English – Words which confuse us – Part II

1. Canvas and Canvass
Canvas – It is cloth or fabric: a canvas bag to bring to the beach.
Canvass – means “to conduct a survey or examine thoroughly”, or “to seek votes”: She canvassed all the stores before she found the right dress.

2. Capital and Capitol
Capital – A capital is where the seat of government is: The capital of the United States is Washington DC. Capital can also mean “wealth” or “a large letter”.
Capitol – The Capitol (usually capitalized) is the actual building in which the government and legislature meets: We will travel to the Capitol this weekend.

3. Censor, Sensor and Censure
Censor – It is to prohibit free expression: The principal censored all references to smoking in school publications.
Sensor  – It is something that interprets stimulation: The lights are turned on by a movement sensor.
Censure – It is rebuke, harsh criticism: Morty Skustin was severely censured for putting the frog in the water cooler.

4. Cite, Site and Sight
Cite  – It means “to quote or mention”: He cited a famous theorist in his speech.
Site – It is a noun meaning “a place”: At which site will we stage the party?
Sight – It is a noun meaning “view”: The sight of the New York City skyline is spectacular.

5. Coarse and Course
Coarse – It is an adjective meaning “rough, big-grained, not fine”: We need to use coarse sandpaper to remove the paint from this wood.
Course – It is a noun referring to a direction (the course of a ship) or a series of lectures on one subject (a history course in college): The poetry course Stu deBaker took in colldge changed the course of his life.

6. Dairy and Diary
Dairy – A dairy is a farm where milk and milk products are produced: Madeleine grew up on a dairy and knows how to churn butter.
Diary – A diary is the daily journal kept: Rhoda Book writes in her diary for two hours every night.

7. Desert and Dessert
Desert means “to abandon” (and can also be a noun, meaning “a wasteland”): Cooley deserted his family when they all got tattoos and lip piercings.
Dessert is the sweet course of a meal: The whole family wanted to have cake for dessert.

8. Device and Devise
Devise – A device is an instrument used to perform a task: This device will peel apples for you.
Devise is to create or invent: They will devise a scheme to continue the business.

9.Discreet and Discrete
Discreet means “modest and prudent”: Please be discreet about the surprise party, we don’t want her to find out.
Discrete means “separate and distinct”: Even though they were married, they kept their money in two discrete accounts.

9. Elicit and Illicit 
Elicit is a verb that means “to draw out”: The teacher had trouble eliciting responses from the students.
Illicit is an adjective meaning “illegal or illegitimate”: Illicit drugs or illicit behavior may help you enter jail.

10. Emigrant and Immigrant
Emigrant – An emigrant is a person who leaves his native country to settle in another: The emigrants left everything behind in search of something more.
Immigrant – An immigrant refers is person who moves to a new country: Many immigrants settle in this country every year.

Click here to View Words which often confuse you Part – I