Category: Confusable Words

Confusable Words “too” and “very”

‘Too’ and ‘very’ are not always the same. ‘Too’ means there is a limit, or a maximum: “I can’t buy it because it is too expensive.” In this case ‘very’ is also ok. “I’m sorry I’m too late.” In this

Confusable Words “until” and “by”

‘Until’ and ‘by’ are often confused. ‘By’ is for a deadline: ‘Please complete this by Friday’ is correct. Don’t use ‘until’ here. ‘Until’ is used for continuing an action: ‘Please speak only English until the end of the class.’ More

Confusable Words: Have/catch a cold

I hear this confusion very often. Any disease, sickness, condition uses the word “have”, and not, as Japanese generally think, “is/are/am”. For example, I often hear someone say, wrongly, “He is cancer.” This should be “He has cancer.” This error

Confusable Words: Fell, felt, felled

Japanese learners of English often confuse ‘fell’ and ‘felt’, probably because they sound so similar. ‘Fell’ is the past tense of ‘fall’ ‘Felt’ is the past tense of ‘feel’. “I injured my leg when I fell down the steps of

Confusable Words: Although/but etc.

I’ve sometimes been asked to explain the difference in usage of “but”, “although” and “though”. First of all, “although” and “though” have the same meaning. The only difference is that “though” tends to be more conversational, whereas “although” can be

Confusable Words: Rarely used katakana words

This is not a list of mistaken Japanese-English words. These common katakana words are English but they are rarely used in English. It’s probably better to avoid using these: クラクション horn (for a car), though people often use the work

Confusable words: tell/teach

I often hear ‘tell’ and ‘teach’ used incorrectly. “Please teach me your phone number” is wrong. It should be “Please tell me your phone number”. Just giving information is ‘tell’ or ‘inform of’ – for example “I’ll inform you of

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