (precede, proceed) with the agenda items.
  1. We should not (infer, imply) agreement with an Asian’s head nod; it may merely mean I hear what you are saying.
  1. The CEO had a (stationery, stationary) bicycle in his office.
  1. She was so frightened that her eyes (wavered, waivered) from side to side.
  1. When flames began to (envelop, envelope) the building, firefighters knew they were losing the battle.
  1. Rick was certain he could finish the 16-week (coarse, course).

—————————— 

Confusing Words Key

  1. In business reports writers must cite their sources of information.

cite: to quote; to summon

site: location

sight: a view; to see

  1. It is too soon to know whether either of the two plans will work.

to: a preposition; the sign of the infinitive

too: an adverb meaning “also” or “to an excessive extent”

two: a number

  1. My manager checks sales every day as part of his everyday routine.

every day: each single day

everyday: ordinary

  1. After the restructuring, the company then offered higher salaries than anyone expected.

then: adverb meaning “at that time”

than: conjunction showing comparison

  1. They’re going to put their backpacks over there.

they’re: a contraction of “they are”

their: possessive form of they

there: at that place or point

  1. News of the merger immediately affected the stock market.

affect: to influence

effect: (n) outcome, result; (v) to bring about, to create

  1. Elena was surprised and grateful when she received the award.

grateful: appreciative

greatful: misspelled word

  1. His principal reason for taking the job was its location.

principle: rule of action

principal: (n) capital sum; school official; (adj) chief

  1. The hotel formerly known as the Sands formally reopened as the Oasis.

formerly: in the past

formally: in a formal manner

  1. If there are no further objections, we will proceed with the agenda items.

further: additional                                    precede: to go before

farther: a greater distance                     proceed: to continue

  1. We should not imply agreement with an Asian’s head nod; it may merely mean I hear what  you are saying.

imply: to suggest indirectly

infer: to reach a conclusion

  1. The CEO had a stationary bicycle in his office.

stationery: writing material

stationary: immovable

  1. She was so frightened that her eyes wavered from side to side.

waiver: abandonment of a claim

waver: to shake or fluctuate

  1. When flames began to envelop the building, fire fighters knew they were losing

the battle.

envelop: (v) to wrap, surround, or conceal

envelope: (n) a container for a written message

  1. Rick was certain he could finish the 16-week course.

coarse: rough texture

course: a route; a part of

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