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

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

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

many, much
many (MEN ee) (adjective)
A significant number of nouns that can be counted; such as, objects, things, etc.; usually presented in the plural: Many drops of water are needed to have a stream.
Mandy has many brothers and sisters.
There are many words that still need proper definitions.
much (MUHCH) (adjective)
A great quantity of nouns that can not be counted; such as, sleep, water, hate, love, etc.; usually expressed in the singular: Much water has flowed downhill because of the thunderstorm.
Mike didn't get much sleep last night.
Marian has too much work to do.

Carol felt as if she had too much homework to do even though there were really not very many pages of math problems to complete.

map, nap
map (MAHP) (noun)
A picture or chart that shows the rivers, mountains, streets, etc. regarding a particular area: Susan asked, "Bonita, can you tell us where we are on this map?"
nap (NAHP) (noun)
1. A short period of sleep; especially, during the day: Shawn woke up from his nap rested and refreshed so he could focus on his project much better.
2. A state of mind in which those involved are not prepared to deal with something because they aren't paying attention: When the financial problem appeared again, the government was not prepared to deal with it; in other words, officials were taking a nap instead of being alert to the situation.
3. A soft layer of threads on the surface of a piece of cloth, a carpet, etc.: The fine nap of the wet cloth felt wonderful when Lenora wiped her face after waking up her nap.

When Dennis took a nap, his head was resting on an ornamental pillow, but then, after he woke up, he could see the pattern of the nap of the pillow on his face in the mirror. It almost looked like a map to the land of nod.

mare, mare, mayor
mare (MAIR) (noun)
A female horse which is old enough to breed: Eric bought a new mare for his riding stable.
mare (MAIR) (noun)
A Latin element meaning "sea": "Marine", "mariner", and "submarine" are just a few of many words that come from the Latin mare.
mayor (MAY uhr, MAIR uhr) (noun)
An elected or appointed official who serves as chief magistrate of a city: Priscilla's uncle was elected mayor of the city three times in a row.

The newly elected mayor, who came from the mare region of the country, rode a white mare to her installation ceremony.

marital; marshal, marshall; martial
marital (MAIR i t'l) (adjective)
Referring to circumstances relating to being married: After Roger and Trina were married, they bought their marital home.
marshal, marshall (MAHR shuhl) (noun)
1. An individual who manages or organizes the ceremonies of a gathering: The marshal of the parade rode in the car leading the bands and walkers.
2. An officer of the law (appointed or elected) with duties similar to a sheriff in terms of enforcing the law: The marshal accompanied the prisoner to court to stand before the judge.
3. The senior head of a civic department; such as, a fire department: The fire marshal organized the fire fighters when the factory caught fire.
martial (MAHR shuhl) (adjective)
Of or relating to the military, war, or military life: Harold seemed suited to the martial life because he liked order and precision.

The fire marshal had a long martial history before entering into a marital relationship which made him very happy.

mark, mark, marque
mark (MAHRK) (noun)
1. A victim or recipient of ridicule or bullying: The angry students thought the new student would be an easy mark for teasing.
2. A distinguishing impression or trait of something: When Albert completed his university education, he had the mark of a gentleman and a scholar.
3. A prominent or well-known object or guidepost for travelers: The tall building on the corner was the mark Lenora was looking for because she wanted to turn left at that point.
4. A label or indication of quality or price: The mark on this jacket indicated that it was on sale.
5. When capitalized, mark is a man's name: Marissa's friend, Mark, is going to drive the car tonight when they go out.
mark (MAHRK) (verb)
1. To highlight or to make note of something: Keith will mark the date in his calendar when he plans to go out for dinner his friends.
2. To determine the value of something: The teacher was determined to mark all the students' essays on the weekend.
marque (MAHRK) (noun)
A product brand: The company made exceptionally good quality marque of saddles for the equestrian school.

Jason's friend, Mark, who was usually an easy mark for teasing, decided to check out the mark on the new laptop before buying it; however, he decided on a laptop which had a well-known marque.

marquee, marquis
marquee (mahr KEE) (noun)
A large canopy or tent for an outdoor event or exhibition: Adriana and Keith decided to have a marquee in the garden for their wedding reception.
marquis (MAHR kwis, mahr KEE) (noun)
A male of hereditary nobility: The marquis lived in the large house by the river.

At the summer fete, the marquis instructed that a large marquee should be constructed in the park for the luncheon after the festivities.

marry, Mary, merry
marry (MAIR ee) (verb)
To join in a close and typically permanent relationship, or wedlock, usually through a ceremony: Rena and Ryan decided to marry as soon as they could arrange it.
Mary (MAIR ee) (noun)
A woman’s name: Jason's Aunt Mary is coming to visit him next week.
merry (MER ee) (adjective)
High spirited, joyful; full of fun; lively laughter and cheerfulness: Tabitha saw the merry group of children playing in the park.

Trina's friend, Mary, always stated, "I shall make merry when I marry."

Marriage is said to be a climate where the husband usually reigns and the wife often storms.

Also, in some cases, marriage can begin with "I do" and end with "adieu".

