Confusing Words Clarified: Group S; Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Synonyms, Polysemes, etc. +
(lists of "S" sections that are organized into what for some people are confusing groups of words)
English can be very confusing; for example, a house burns up as it burns down, a form is being filled in as it is being filled out, and an alarm goes off by going on. How about when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible?
As you examine the groups of words in this unit, you will find many examples of confusions; sometimes, just one or two letters in a word can change its meaning completely. There are also times when two different words get confused because their meanings apply to things that are very similar.
Efforts have been made to help you grasp the meanings of various words that may be confusing so you can utilize them with greater accuracy in your communication.
If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.
2. The underside of a shoe, boot, or other piece of footwear, sometimes excluding the heel: "We had to have our shoes repaired with a new inner sole for each shoe."
"The father has sole responsibility for the child."2. Single, alone, or having no other individual associated with a situation: "She has been the sole occupant of the house ever since her parents died."
2. The spiritual nature of humans, regarded as immortal, separable from the body at death, and susceptible to happiness or misery in a future state: "Many religious leaders preach that the souls of their faithful followers will go to Paradise (Heaven) and the souls of the unfaithful will suffer in Hades (Hell)."
3. Essence, embodiment, quintessence: "The banker was the soul of honesty and understanding."
4. Inspiration, force, spirit, vitality: "Some musicians lack soul."
5. A soul mate or a person with whom someone has a strong affinity: "When she met my friend, she told her sister that she believed that she had finally found her soul mate."
Worship Services: Your soul is our sole mission.
As the prince was trying on the shoe to find Cinderella, someone commented that the prince was using the shoe to find his true love, while someone over hearing the statement said, the prince was actually looking for his sole mate; which, of course, would also supposedly result in the prince finding his soul mate.
2. Uninterrupted: "The speeches went on for two solid hours without a break."
3. Prudent, serious in purpose and character: "He had a solid reputation for good judgment in financial matters."
His personality was calm and stolid. People always had a sense of solid reassurance when working with him on business deals.
2. A gem stone (diamond, etc.) mounted in a single setting with no other stones: "Her engagement ring was a beautiful topaz solitaire."
2. Being both single and isolated: "She provided a solitary example of the relationship between rocks and lichens."
3. Living in a prison with no other inmates: "Because of his dangerous behavior, the criminal was placed in solitary confinement for two weeks."
Living a solitary existence needs a high light or two. She often plays solitaire out on the balcony while admiring her solitaire engagement ring.
"He found some strange looking creatures in the water and brought them to the laboratory for examination."2. An unspecified amount, number, or quantity: "He needs to get some water because his throat is dry."
"I have some change in my pocket."3. An unspecified number of people or things: "I think there are some 80 individuals attending the meeting."
2. To perform the mathematical function of adding: "The grade five student was asked to sum the column of numbers on the chalkboard."
"Please sum up your comments in a short sentence."
There are at least some people who know that when anyone adds numbers, the results will be a sum of those numbers.
Sometimes he feels like going jogging; however, in reality it is a sometime activity because he recently bought a new car. He promised his nephew that he would take him for a drive into town some time.
2. Sometimes the term son is used by an older person to address a younger man or boy: "Slow down, son, you're talking too fast."
3. An individual closely associated with the creation of a nation, a geographic area, etc.: "He was a native son of the prairies."
2. Someone considered bright, brilliant, and remarkable: "Our mother was the sun in our family and she made us all very happy."
His older son is really quite the mathematical sun in the family. Since he is a true son of the prairies, he excels in making calculations about the sun and the winds.
"The chimney was clogged with soot and needed to be cleared out."
2. To please, to agree, or to be satisfactory: "Will it suit you to come for the meeting at ten tomorrow morning?"
2. Clothing or a set of garments, typically including two or more pieces: "She brought a blue two-piece suit to wear to the job interview."
"He bought a new suit for his job at the company."
He got soot from the burned suet on his new suit.
2. Appearing to be true but actually false: "She justified her actions with specious reasoning."
The park provided a spacious playground for the children. The mayor presented specious economic reasons as to why it should be closed.
There was a spam advertisement on his computer about a fantastic price for a bulk purchase of cans of SPAM.
2. A quality that makes a person or something pleasant, interesting, or successful: "He's a great actor, but he seems to have lost some of the spark he used to have."
2. To increase interest, liveliness, or flavor to something: "His jokes always spark laughter before he even starts to tell them."
"All of that loud noise is about to drive me stark raving insane and why is that guy walking down the street stark naked?"2. Unpleasant and difficult to accept or to experience: "The stark reality of his death while driving should be a stark reminder of the dangers of driving while drunk."
"The fitness trainer suggested that we start with some warm-up exercises."
"The discovery of the books could be the start of a better understanding of how the pioneers were able to survive as they traveled across the country."
A single spark from a cigarette was determined to have been the start of the forest fire. The landscape appeared stark and uninhabited after the fire was finally extinguished.
2. To make an oral expression of thoughts, feelings, or activities: "I was angry and I decided that I would speak my mind to the bossy neighbor the next time she interferes."
3. To act as a spokesperson for a group or gathering: "We authorized the union president to speak for the membership."
2. An individual style or manner of communicating: "Her everyday speech sounded affected and insincere."
3. A public presentation of ideas through verbal communication: "The professor made a graduation speech about embracing future challenges."
He agreed to speak at the convention if he could choose the topic of his speech.
2. To have or to lead to a particular result or effect: "I was told that the amount of planning I do could spell the difference between success and failure."
3. To write out something in complete words instead of using a number, an abbreviation, etc.: "When addressing the invitations, please spell out 'street', 'road', etc."
4. To take the place of another person who has been working or doing something for a period of time: "When the couple is taking care of their niece, they spell each other throughout the day."
2. An interval of space or time usually marked by a particular activity or condition: "It looks like we're in for a spell of rainy weather."
In their efforts to try to end the long spell of hot and dry weather, the farmers resorted to hiring a water witch in hopes that she could cast a spell to bring rain. They actually had to hire two water witches to spell each other off while waiting for the rain to start.
Later, after it actually rained, a farmer had to write a check to pay the two witches and so he asked each one to spell her name carefully for him.
Etymology: The Latin name is Triticum spelta.
"While visiting in London, the woman spelled the word favor in a note, but someone told her that in England they spelt it as favour."
The cook realized that he had spelt the word "spelt" wrong when he was writing down a recipe. He wrote "spelled" when he meant "spelt" while he was referring to the flour that is used to make speciality breads.
2. To cause a liquid to move or to fall in large drops: "Why do you have to splatter paint everywhere?"
2. To say something in a choking incoherent manner: "She couldn't help but cough and splutter as she climbed out of the icy water."
3. To speak hastily and incoherently, as when confused or angry: "He responded to the accusation that he cheated on the test with a splutter, 'Th-that's simply not true!'."
All she could do was splutter when a car drove through a large mud puddle and created a huge splatter of goo all over her as she was walking on the sidewalk.
2. A small amount of a substance that is on something: "A candle in the holder dropped a spot of wax on the table cloth."
3. A particular space or area: "They had trouble finding a parking spot."
"We spent our vacation in a nice quiet spot on the coast."
"She can spot errors in the written presentation much better than other editors."
2. The act or process of looking at a few things or people in a group in order to find possible problems: "The police announced that they would be making spot checks of drivers on New Year's Eve in order to reduce driving after drinking alcoholic beverages."
She did a spot check of her clothes and she was able to spot a spot of grease on her new green coat.