• WORD LISTS

Word List No. 1
     •  adapt (adjust to); adept (skilled); adopt (take as one's own) 
     •  advice (guidance); advise (to give guidance) 
     •  aerie (nest); airy (breezy); eerie (spooky) 
     •  aid (help); aide (assistant) 
     •  aisle (passage); isle (island); I'll (you're really in the wrong field if you confuse this one)
     •  alley (passageway); ally (friend) 
     •  all ready (prepared); already (previously) 
     •  allusion (indirect reference); illusion (misperception) 
     •  Apparent usually means obvious; avoid using it to mean likely or probably, as in apparent heart attack.  (See doubtful.) 
     •  appraise (to set a value on); apprise (to inform) 
     •  arc (curve); ark (boat) 
     •  ascent (upward slope); assent (agreement) 
     •  assay (to analyze); essay (to attempt) 
     •  bring (carry toward); take (carry away) 
     •  auger (a tool); augur (to predict) 
     •  bail (money; to empty); bale (bundle) 
     •  breach (violation); breech (buttocks) 
     •  bazaar (marketplace); bizarre (weird) 
     •  bloc (coalition or common group); block (all other meanings) 
     •  born (came to life); borne (carried) 
     •  borough (town); burro (donkey); burrow (hole) 
     •  bouillon (soup); bullion (metal) 
     •  braise (to cook); braze (to solder) 
     •  broach (to begin); brooch (pin) 
     •  cannon (gun); canon (law) 
     •  caster (wheel); castor (oil) 
     •  censor (examiner); censer (vessel); censure (blame) 

Word List No. 2
     •  chaste (what the pure are); chased (what the impure are) 
     •  chic (stylish); sheik (leader) 
     •  cite (to quote); site (location); sight (see, view, spectacle) 
     •  confident (assured); confidant (friend) 
     •  degree:  A level attained; one earns a degree but receives a diploma.  It's wrong, therefore, to call a degree his or hers, because degree ownership doesn't pass to holders. 
     •  deprivation (loss); depravation (corruption) 
     •  desperate (hopeless); disparate (distinctly dissimilar) 
     •  destroy means eliminate or demolish.  "Completely destroy" is therefore an unnecessary, superfluous redundancy. 
     •  dilemma (a choice between two equally bad options); Hobson’s choice (forced choice where no real alternative exists) 
     •  disperse (scatter); disburse (pay) 
     •  doubtful usually means skeptical or suspicious; avoid using it to mean unlikely or uncertain, as in doubtful starter. (See sportuguese.) 
     •  dual (double); duel (fight) 
     •  ecology (relationships between organisms and their environment); environment (all conditions surrounding an organism) 
     •  either (one or the other); each (every one of a group). Either is commonly misused when the writer means each or both. WRONG: Sentries stood on either side of the gate. 
     •  elicit (draw out); illicit (illegal) 
     •  elude (to avoid); allude (indirectly refer to) 
     •  epic (long narrative poem); epoch (start of an era) 
     •  exceed (surpass); accede (agree) 
     •  excess (surplus); access (entrance) 
     •  extant (existing); extent (size) 
     •  faint (dim, dizzy, weak); feint (pretense, false movement) 
     •  fair (just, lovely, market); fare (charge, get along, menu) 
     •  faze (disconcert); phase (stage)

Word List No. 3
     •  feign (pretend); fain (gladly) 
     •  fete (to honor); feat (deed, exploit) 
     •  fir (tree); fur (animal pelt) 
     •  fl air (knack); flare (torch) 
     •  flea (insect); flee (run away) 
     •  floe (ice mass); flow (run freely) 
     •  flu (influenza); flue (pipe); flew (took wing) 
     •  forbear (refrain); forebear (ancestor) 
     •  formally (in a formal manner); formerly (once) 
     •  forth (forward); fourth (ordinal number) 
     •  forward (in front, impudent, progressive); foreword (introductory note in a book)
     •  foul (offensive); fowl (bird) 
     •  frank (candid); franc (money) 
     •  freeze (make cold); frieze (ornament) 
     •  friar (priest); fryer (chicken) 
     •  gaff (hook); gaffe (error) 
     •  gait (motion); gate (opening) 
     •  gauge (scale, measuring device); gage (pledge) 
     •  gel (jelly); jell (harden, set) 
     •  genius (gifted person); genus (classification) 
     •  gild (cover with gold); guild (association) 
     •  gilt (gilded); guilt (culpability) 
     •  gist (essence); jest (joke) 
     •  glacier (ice); glazier (glassworker) 
     •  gnaw (chew); naw ("no way," in Dixie .) 
     •  gorilla (primate); guerrilla (soldier) 
     •  groan (moan); grown (adult) 
     •  guarantee (to secure); guaranty (a pledge) 
     •  hair (what grows from a follicle); hare (rabbit) 
     •  handsome (good looking); hansom (carriage) 

