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.
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome by writing to: E-mail Contact (just click it for an e-mail form) or by typing, email@example.com, as the address in your e-mail heading.
If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.
2. To indicate something formally in speech or writing: "The lawyer will state the facts of the case."
"He was in a state of frustration because he had a flat tire and he was already late for work."2. One of several units of a nation having a federal government: "The governor of the state went to the nation's capital to meet with the President."
3. The condition of something with respect to its main attributes: "The current state of affairs at my school is calm and well organized."
We visited a state in the far north in which the state of health of its residents is remarkable. The health minister agreed to state that the state of health of the younger residents is the result of the state campaign to STOP SMOKING.
"The prices for the kind of machinery we are using have remained stationary over the last months."
He asked the salesman if the prices for the various kinds of stationery will remain stationary for the next months in case he needs to get some more for his business.
Spell it stationery when you mean paper and other writing materials, and spell it stationary when you mean standing, fixed, not movable, etc.
"The computer software company grew in stature in just a few months."2. The natural height of a human, animal, or some object in an upright position: "Since his stature was more than the other basketball players, he had a significant advantage over them."
"The state legislature passed the statute by an over whelming margin."
The inspector told the sculptor that there was a city statute which prohibits a statue of such stature.
2. An area of learning that is taught in a school or university; or what a person gives attention to: "The students were assigned to do a study regarding the causes of childhood obesity and to determine procedures that parents could utilize to diminish such conditions."
She tries to study in a conscientious and steady manner for at least two hours every evening before watching any TV.
2. To come or to go unexpectedly or unobtrusively: "The baseball player tried to steal a base but the other player tried to stop him."
3. To take or to win by trickery and cunning: "The soccer player tried to steal the ball from his opponent."
"His mind is like a trap of steel because once he learns something, he never forgets it."
2. Commercial iron that may contain up to 1.7% carbon alloy thereby allowing it to be malleable: "The steel used for the building was manufactured at the local mill."
The competition tried to steal the formulas for many of the successful steel products that his company makes.
2. Being very strong and determined often in a cold or unfriendly way: "She gave him a steely look when he tried to talk to her."
"He had a steely determination to succeed."
The ancient stele that was erected in the farmer's field often tripped visitors prompting steely looks from them.
The cowboys tried to steer the rebellious steer into the corral.
"They had to replace their old stereo system with the latest model because the sound was very poor with the old stereo."
The steno completed the order forms for the new stereo equipment.
The politician not only spoke in a stentorian voice, but he was reportedly also stertorous when he was sleeping.
"Step on it or we are going to be late."
A man ordered a hamburger in the fast-food restaurant and told the waiter to please step on it!
A foreigner over hearing this wondered why the man would want to buy something to eat and tell someone to step on it.
2. The height or elevation of one stair: "The first step on the staircase was wide but it was very shallow."
3. A short or abbreviated distance: "It is just a step or two from my house to the corner store."
4. A process that occurs as one of a series of actions: "We took the first step in planning our vacation by calling the travel agent to get things ready."
You have to watch your step when you walk across the steppe because you could step into a "cow pie" of cattle waste.
"Using a long handled fork, she sticks the piece of apple that was in the bottom of the pan."2. To fasten or to adhere to something using a sticky substance: "The glue really sticks the pieces of wood together."
In his imagination, he could see young men throwing sticks across the River Styx teasing the large dogs that live on the other side.
2. Being painful to move or to use or showing pain in movement or use: "His neck is stiff and painful from typing too long without taking a break from his work."
3. Not graceful, relaxed, or friendly: "The woman appeared to be stiff and not very talkative at the party."
2. Very hard because of having been wet and then frozen: "When she took the shirt down from the clothes line, it was frozen stiff."
2. Someone who is thought to be lucky, unlucky, etc.: "That poor stiff usually never gets a lucky break except last week when he was called a lucky stiff because he won at bingo in his local social club."
In the past, a person had to be careful not to be stiff when working with the carters who would haul a stiff off to the graveyard. It was hard work because the stiff was very stiff. Usually a new carter reported being scared stiff until he got used to taking care of the stiff cadavers.
2. The vertical arms of a structure or frame upon which other pieces are fastened: "The builder created a stile so he could attach cross pieces and fashion a temporary ladder."
"Jim's style of speech was very casual and friendly and easy to listen to."
"The editorial style of the newspaper was sharp and incisive."2. The pin on a sundial that casts a shadow and enables someone to tell the time: "The style on the sundial was perfectly positioned and the dial always told the correct time; except when there was no sunshine to cast a shadow."
When Sarah went for a walk, she dressed in a comfortable country style; however, she didn't realize that she would have to climb over a stile to get back home.
2. The smallest of the sand piper family, the American Sandpiper: "During the family's strolls along the beach, they sighted the female stint and her nest."
After his stint working in the garbage industry, he was convinced that he would stink for the rest of his life.