Confusing Words Clarified: Group F; Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Synonyms, Polysemes, etc. +

(lists of "F" sections that are organized into what for some people are confusing groups of words)

Contraction Reaction

I hope I do not live to see
The death of the apostrophe.
For readers all will suffer fits
In disentangling its from it’s,
And they may also rave and rant,
Unable to tell cant from can’t;
Not to mention how they feel
When they mix up well and we’ll.
—Majorie Loper

If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.

flotsam, jetsam
flotsam (FLAHT suhm) (noun)
Floating pieces, parts, etc., from a ship that has been wrecked: After the storm, there was a lot of flotsam from wrecked vessels that had washed ashore.
jetsam (JET suhm) (noun)
Floating objects that are thrown into the water from a ship: None of the jetsam that David found on the beach was usable.

Along the shore Jodie could see a lot of flotsam from ship wrecks; however, here and there was some jetsam from a ship which she took to the museum.

The professor reminded his students that the phrase "flotsam and jetsam" is often used to refer to the accumulation of bits and pieces of junk along the shore that come from ships.

flounder, founder
flounder (FLOUN duhr) (verb)
To struggle, to move, or to obtain a footing: Because of the deep snow, Scott saw the man flounder again as he came down the hill.
founder (FOUN duhr) (noun)
A person who creates or establishes something that is meant to last for a long time: As the son of the company's founder, he is expected to become the CEO one of these days.

The shipwrecked sailor appeared to flounder in the water as he attempted to flounder to the shore. Several years later, James became the founder of the school system on the island.

flour, flower
flour (FLOUR) (noun)
Ground wheat or other cereal seeds: Whole-wheat flour is recommended as more wholesome for one's health.
flower (FLOU ur) (noun)
A blossom: A flower from a rosebush can impress people in many ways.

Flowers have more scents than people.

—Evan Esar

Can you believe that there is such a thing as flower flour or what is also known as "ground-grain blossoms"?

fluster, frustrate
fluster (FLUS tuhr) (verb)
To make someone nervous and confused: Sudden, loud noises can fluster a speaker.
frustrate (FRUS trayt") (verb)
To cause someone to feel angry, discouraged, or upset because of not being able to do something: So many incomprehensible bureaucratic letters can only frustrate people who want to improve the economic situation.

Getting lost when driving always seems to frustrate Jill very much. In fact, it tends to fluster her so much that she has to take a break for a coffee.

foal, foal
foal (FOHL) (noun)
A young horse; especially, a horse that is less than one year old: Dennis went to his cousin's farm to see the foal that he has had for about nine months.
foal (FOHL) (verb)
To give birth to an infant horse: When Tonia arrived at her uncle's place to see the nine-month old foal, he told her that his other mare was about to foal her first foal.

Can a mare be foaling a foal while she still has a foal with her and so have two, or more, foals or doesn't she have to wait until the previously foaled foal has reached a certain age before she foals another foal?

fogy, foggy
fogy, fogey (FOH gee) (noun)
A person who has old-fashioned habits and attitudes: Petra thinks her neighbor Grace is an old fogy because she doesn't like pop music.
foggy (FAW gee, FAHG ee) (adjective)
1. A reference to air that is heavily laden with drops of moisture: It took the couple much longer than usual to get back home because it was so terribly foggy on the road.
2. Concerning something which is not clear or is confusing: Frank's memory is a bit foggy because he doesn't remember where he put his car keys!

The old fogy seemed to be very foggy about the activities being planned in the afternoon; however, all the plans were cancelled because the weather became very foggy and no one could drive safely.

fondling, foundling
fondling (FAWN dling) (verb)
Gently caressing, stroking, or touching in an affectionate or loving way: Marge was fondling her cat's ears in the evening when the phone rang.
foundling (FOUND ling) (noun)
A baby that is found after being left, or deserted, by its parents or a parent: The children discovered a foundling deer in the forest apparently deserted by its mother.

The foundling rabbit was so sweet and patient; it did not seem to mind the children fondling its ears.

for, fore, four
for (FOR, FOHR) (preposition)
1. Used to indicate the place someone or something is going to or toward: Sheena was heading for home when the accident happened.
2. Used to indicate the thing that something is meant to be used with: The food here is for Mildred's birthday party.
3. In order to help or serve someone or something: Jim offered to carry the heavy box for Lily.
fore (FOR, FOHR) (adjective)
Concerning something that is located at or toward the front or the front part: The emergency exits which are located at the fore area of a plane are very important.
four (FOR, FOHR) (noun)
1. The cardinal number between three and five: Robbie has four children to take care of.
2. An indication of the time of day following three o'clock: Art comes back every afternoon from work at four from Monday to Friday.