Word List No. 4
     •  hanger (one who hangs); hangar ( air plane shed) 
     •  harrier (hawk, hound); hairier (more hairy) 
     •  hart (deer); heart (blood pump) 
     •  hay (grass); hey (attention getter) 
     •  hew (to cut); hue (color) 
     •  hoard (cache); horde (throng) 
     •  holy (sacred); wholly (entirely); holey (full of holes) 
     •  hoop (circle); whoop (cry) 
     •  hostile (antagonistic); hostel (lodging) 
     •  humorous (funny); humerus (bone) 
     •  hurdle (jump); hurtle (throw) 
     •  hypocritical (insincere); hypercritical (overly critical) 
     •  idle (not busy); idol (image); idyll (poem)
     •  incite (to provoke action); insight (understanding) 
     •  incredible (not believable); incredulous (skeptical) 
     •  inequity (lacks fair ness); iniquity (sin) 
     •  ingenious (clever); ingenuous (naive) 
     •  interstate (between states); intrastate (within a state) 
     •  jam (fruit preserves, wedge tight); jamb (door post) 
     •  jealousy (envy); jalousie (shutter) 
     •  judicial (of the law); judicious (wise) 
     •  kill (slay); kiln (oven) 
     •  knave (rogue); nave (part of a church) 
     •  knead (mix); need (require); kneed (a groin injury) 
     •  knit (interlock); nit (insect egg) 
     •  lamb (young sheep); lam (gangland slang for escape) 
     •  lay (to place, secular); lei (garland) 
     •  lea (meadow); lee (shelter) 
     •  lead (to show the way; a soft metal; spacing between lines of type); led (showed the way) 
     •  leak (escape); leek (vegetable) 
     •  lean (thin, incline); lien (claim) 

Word List No. 5

     •  leech (bloodsucker); leach (dissolve or percolate away) 
     •  lesser (smaller); lessor (landlord) 
     •  levy (tax); levee (embankment) 
     •  liable (obligated); libel (defamation) 
     •  liken (compare); lichen (moss-like plant) 
     •  links (golf course); lynx (feline) 
     •  literal (verbatim); littoral (shore) 
     •  llama (animal); lama (monk) 
     •  load (weight); lode (vein of ore) 
     •  loan (to lend); lone (solitary) 
     •  loop (turn); loupe (magnifying glass) 
     •  lute (musical instrument); loot (slang for spoils) 
     •  mackintosh (jacket); McIntosh (surname); Macintosh (computer) 
     •  magnet (metal attracter); magnate (influential person) 
     •  magnificent (splendid); munificent (generous) 
     •  mall (promenade); maul (damage)
     •  mannequin (model); manikin (dwarf) 
     •  manner (behavior); manor (estate) 
     •  mantel (shelf); mantle (cloak) 
     •  marshal (officer, place in order); martial (relating to war); Marshall (proper name);marital (pertaining to marriage) 
     •  martin (bird); marten (four-legged animal); Martian (something from Mars) 
     •  mask (covering); masque (drama) 
     •  material (substance); materiel (equipment) 
     •  maze (labyrinth); maize (corn) 
     •  mean (signify, low, average); mien (demeanor) 
     •  meat (food); meet (to come upon, fitting); mete (dole)
     •   medal (award); meddle (interfere) 
     •   median (midpoint); average (arithmetic mean); normal (usual) 
     •   metal (element); mettle (spirit); meddle (intrude in other people’s affairs)


