Preparing for the GRE Verbal is an intense task as is, but there are situation where lots of different words share the same spelling or pronunciation, and confuse even those who are most proficient in the language.
For example, many people end up getting confused between whose and who’s. For non-native speakers of English, these words are even more confusing!
When you read or write on the GRE Verbal and Essay sections, we do not want you to stop, think, may be even scratch your head, about which is the word to be used in the particular context. To help you out, we have come up with a list of 11 such word pairs and how they are different.
ACCEPT and EXCEPT
ACCEPT: To accept is to take or receive something that is offered.
Ex: I accepted the job offered to me.
EXCEPT : Except is to leave out or to exclude.
Ex: When the employee found out that everyone except him had gone to the office trip, he decided to leave for home.
LOSE and LOOSE
LOSE : is a verb; it means to not have something anymore.
Ex: Sheila has been winning the Spelling Bee Contest for the past 2 years. She does not want to lose it this year.
LOOSE: This word is used both as verb and as adjective. As a verb, it means to untie or to let go something. As an adjective, it means to be free, unattached, or not tight.
Ex: The cap of the bottle was too loose and leaked water whenever it was tilted.
Because she adhered to the strict fitness regimen, she lost 10 Kg of weight, and all her pants are now loose.
It is difficult to remember the difference between loose and lose, so you might want to think of the time when you won in a match and called the opponent a ‘loser’ (and not looser).
AFFLICT and INFLICT
AFFLICT : A passive verb, it means to torment or distress someone or something.
Ex: Lucy is afflicted with severe bouts of dust allergy.
INFLICT: A verb, it means to impose punishment or suffering on someone or something.
Ex: In Harry Potter, Professor Snape was known to inflict the most severe punishment to students who disobeyed his orders.
RESIGN and RE-SIGN
RESIGN: A verb, it means to quit your job.
Ex: John had worked hard the whole year long and expected an exceptional bonus; however, when he realized that there would be no bonus given to any of the employees, he decided to resign from the job.
RE-SIGN: Also a verb, it means to sign a contract again.
Ex: John had put in a lot of long hours on the project he was working on, and pleased with his performance, the company decided to re-sign him for the same.
Resign and Re-sing are words which are exact opposite in meaning!!
ALLUSION and ILLUSION
ALLUSION: A noun, it is an indirect reference to something; a hint.
Ex: I remarked that the chicken, prepared by Betty, had an unusual taste; this allusion to the chicken being rubbery irritated Betty.
ILLUSION: A noun, it is a false, misleading or deceptive appearance.
Ex: A magician creates an illusion that something has disappeared into thin air by hiding it faster than the eye can follow it.
COMPLIMENT and COMPLEMENT
COMPLIMENT: It can be used both as a verb and as a noun. It means, to praise someone or something.
Ex: I complimented her about the systematic way she has organised everything. (verb)
I gave her a compliment for her organization skills. (noun)
COMPLEMENT: This word is similar to the word complete. This too can be used both as a noun and as a verb. When two things go well together, or are compatible, they are said to complement each other.
Ex: Strawberries are tasty on their own but sweet cream and strawberries complement each other.
EMIGRATE and IMMIGRATE
EMIGRATE: A verb, it means to leave one country for another. It is usually used with the preposition from.
Ex: Many people emigrate from villages to cities in search of better living conditions.
IMMIGRATE: A verb, it means to enter a country to take up permanent residence there. It is usually used with the preposition to.
Ex: Many people immigrate to cities from villages in search of better living conditions.
An easy way to remember the difference between emigrate and immigrate: ‘E’ in emigrate stands for ‘exit’ and ‘I’ in Immigrate stands for ‘in’.
DISINTERESTED and UNINTERESTED
Nowadays, people assume that both the words mean bored/not interested, and use them interchangeably. However, there is a huge difference between the two in the GRE context.
DISINTERESTED: A verb, it means to be fair, impartial, or objective.
Ex: The jury needs to remain disinterested to come up with a fair and justified judgement.
UNINTERESTED: A verb, it means bored or not interested.
Ex: Most kids are uninterested in studies, preferring their hobbies over studies.
EMINENT and IMMINENT
EMINENT: Someone who is eminent is prominent or outstanding.
Ex: The eminent archaeologist has identified the artefact as prehistoric in origin.
IMMINENT: Something that is imminent is likely to happen soon or is impending.
Ex: Even after being warned that war between the two countries was imminent, the residents at the Line of Control did not leave their homes.
HANGED and HUNG
This is another pair of words that people use interchangeable because they assume that the words mean the same, without realizing how deadly the difference is!
HUNG: This is the past tense of the verb ‘hang’, and it means to hang THINGS (most of the time).
Ex: Meredith had hung the clothes on the clothesline in the back yard, but it rained while she was at work; she came home to clothes that were soaking wet, and had to redo the laundry.
HANGED: This is also the past tense of ‘to hang’, but used only when someone is to be executed by hanging: ‘to be hanged till death’.
Ex: The serial killer took his own life the day before he was to be hanged till death for the grave crimes committed by him.
ELEVATE and ALLEVIATE
ELEVATE: A verb, it means to raise or lift (something) to a higher position.
Ex: The elevated expressway between the two cities made the daily commute faster.
ALLEVIATE: A verb, it means to make suffering or a problem less severe.
Ex: The medicine didn’t cure her of the cancer, but it did alleviate the pain she was undergoing.
As you can see from the different word pairs given above, knowing the difference is going equip you to deal with those confusing word situations . When you are writing, you should look out for these words and be careful that you are using the correct word depending on the situation. Being aware of the differences in context can help you avoid any mistakes.
If you found this post interesting, do checkout our post on learning words through Harry Potter.