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Academics-Humanities, Academics-Education

10 Commonly Confused Words Part II

September 14, 2020
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Writing skills are essential to every vocation, and strong writing skills are built on proper grammar. The Writing Center at Concordia University Texas offers comprehensive support to help you in all phases of the writing process.

In this post, we evaluate 10 commonly confused words. Understanding the differences between each pair of words will help you become a better writer.

Advice vs. Advise

"Advice" is a noun that refers to a recommendation offered to help guide an individual in a decision or action.

Example: Concordia's professors have industry experience and offer valuable advice to their students.

"Advise" is a verb that means to give counsel to or offer an opinion.

Example: Concordia's student academic planners advise students about their degree plans.

Continually vs. Continuously

Although subtle, the difference between "continually" and "continuously" impacts the entire meaning of a sentence.

"Continually" describes something that happens frequently in intervals (with interruptions).

Example: I attend class continually during the semester.

You may attend class every day during the semester, but you don't spend 24/7 in class at Concordia.

"Continuously" describes something that occurs without interruptions.

Example: I attend class continuously on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You attend back-to-back classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a defined period without any breaks between classes.

Principal vs. Principle

"Principal" describes something that is highest in value or rank. It can also refer to a person who serves as the head or chief of an organization.

Examples: His principal goal is to achieve a 4.0 GPA.

The principal of the high school graduated from Concordia.

"Principle" refers to a rule or belief held by an individual.

Example: Forgiving others is a core principle of Christianity.

Theater vs. Theatre

Not to be dramatic, but there is a difference between these two words.

"Theater" refers to a building where productions occur.

"Theatre" refers to the art of performance.

Examples: We're going to the Theater tomorrow.

She is majoring in Theatre Studies at Concordia.

It's also important to note that abroad, particularly in the United Kingdom, "theatre" is the preferred spelling for both the building and the art of performance.

Weather vs. Whether

"Weather" refers to the conditions of the environment.

Example: The forecast says that we're in store for nice weather this weekend.

"Whether" is used to present alternatives.

Example: Whether or not you like finance, you have to take a basic finance class to graduate.

Want to learn more? View 10 Commonly Confused Words Part I.