Word List No. 6
    •   mews (street, cat sounds); muse (ponder) 
    •   might (power, could); mite (tiny amount) 
    •   mill (1/10 cent; grinder); mil (unit of length or thickness) 
    •   millinery (hats); millinary (thousand) 
    •   miner (one who mines); minor (lesser; under legal age) 
    •   minimal means least possible; don't use it to mean unlikely. 
    •   moan (groan); mown (mowed) 
    •   moat (ditch); mote (speck) 
    •   moose (animal); mousse (dessert)
    •   morn (poetic license for morning); mourn (grieve) 
    •   mule (animal; slipper); mewl (cry) 
    •   mutton (sheep meat); mouton (sheepskin) 
    •   muscle (strength); mussel (shellfish); muzzle (restrain, nose) 
    •   nay (no); neigh (whinny) 
    •   oar means a paddle used for rowing a boat; it's a noun, never a verb. 
    •   offal is waste matter, usually fecal (and though it's “awful,” it's not spelled that way). 
    •   official (authorized); officious (bossy) 
    •   oracle (seer); auricle (part of the ear) 
    •   oscillate (swing back and forth); osculate (kiss) 
    •   ought (should); aught (zero) 
    •   overdo (exaggerate); overdue (late)
    •  overseas (abroad); oversees (supervises) 
    •  pail (bucket); pale (blanch) 
    •  pain (suffering); pane (glass) 
    •  pair (two); pear (fruit); pare (peel) 
    •  palate (roof of mouth); palette (paint board); pallet (bed) 
    •  pall (coffin cover, grow dull, gloom); pawl (hinged device) 
    •  parameter (limit); perimeter (boundary) 
    •  parish (church); perish (die) 
    •  peak (summit); peek (look); pique (resentment; provoke; spur) 
    •  peal (ring); peel (pare) 
    •  pearl (gem); purl (knit)

Word List No. 7
     •  pedal (foot lever); peddle (sell) 
     •  peer (look, equal, nobleman); pier (wharf) 
     •  peon (worker); paean (song of praise) 
     •  peremptory (not open to debate, ordered without discussion as in a court of law); pre-emptory (the act of obtaining by force or show of strength as in a contest or war) 
     •  perquisite (benefit, hence the slang perks); prerequisite (prior requirement) 
     •  persecute (harass); prosecute (to try by law) 
     •  personal (private); personnel (employees) 
     •  perspective (view); prospective (likely or expected) 
     •  petty (small); petit (lesser, as in petit larceny); petite (small) 
     •  physic (cathartic); physique (build); psychic (mental)
     •  pica (12 points); pika (animal) 
     •  pinion (gear wheel); piñon (tree) 
     •  place (set); plaice (fish) 
     •  plate (dish); plait (bread) 
     •  plum (fruit); plumb (weight) 
     •  pole (rod); poll (canvass) 
     •  policy (plan); polity (government) 
     •  populace (the people); populous (thickly populated) 
     •  popular (well liked); poplar (tree) 
     •  poultry (fowl); paltry (petty) 
     •  pour (flow); pore (to study, skin opening) 
     •  pray (implore); prey (victim, attack) 
     •  precede (to go before); proceed (to continue) 
     •  prescribe (to order); proscribe (to forbid) 
     •  presentment (legal presentation); presentiment (premonition) 
     •  profit (gain); prophet (seer) 
     •  prophecy (prediction); prophesy (to predict) 
     •  propose (to suggest); purpose (reason) 
     •  prone (lying face down); supine (lying face up) 
     •  prostrate (submissive, cowed); prostate (male urinary gland) 
     •  put (to place); putt (golf stroke) 
     •  queue (line); cue (signal) 
     •  quire (a great "Scrabble" word [and the only time you'll probably use it] meaning 24 sheets of paper); choir (singing group) 
     •  rack (framework); wrack (ruin) 
     •  rain (precipitation); reign (rule); rein (restraint) 

Word List No. 8
     •  raise (lift); raze (demolish) 
     •  rap (knock); wrap (enfold); rapt (engrossed) 
     •  read (peruse); reed (plant, musical instrument) 
     •  real (actual); reel (spool) 
     •  reality (actuality); realty (property) 
     •  reek (smell); wreak (punish) 
     •  register (record); registrar (record keeper) 
     •  reluctant (loathe to act); reticent (loathe to speak) 
     •  rest (remainder, quiet); wrest (to gain by force) 
     •  retch (to vomit); wretch (miserable person) 
     •  review (re-examine); revue (musical show) 
     •  riffle (shuffle); rifle (gun, groove, search) 
     •  rigor (severity); rigger (one who rigs) 
     •  ring (circle, sound); wring (squeeze) 
     •  rite (ceremony); right (correct); write  
     •  road (way); rode (didn't walk); rowed (didn't swim) 
     •  roe (fish eggs); rho (Greek letter); row (propel a boat) 
     •  room (space); rheum (mucous discharge) 
     •  root (plant part, cheer); route (planned way) 
     •  rote (repetition); wrote (put down on paper) 
     •  rough (not smooth); ruff (collar) 
     •  royal (regal); roil (to cloud) 
     •  rude (impolite); rood (crucifix); rued (regretted) 
     •  ruin (destroy); rune (character; magic charm)
     •  rung (step); wrung (squeezed) 
     •  rye (grain); wry (crooked) 
     •  sachet (perfume); sashay (strut) 
     •  sail (canvas); sale (exchange) 
     •  sanitorium (hospital); sanitarium (health resort) 
     •  scene (view, play subdivision); seen (watched) 
     •  scull (oar); skull (head bone) 
     •  seam (junction); seem (appear) 
     •  seaman (sailor); semen (sperm) 
     •  sear (to dry up); seer (prophet); sere (withered) 
     •  seed (plant ovule); cede (yield) 
     •  seine (net); sane (mentally balanced) 
     •  seller (vender); cellar (basement) 
     •  serf (laborer); surf (waves) 
     •  serge (cloth); surge (to billow) 
     •  session (meeting); cession (surrendering) 
     •  shanty (shack); chantey (song sung by sailors) 
     •  shear (to clip); sheer (swerve, diaphanous, perpendicular) 

