Login with Facebook

Commonly Confused Words: Part 2

In the previous article, we discussed the differences between and correct usages of who or whom, can or may, who’s or whose, and affect or effect. This article introduces another set of commonly confused words and their meanings.

Commonly Confused Words: Part 1


Fewer, Less or Lesser?

Let’s look at fewer versus less first. Fewer should be used when dealing with countable nouns, while less should be used when dealing with uncountable (plural) nouns. For instance, you may say, “I would like fewer sausages and less gravy” because sausages can be counted but gravy cannot.

Now, when should we use less and lesser? Remember that less refers to quantity while lesser refers to quality. Additionally, less can be used as a pronoun (“there was less than I thought”) while lesser is usually an adjective (“the lesser item”). If I have ten necklaces and you have five, you have less jewelry than I do. However, if my ten necklaces are made of cheap paste but your five necklaces are made of pure gold, then the quality of my jewelry is lesser than yours.

Consider these statements:


- The criminal was given twenty lashes instead of forty – less/lesser of a punishment.

Here, the quantity of the punishment was reduced, so the correct word should be less.


- The criminal was given fewer/less years in jail.

Can years in jail be counted? Yes, they can, so the correct word should be fewer.


- The criminal was let off with a fine instead of jail time – a less/lesser punishment.

This statement is not talking about the quantity of the punishment but rather a less severe punishment, so the correct word should be lesser.


Set Up or Setup?

Set up is a verb while setup is a noun or an adjective. Some people also write set-up (with a hyphen) instead of the one-word setup. American English usually spells the word as setup while British English usually spells the word as set-up. In any case, the single word setup or set-up should never be used as a verb.

Setup or set-up (one word or hyphenated) means the way in which something is planned, constituted or arranged. It can also mean a scheme or a trick intended to deceive or incriminate someone.

Set up (two words) is used to describe the action of putting something in order, building, forming or starting something.

For example:


- The whole thing was just an elaborate set up/setup.

The word in question here should be a noun, so we can immediately tell that it should be setup.


- We decided to set up/setup a small business.

We are looking for a verb here to describe the action of starting a small business, so set up should be used.


Avenge or Revenge?

Avenge and revenge may seem to be interchangeable (and they once were), but over time they have been differentiated until they have distinguishable meanings now. Avenge is used as a verb to mean punishing something or someone for a wrongdoing with the intent of seeing justice done. Revenge can be used as a noun or a verb and is less about justice and more about retaliation on a personal basis.

Both avenge and revenge imply inflicting pain or harm in return for pain or harm done to oneself or someone or something one feels loyalty to. The difference is that avenge means to inflict punishment as a retribution to see justice done, while revenge means to inflict pain or harm as a retaliation because one feels that they have been wronged.

For example:


- The woman wanted to avenge her son’s murder by making sure the killer served a lifetime in jail. Her husband wanted to take revenge by making sure the killer suffered just as his son did.

For the woman, seeing her son’s killer incarcerated was sufficient to make her feel that justice had been done. However, her husband sought to pay back the wrong by getting back at the killer and inflicting pain on him – not necessarily in a just way, but rather to satisfy a personal feeling that his son had been wronged.


Their, They’re or There?

Their is the possessive form of the pronoun “they” and it means “belonging to them”. Although their is generally plural, it is increasingly accepted as a singular form in place of “his/her”. You can remember this by noting that the spelling of their contains the word “heir” in it, which is often used to indicate possession of something.

There is an adverb that refers to a place. One way to remember this is to note that the spelling of there contains the word “here”, so if you are talking about places, you should use there.

They’re is a contraction of the phrase “they are”. Remember that they’re has an apostrophe, which means that it is the product of two words. If you can substitute they’re in a statement with “they are” and the statement still means the same thing, then it should be alright to use they’re. However, the use of contractions tends to be informal, so if you are writing a corporate document or something else that is usually formal, it is normally better to spell out “they are” instead of contracting it to “they’re”.

For example:


- They’re working hard at their table over there.