—Evan Esar
marten, Martian, Martian martin
marten (MAHR t'n) (noun)
Any of a number of weasel like animals: Greg saw the marten dive into the crack in the rock to hide.
Martian (MAHR shuhn) (noun)
A hypothetical inhabitant of the planet Mars; especially, as a stock fictional character: Janine claimed that she saw a flying saucer out of which stepped a blue Martian.
Martian (MAHR shuhn) (adjective)
Of or relating to the planet Mars or its hypothetical inhabitants: The astronauts imagined that a Martian ship was moving in outer space.
martin (MAHR t'n) (noun)
1. A European swallow with distinctive features; such as, a forked tail: Cleo loved to watch the martin dart across the sky in search of insects.

Marvin built a martin house for the flock that usually came each spring.
2. When capitalized, it can be used as a male’s first name or a family name: Debora's friend, Martin, is coming for a visit in two weeks.

Nell's nephew, Martin, enjoyed going for hikes in the mountains and once he reported that he saw a lively brown marten by the side of the trail.

Then, going across the valley, he said that he had also seen a martin swoop down to skim the river, catching bugs, and then, as he looked up, he claimed that a Martian ship was landing on the hill top.

mask, mask, masque
mask (MASK) (noun)
1. A disguise or covering for the face: For the party, Dale decided to wear a mask that looked like a clown.
2. The image or copy of a face made by a mold: That's the mask of the famous composer which was made after he died.
3. A covering for the face to protect it from harm: When Rosario went to see the factory, she was asked to wear a mask so she wouldn't breath in the fumes.
mask (MASK) (verb)
1. To conceal or to hide: Shawn wore long sleeves to mask the fact that he was carrying a stick.
2. To reconfigure or to modify the size or shape of something: The photographer agreed to mask the photograph so it had a narrow border around it.
masque (MASK) (noun)
An entertainment typical of the 16th and 17th centuries in which the characters disguised their faces and the characters were used as symbols to express a moral, a religious, or some kind of political concept: The jesters planned a masque for the entertainment of the king.

When Rosie and Chad went to the masque, we each wore a different mask to cover our faces; then, as the photographer was developing the pictures from the masque, she was careful to mask the scenery behind them, emphasizing how well each mask really did mask their individual identities.

massage, massage, message
massage (muh SAHZH, muh SAHJ) (noun)
The rubbing or kneading of one’s tissues or flesh for relaxation or health reasons: Howard goes for a massage every week to relieve and to soothe his stiff muscles.
massage (muh SAHZH, muh SAHJ) (verb)
1. To manipulate or to organize information: Polly will need to massage my research data for my thesis.
2. To change numbers, data, etc. in a dishonest way in order to deceive people: Some businesses are said to massage their sales results in order to make their profits appear to be greater than they really are.
message (MES ij) (noun)
1. The theme or idea of a communication: The message in the book about conservation was that the rivers are in danger of pollution.
2. Information that is communicated by writing, signals, etc.: Linda asked, "Dina, may I use your phone to send a message to my mother that I will be home late."

In the middle of an important meeting, the chairman of the board received a message from the reception desk to advise him that it was time to go for his daily massage.

massed, mast
massed (MAS't) (verb)
Accumulated or gathered together: The bands massed in the park before the start of the parade.
mast (MAST) (noun)
A tall vertical spar, sometimes sectioned, that rises from the keel or deck of a sailing vessel to support the sails and the standing and running rigging: The tree that the builder used for the mast was a special pine grown in North America.

The tall mast ships massed in the harbor for the special historical anniversary.

masseur, masseuse
masseur (ma SUR, muh SYOOR) (noun)
A man who gives massages professionally: The fitness studio has a masseur who is available to give anyone a massage by appointment, if he or she wants one.
masseuse (ma SYOOZ, ma SYOOS) (noun)
A woman who is a professional provider of massages: In Norman's opinion, his local masseuse has a better technique for giving a massage than the masseur.

The massage parlor advertised that the customers could have a male masseur or a female masseuse for their appointments.

massive, missive
massive (MAS iv) (adjective)
1. Large when compared to what is typical: The doctor gave the patient a massive injection of antibiotics.
2. Solid, ponderous, heavy: The pyramids were built with massive stone blocks.
missive (MIS iv) (noun)
A written letter or communication: When Jeremy went away to school, he wrote a missive home to his family every week.

At an important juncture of the meeting, each participant received a massive missive which outlined in detail the long term plans of the corporation.

masterful, masterly
masterful (MAS tuhr fuhl) (adjective)
Descriptive of a personality that is inclined to be domineering: Alisha's masterful personality and ability earned her the promotion she wanted.

Norman's masterful strength of personality enables him to impose his will on others.

masterly (MAS tuhr lee) (adjective)
Worthy of authority through knowledge or superior skill. Maude played the complex piano composition with masterly precision.

The carpenter did a masterly job of repair work in Jenifer's house.

The head of the association had a masterful personality that easily established his masterly position to negotiate for better working conditions.

match, match, match
match (MAHCH) (noun)
Someone who is like another person in one or more specified qualities: Glenn was a good match for Susana because they shared the same interests.
match (MAHCH) (verb)
To be suited to someone or something: The curtains match the carpet perfectly.

Aaron's mother wanted to match him up with her friend's daughter and it turned out to be a good match because they are going to get married.

match (MAHCH) (noun)
A short, thin piece of wood or thick paper with a special tip coated with a combustible chemical that produces fire with friction as it is scratched against something else: Vince tried to light a match so he could start the fire in the fireplace.

When Frankie went out with a new guy, he seemed like a good match for her in terms of their common interests; however, she quickly lost interest in him when he asked her for a match to light his cigarette.

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