Word List No. 9
     •  shoe (foot covering); shoo (get away) 
     •  sick (ill); sic (thus) 
     •  sign (indication, write name); sine (mathematical function) 
     •  signet (seal); cygnet (swan) 
     •  slay (kill ); sleigh (snow vehicle)
     •  slight (small); sleight (dexterity) 
     •  slow (not fast); sloe (a wild plum berry, hence sloe gin) 
     •  soar (fly); sore (painful) 
     •  sole (single, fish); soul (spirit); sol (sun) 
     •  some (a few); sum (add) 
     •  spore (plant reproductive organ); spoor (track of an animal) 
     •  step (walk); steppe (plain) 
     •  straight (direct); strait (narrow water, distress) 
     •  style (design); stile (steps over a fence); sty (pig pen) 
     •  suit (clothes, cards, law case); suite (set, retinue) 
     •  summary (condensation); summery (like summer) 
     •  sword (weapon); sward (turf); soared (flew) 
     •  symbol (sign); cymbal (gong) 
     •  tacit (implied); tacet (musical direction) 
     •  tail (hind part); tale (recital) 
     •  talisman (charm); talesman (juror) 
     •  taper (candle, diminish); tapir (animal) 
     •  tasty (flavorful); tasteful (in good taste) 
     •  taught (past tense of teach); taut (tight) 
     •  taupe (brownish gray); tope (to drink) 
     •  tea (beverage); tee (golfing device) 
     •  team (group); teem (to swarm)
     •  tear (split); tare (weight, weed); tier (row) 
     •  threw (tossed); through (by way of) 
     •  throw (toss); throe (pang) 
     •  thrown (has been tossed); throne (regal chair ) 
     •  time (to clock); thyme (seasoning) 
     •  ton (weight); tun (vat) 
     •  tool (implement); tulle (fabric net) 
     •  tortuous (winding); torturous (painful) 
     •  tough (strong); tuff (rock) 
     •  toxin (poison); tocsin (alarm) 
     •  track (path); tract (pamphlet) 
     •  tray (receptacle); trey (three) 
     •  troop (soldiers); troupe (actors) 
     •  trustee (guardian); trusty (dependable) 
     •  turban (headdress); turbine (engine) 
     •  turn (rotate); tern (bird) 
     •  undo (reverse); undue (excessive) 
     •  up/upped. A wonderful new verb (sarcasm intended), as in, “I upped my income.  Up yours.”

Word List No. 10
     •  urn (vase); earn (merit) 
     •  vain (futile, conceited); vane (wind indicator); vein (blood vessel) 
     •  valance (drapery); valence (capacity to combine) 
     •  vale (valley); veil (cloth) 
     •  veracious (truthful); voracious (ravenous)
     •  waive (give up); wave (flutter) 
     •  wet (damp, dampen); whet (sharpen)
     •  vial (container); vile (wretched); viol (any of a family of stringed instruments) 
     •  vice (evil, substitute); vise (clamp) 
     •  vicious (malicious); viscous (thick); viscus (singular of viscera) 
     •  villain (scoundrel); villein (serf) 
     •  virtue (goodness); virtu (fine arts) 
     •  wail (cry); wale (ridge) 
     •  wane (decrease); wain (wagon) 
     •  want (lack); wont (custom) 
     •  wean (to end suckling); ween (to think) 
     •  wear (have on); ware (articles) 
     •  weather (climate); wether (sheep); whether (indecision — implies “or not”) 
     •  whither (where); wither (dry up) 
     •  Win. Acceptable as a noun in headlines, but use victory in body copy. Never use win as the opposite of loss, as in win-loss record; instead, say won-lost. 
     •  worst (most inferior); wurst (sausage) 
     •  yew (shrub); ewe (female sheep); you (personal pronoun) 
     •  yoke (join); yolk (yellow of an egg)


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