They’re can be substituted with “they are” and the sentence still retains its original meaning. The table belongs to them so their should be used because it is possessive, and there refers to a location.


Practice

Test your understanding of the commonly confused words on this list by selecting the correct word that should be used in each statement.


- There are less/lesser people at the club on weekdays than there are on weekends.

- Just between you and me, I think they’re/their all crazy.

- My father mistreated me as a child and I still long for avenge/revenge.

- Do you really expect me to believe that this isn’t just a set up/setup?

- I’m on a diet so I have been eating fewer/less snacks and drinking fewer/less alcohol.

- Before she died, she made me promise to avenge/revenge her.

- In the past, wealthy people often viewed slaves as less/lesser beings.

- Their/there is a secret hideout where they devise they’re/their schemes.

- The band can set up/setup on that stage there.

Answers to Practice

- There are less people at the club on weekdays than there are on weekends.

- Just between you and me, I think they’re all crazy.

- My father mistreated me as a child and I still long for revenge.

- Do you really expect me to believe that this isn’t just a setup?

- I’m on a diet so I have been eating fewer snacks and drinking less alcohol.

- Before she died, she made me promise to avenge her.

- In the pastCommonly Confused Words: Part 2, wealthy people often viewed slaves as lesser beings.

- There is a secret hideout where they devise their schemes.

- The band can set up on that stage there. 



Comments




Send Comment

Need a custom
essay?

We will write it for you.
Order now

Free Essay Examples

Free essays:

