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

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

A great example of confusing words

Once upon a time in the unknown past, at a dinner party in Texas, a man from South America was telling about his country and himself, concluding with "And I have a sympathetic wife but unfortunately, no children. My wife, she is unbearable."

Those who were listening greeted his statement with puzzled glances, so he tried to explain: "My wife, she is inconceivable." Noticing from the bewildered looks of the guests that this didn't clarify the matter, he finally explained with a triumphant smile: "I mean, my wife, she is impregnable."

—Compiled from Humorous English by Evan Esar;
Horizon Press; New York; 1961, page 164.

Never use big words where a diminutive one will suffice.


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

graft, graft, graphed
graft (GRAHFT) (verb)
To join two branches or stems of a plant so they grow as one: The tree surgeon was careful to graft the new twigs to the old tree.
graft (GRAHFT) (noun)
Dishonest activity in which people with power use their positions and influences to get money and advantages: Our local newspaper published information which exposed graft by city council members.
graphed (GRAHFT) (verb)
To have drawn or created, a diagram that shows the relationship or interrelationship among or between two or more concepts or things: To illustrate her speech, the scientist graphed her findings using a Power Point presentation.

The police graphed a chart which illustrated that there was an increase in graft among some of the corporations in the city.

grantee, grantor
grantee (gran TEE) (noun)
Someone to whom a gift or property is made: Ted was the grantee of the scholarship to the university.
grantor (gran TEE) (noun)
A person who accords a favor, prerogative, or privilege to someone else: May was the grantor who transferred the title of her home to her niece.

Charles was the grantor who announced the name of the grantee for the lucrative contract for publishing a new book.

grate, grate, great
grate (GRAYT) (verb)
1. To reduce to fragments, shreds, or powder by rubbing against an abrasive surface: While the pasta was boiling, Jenifer began to grate the cheese for the sauce.
2. To make a harsh rasping sound by or as if by scraping or grinding: Crickets grate their wings together to create their distinctive sounds.
grate (GRAYT) (noun)
A framework of lattice or parallel bars: The water drain on the street was protected by a grate so that nobody would fall in!
great (GRAYT) (adjective)
1. Extremely large or big: The great expanse of the forest was overwhelming to the hikers.
2. Of outstanding importance or significance: Kim was a great author, famous for her short stories.

The great grate in the street was placed there because of the extreme flooding rains that often took place in that area.

Ed's barbecue turns out superb burgers and that's why he calls it his great grate.

What was the name of the movie where the main actor lifted a drain cover on a street and got away from those who were chasing him?

Babs thinks it was the "Grate Escape"!

grave, grave, grave
grave (GRAYV) (noun)
1. A hole in the ground for burying a dead body: Ronald was lain to rest in a grave near his wife's grave, which was next to a big tree in the middle of the cemetery.
2. Used as a reference to death: Zelda took her secrets with her to the grave.
grave (GRAYV) (adjective)
Descriptive of the necessity or cause of serious thought or concern: David's carelessness could have grave consequences.

The ship and crew are putting themselves in grave danger if they sail in the Somalia piracy zone.

grave (GRAHV) (noun)
An accent symbol over a letter, or letters, in certain words: Examples of grave marks can be found combined with the "è" in such French words as Sèvres and Père (which is used after a man's surname to distinguish a father from a son).

The minister spoke in a grave tone, "May he rest in peace in the grave."

gray, grey
gray (GRAY) (adjective)
An American spelling that refers to a color between black and white or is often like the color of smoke: Shelby was wearing a gray sweater which closely matched her gray eyes.
grey (GRAY) (adjective)
A reference to the British-English spelling of gray which is a color between black and white: Adele woke up to a grey morning before the sun finally appeared.

When Trisha was writing her essay on weather, she remembered that her professor was English and would want her to spell grey the British way; as in, "today was a grey day".

Normally, she spelled it the U.S. way; such as, "it has been gray all day".

grease, grease, Greece
grease (GREES) (noun)
A thick oily lubricant, vegetable, petroleum, or animal fat based: The contractor used grease on the metal parts to keep them from getting rusty.
grease (GREES) (verb)
To apply an oily lubricant to a surface: The chef had to grease the baking trays before he could bake the cookies.
Greece (GREES) (noun)
A peninsular country at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea: Caroline decided to go to Greece for her winter vacation.

Trisha went to Greece for her vacation and she was glad that the chef at the restaurant where she ate did not use much grease while cooking. He applied just a little bit of grease to the frying pans.

greave, grieve
greave (GREEV) (noun)
A medieval reference to the piece of armor designed to cover the lower leg: A greave was fastened to each of a knight’s legs with leather straps.
grieve (GREEV) (verb)
To cause distress or sorrow: It will grieve Richard when he has to tell Jane that her employment has been terminated.

A knight wearing medieval armor would tend to grieve if a greave on either of his legs was broken and he was wounded as a result.

grill, grille
grill (GRIL) (verb)
To cook using an arrangement of parallel bars over a source of heat; for example, an open flame: Lenora thought she would grill hamburgers that night for dinner.
grille (GRIL) (noun)
A lattice or screen often used for ornamental purposes: The blacksmith created a grille for the garden gate.