When the two couples go out to eat, they often request a table for four in the fore part of the restaurant.

forego, forgo
forego (fohr GOH) (verb)
To go before, to precede: The news of the Pope's visit to Germany will forego his arrival in the country.
forgo (fohr GOH) (verb)
To give up the use or enjoyment of something: Patrick decided to forgo the trip to France and stay at home with his children.

Tradition says that eating one's potatoes should forego eating a dessert; however, Albert thinks he will forgo tradition and enjoy his chocolate pudding right now before eating the potatoes.

forever, for ever
forever (fohr EV uhr) (adverb)
Relating to taking a very long time concerning some event or happening: It has taken forever to resolve these political problems.

Jose is forever asking silly questions about the meanings of words.

for ever (fohr EV uhr) (adverb)
Descriptive of continuing for a very long time; eternally: Jodie said Jason promised that he would love her for ever.

Justine's father promised her that he would love her for ever.

In the United States, the term forever is normally the preferred spelling; while in other English-speaking areas, it is acceptable to use the separated words of for ever; so, essentially, either one can be used to express the same meanings; however, one dictionary (Collins English Dictionary) states that: forever and for ever can both be used to say that something is "without end". For all other meanings, forever is the preferred form.

Eric had a new friendship with someone in the United States who promised to love him forever; however, because he lived in Canada, he promised to love her for ever.

foreword, forward
foreword (FOR wurd) (noun)
An introduction in a book: The foreword of a book is usually written as a short introductory essay coming before the text so readers will have a better idea about what is in the publication.
forward (FOR wurd) (adverb)
Referring to moving to the front or onward: The boy walked forward from the back of the bus.

Ursula is moving forward with the work on her book; in fact, she just completed the foreword in which she explained her interest in how people can get a better education.

form, form
form (FORM) (noun)
A document with blank spaces for filling in information: Some people hate to fill out a form or they have a fear of doing so, on and off the internet.
form (FORM) (noun)
1. The shape of something: The building's massive form was more than most people expected.
2. A bodily shape: Some people strive to develop a form of the body which has appeal for another person or other people; such as, a shapely form has a special appeal for modeling, acting in movies, on TV, etc.
form (FORM) (verb)
To get, to create, or to develop something over a period of time: Ryan and Marissa wanted to form a friendship that would last for a lifetime.

The statistical researcher's job was to give form to the ideas of the committee and so Tami was going to create a form to send to the group's colleagues.

formally, formerly
formally (FOR muhl ee) (adverb)
1. Pertaining to how something is done according to etiquette or to convention for a ceremony, or in regards to behavior or dress codes: The new president of the university was formally installed last week.
2. Concerning following or being in accord with accepted forms, codes of conduct, or regulations: Lenora dressed quite formally which was required for the international convention.
formerly (FOR mur lee) (adverb)
Previously; in earlier times; before: Formerly it was considered dangerous to breathe the air at night.

Formerly the ritual of installing a new president at the university was a very informal affair; however, now that the president is installed formally, everyone is dressing formally for the occasion.

fort, forte
fort (FORT) (noun)
A securely protected place for military defense: The fort was captured after a long battle.
forte (FOR tay") (noun)
1. A note or passage of music played or sung in a loud, forceful manner: The notation on the score, "f", meaning forte, suggested that the musician should perform the piece in a full and powerful way.
2. Something that a person is particularly good at: She said that cooking was not really her forte.

Bret studied military history and his forte was in analysing the foundations of the old fort in the city.

forth, fourth
forth (FORTH) (adverb)
1. Forward, onward in time or place: From that day forth or from that time onward.
2. Out into notice or view: There was a flow of lava bursting forth from the earth.

The snow is gone and the flowers are ready to spring forth.

fourth (FORTH) (noun)
1. A 4th or one of four equal parts of something: Melba cut the small cake into one fourth piece for each person.
2. The number of something greater than three and less than five: David will be flying in on the fourth of the following month.

The ball player got a base hit in the fourth inning.

Nettie was fourth in line when her name was called forth for her to pick up her registration package for summer school.

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