All you need to know about the ACA Code of ethics
Architecture and Democracy: An Introduction
Architecture and Democracy: Democratic Values
Architecture and Democracy: Democratic Procedures
All You Need to Know About a Synthesis Essay
An essential guide to understanding Film Theory
Application of Artificial Intelligence in Cyber Security
Applications of electrical engineering
Augmented reality: what it is, how it works, examples
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Social Networking
All you need to know about Cryptography
Applications of astrophysical science
All you need to know about architecture engineering
Applications of geological engineering
Artificial intelligence and medicine: an increasingly close relationship
An insight into Computational Biology
ACA code of conduct
A Rose for Emily
Applications of Mathematics in daily life
Architecture mistakes to avoid
All you need to know about Toxicology
All you need to know about Holistic Medicine
All you need to know about linguistics
An introduction to Linguistics and its subfields
All you need to know about Anxiety disorder
All you need to know about Drones
A Brief Insight into Political Science
Assumptions related to feminism
All you need to know about Byzantine emperors
All you need to know about labour economics
An insight into xenobots -the first-ever robots
An ultimate guide about Biomaterials
Biomedical engineering trends to look out for
Bionic Limbs and Technology: Advancements Improving Patients' Lives
Bipolar disorder: Symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment
Biochemistry of neurotransmitter
Brain-Computer Interface systems with EEG signals
Consequences of racial discrimination in urban housing development
Cryptocurrency: Advantages and Disadvantages
Character Archetypes: The Good
Character Archetypes: The Bad
Contemporary art trends
Commonly Confused Words
Commonly Confused Words: Part 2
Characteristics of the byzantine architecture
Data Visualization: What it is and why it matters?
Data Science: Fundamental tools for data analysis
Different forms of dance you should know about
Digital Imaging: What Is It?
Dynamic Systems Modeling with Machine Learning
Eat To Live or Live To Eat
Everything you need to know about WiMAX
Everything you need to know about Data Science
Everything you need to know about Virtual memory
Entrepreneur trends to know about
Effects of Different Environmental Factors on Artworks
Film styles and the types of styles for shooting a film
Famous African American literature authors
How to Write a Personal Essay
Housing Needs in America
How to Write a Description Essay
How to Create an Excellent Scholarship Essay?
How to write a cause and effect essay
How to Hire the Best Essay Writing Service Provider?
How to Write a College Application Essay?
How to get the most out of your English lectures
How to write Expository Essay
How to succeed in your psychology class?
How to Write an Academic Essay in the Shortest Time?
History of Journalism
How Different Sectors are Using Artificial intelligence (AI)
How to write an informative essay
How to deliver persuasive essays?
How to Give a Convincing Presentation
How to write an essay on leadership?
Historical Art Still Around Today
Humanoid robot: what it is, how it works and price
History of Chemistry
Healthcare Advanced Computer Power: Robotics, Medical Imaging, and More
Healthcare AI: Game Changers for Medical Decision-Making and Remote Patient Monitoring
How to understand different types of English
How to Cope with Chronic Pain
How African American choreographers and dancers have influenced American dance
How mobile robot can do in logistics or in production
How To Become a Successful Entrepreneur
History of the Philosophy of Feminism
How is the climate changing?
How to Track Your Content Marketing ROI
How to Gun control In the USA?
Historical and contemporary role of labour in the modern world
Introduction to Urban Studies
Importance of dance in education
InMoov: how to build an open source humanoid robot
Importance of KYC verification to making the Blockchain secure
Importance of Rhythm
Importance of dance student evaluation
I/O control methods -types and explanations
Identity theft: what to do?
Introduction to Utilitarianism
Know about the history of science
Know about the different forms of traditional African dances
Latest dance trends
Latest technology trends
Modern sociology trends you should know about
Modern Art that the Past Would Have Scorned
Modern Art that the Past Would Have Scorned, Part 2
Memory Management in an Operating System
Misconceptions About the Word “Introvert”
Major healthcare trends
Nuclear fusion: What it is and how it works?
Neural networks: what they are and what they are for
Philosophy of Art: Written Forms as Art
Robotic Integration into Our Lives: Now and the Future
Role of a neuroscientist
Risk management, meaning, and importance for companies
Role of gender studies
Role of a digital artist
Should You Start a Career Or Enter University At 18?
Smoking Should Be Banned
Should You Go Digital?
Standard finance terms to know about
Social robots
Schizophrenia - a rare psychiatric illness | Essay
The Looming Energy Crisis in America
Top benefits of performance-based engineering
The More Languages You Know, The More Times You Are a Man
Things to consider while writing an Argumentative Essay
Top Ways to Improve Your Academic Writing Skills
Tips to Excel in Creative Writing
The origins of films in the early 19th century
Top career options in Architecture
The Elevator Pitch
Top finance trends 2020
The basic Structure and functionality of robots
The Way to Success
The election system of the President in the United States of America
Two-party System in United States of America
Top trends in urban design
The history and theory of African American filmmaking
Top benefits of creative writing
Tinnitus Guide: Common Symptoms and Treatment Options
The language of dance
The digital image processing management
Top famous politicians of the World
Top methods of political science!
The history of the feminist movement
The blood flow in cardiovascular system - Biofluid Mechanics
Understanding the sociology of Race & Ethnicity
Urban planning in the US
Virtual reality, what it is and how it works
Various theoretical perspectives of sociology
What is a Definition Essay?
What are diagnostic essays?
What is the relation between art structural engineering?
What is a Narrative Essay
What are robotics and intelligence systems?
What are the benefits of studying health sciences?
What is artificial intelligence and why it matters?
What is comparative Literature?
Why study neuroscience
What is Wi-Fi and how does it works
What is French history famous for?
What are Humanistic Studies?
What is covered in Biophysics?
What is modern journalism?
What is Virtualization? Benefits & Applications
What are modern public relations?
What is plasma physics?
What is teacher preparation?
What is rapid prototyping for 3D printing?
What is contemporary European Politics?
Why should you learn American Ballet?
What is engineering physics?
What is the purpose of African American Literature?
Ways to learn the Rhythm
What is digital art used for?
What are Enzymes and how do they work
Who is the father of political science?
Why Study Political Science - Job?
What is the Philosophy of Feminism?
What is a quantum computer?
Ways B2B Startups Streamline Their Conversion Strategies
Why do biomedical signals need processing?
What are the long term effects of climate change?
Why study labour relations
What is Holoprosencephaly?
4 Facts about Origin of Mathematics!
5 techniques to create an animation
13 Best colleges for political science in the world