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21. Agreement with verb tenses
When you use English, the verb tenses need to be the same. This is called “verb agreement”. For example, if you say, “I could have danced last night, but I done it”, or “I could have danced last night, but I do it” , the verbs “done” and “do” are not in the same tense as “could have danced”. The correct sentence would be, “I could have danced last night, but I did not.” Always double-check your verbs to ensure they are in agreement within the same sentence.
22. The difference between “angle/angel”
Both words are nouns, but they are pronounced differently and have different meanings. Angle is a mathematics term which is a figure formed by two lines extending from the same point or it can mean a point of view. For example, “The equilateral triangle has all three angles of the same degrees” and “The marketing department of the company wanted to create a commercial with a new angle to attract more customers.” The word angel is a noun for a heavenly being or something/someone who is lovely and good. For example, “Your children are angels when they pick flowers for you.”
23. The two words: “attain/obtain”
Notice these are different words with different pronunciations and meanings. Attain means to accomplish, achieve or arrive as in “The student attained his/her diploma. Obtain means to win or earn with effort like in the sentence, “I obtained by B.A. degree in three years.”
24. The difference between “autobiography” and “biography”
An autobiography is a story written by a person about his/her life because the prefix auto means self. In contrast, the word biography is a story written about someone by someone else.
25. These words are not the same: “a way/away”
When you say the words a way you mean one method or avenue as in, “I knew there was a way to solve the puzzle.” But, when you use the word away, you refer to a distance or going from. An example of this word used correctly in a sentence is “The birds flew away after eating from the bird feeder.”
26. One is a noun and one is a verb: “belief/believe”
“Your company has a belief (noun) and that is what they believe (verb).” These words have different spellings, pronunciations and meanings.
27. The words “biweekly/semiweekly” both involve the number “2”
Biweekly means two times a month and semiweekly means two times a week. These words are often mixed up and used incorrectly. Publications like newsletters and magazines may come biweekly or semiweekly. You may do some tasks biweekly or semiweekly, as well. It is important to keep these words straight so you understand the person’s intent.
28. “Bologna/baloney” are two different words!
Bologna is sausage and baloney is something that is not true. Both are nouns but mean completely different things! Interesting to note is that you pronounce them the same way. The last two letters “na” in bologna are pronounced “nee”, and the middle “o” is a long “o” sound. This matches the long “o” in baloney. Maybe you have eaten a bologna sandwich. And maybe you have heard the word baloney used before as in the sentence, “That’s a bunch of baloney! I don’t believe that story.”
29. The words “breathe/breath” are often mispronounced, misspelled and misused
Breathe is a verb and means to bring air into your lungs while breath is a noun that means the actual air that is taken in your body. So you breathe the air and you take a breath of air.
30. The words “capital/capitol” vary slightly in pronunciation but are used in different ways
This pair of words is tricky even for the native speaker. The word capital means the main city, having accumulated wealth, a tall letter of the alphabet, excellent, or resulting in death (e.g. capital punishment or capital crime). However the word capitol means the building in which the state legislator meets.
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