Patrice looked through the grille at the front of the restaurant so she could watch the cook grill the fish over an open flame.

grip, gripe, grippe
grip (GRIP) (noun)
1. A tight hold; a firm grasp: The drowning swimmer is now safely in the grip of a lifeguard.
2. An intellectual hold or understanding: Ronald had a good grip on how to operate his computer.

gripe (GRIGHP) (verb)
To complain continuously in an annoying way; to whine on and on: June will gripe again in a constant and petty manner which is beginning to annoy Sam a great deal.

The teacher could hear the students gripe that they had too much homework to do.

grippe (GRIP) (noun)
An obsolete term for influenza; an acute contagious viral infection characterized by inflammation of the respiratory tract and by fever, chills, muscular pain, and prostration: There is a mild epidemic of grippe in the town this winter.

The local doctor had a good grip on the current knowledge about the new strain of grippe which was causing many people to gripe about feeling ill.

grisly, gristly, grizzly, grizzly
grisly (GRIZ lee) (adjective)
1. Descriptive of the repugnance of appalling crudity or utter inhumanity; gruesome: The grisly scene of the mine explosion was carefully documented by the photographer.
2. Referring to something that causes a person to shudder with horror: We had nightmares about the grisly scene of the cars crashing into each other on the highway as a result of the sudden ice storm.
gristly (GRIS lee) (adjective)
Pertaining to tough cartilage; especially, in meat prepared for eating: Before grilling the steak, the cook removed the gristly parts that could be very difficult to chew.
grizzly (GRIZ lee) (noun)
A very large and powerful bear of western North America: The grizzly fish in streams where the salmon swim.
grizzly (GRIZ lee) (adjective)
Characterizing something which is streaked, flecked, or intermixed with gray; a reference to gray or graying hair: Gregory's grizzly hair was very distinguished looking and was set off by a black felt hat.

A grisly grizzly was having trouble chewing on the gristly meat of a very old moose.

gristle, grizzle
gristle (GRIS uhl) (noun)
1. Cartilage, especially when present in meat: Estella's dog was happy to have a bone with the gristle to chew on.
2. Tough matter in meat that is difficult to eat: Trisha and James complained that the restaurant served them cheap pieces of meat, full of gristle and fat.
grizzle (GRIZ uhl) (verb)
1. To make or to become gray: Trina's uncle had thinning hair and a beard which seemed to grizzle more each time she saw him.
2. To complain in a weak or annoying way: During the winter, Karin would grizzle about all the snow that blocked her from being able to leave her house.

Henry's dog didn't grizzle about having a bone to chew the gristle off; in fact, it seemed to be more excited about chewing on the gristle than eating regular dog food.

groan, grown
groan (GROHN) (noun)
A sound expressing pain, distress, or disapproval: There was a loud groan among the workers when assignments were handed out.
grown (GROHN) (verb)
To have increased in size as a result of age: Lenora's aunt exclaimed, "My, how you have grown!" when she saw her niece after several years.

Carl's son uttered a loud groan, "Oh, no, I've grown another inch; now, none of my clothes fit anymore."

guarantee, guaranty
guarantee (gahr" uhn TEE) (noun)
A pledge that something is as represented and will be replaced if it doesn't meet specifications: The hand vacuum cleaner Shelby bought had a three-year guarantee.
guaranty (GAHR uhn tee) (noun)
A pledge by which a person commits himself/herself to the payment of another person's debt or obligation in the event of default: Cara's aunt signed the guaranty with Jerry when he borrowed money from the bank.

Celeste, if you will sign the guaranty for Trisha, she will guarantee that she will pay back all the money that she borrows from the bank. She promises!

guessed, guest, quest, quest
guessed (GEST) (verb)
To come to an opinion or an answer based on very little evidence: They guessed he was very rich based on the kind of car he drove.
guest (GEST) (noun)
An individual to whom hospitality is given, either in a private home or in an institution: We will have a guest from out of town staying with us for two weeks.
quest (KWEST) (verb)
To seek, to look for, or to search for something: Sam and Sally quest every weekend for gold in the streams.
quest (KWEST) (noun)
A long and difficult search for something: Lenora went on a quest to find the meanings of some words that were not easily available in current dictionary sources.

The quest of the hotel was to make visitor estimates or to have a series of guessed guest data in order to prepare for the summer season.

guise, guys
guise (GIGHZ) (noun)
1. An outward appearance; an aspect: Mildred's expression or guise appeared calm despite the shattering news.
2. A mode of dress; a garb: Janet asked, "Hey, Jerome, what guise will you wear to the masquerade ball tonight?"
guys (GIGHZ) (noun)
1. People in general: Tom asked, "What are you guys doing?"
2. Ropes, cords, or cables used for steadying, guiding, or holding: The sailors used several guys to fasten the big crate to the deck.

The guys all got together and decided on a cowboy guise for the masque ball scheduled for next week.

Pointing to explanation of homonyms, homophones, and homographs, etc. Confusing Words: Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs; explained and demonstrated.

Pointing back to Confusing Words Quizzes, Part AConfusing Words: Units, Groups A to Z.