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  • Hi. Welcome back to www.engvid.com. I'm Adam, and today's lesson: "Commonly Confused Words"

  • is very important for those of you trying to learn vocabulary, but especially for those

  • of you who need to write better. It's very important to write the correct word that you

  • mean, and sometimes, the only difference between words is one letter, and this one letter makes

  • a huge difference. Okay? So we're going to look at six sets of commonly confused words.

  • Now, we're going to start with "affect" and "effect", and the difference being the "a"

  • or the "e". Now, this is one of those pair of words that all teachers in every ESL school,

  • in every ESL class always teach students, but they don't necessarily teach it completely,

  • so that's what we're going to look at today. "Affect", verb, in any situation you're looking

  • at it, but it basically has two different meanings. One is to have an influence or to

  • influence something, someone. It basically means to have some sort of power over something

  • to make some sort of change. The noun, they go together, if something affects someone

  • or something, then the result of that is the effect. Now, I'm stressing the "e" here just

  • so you hear it, but in reality, in spoken and natural spoken English: "affect", "effect",

  • "affect", "effect". It sounds almost the same, so you have to be very careful. You especially

  • have to think about the context. Okay? Context is very important in... With all these words,

  • to know which one is being used, because the situation that you hear or read the word in

  • will tell you which meaning it is. So the context is everything that is around the word.

  • So "affect", to influence something; "effect" is the result or what that influence has done

  • to something or someone.

  • "To affect" also means to move someone emotionally. So if you affect someone, it means you have

  • an emotional... You create an emotional reaction in them. Okay? You can affect them to the

  • point of tears, means you're making them sad, you're making them so happy that they're crying.

  • Now, here's the surprising one that many people don't realize: "effect" can also be a verb.

  • So most ESL teachers will tell you "affect" is a verb, "effect" is a noun, that's it.

  • But "effect" can also be a verb, it means to bring about.

  • Okay? I'm actually going to write this down for you.

  • Now, we especially talk about change. So, for example, a new

  • manager comes into a department and he wants to effect a change, a corporate culture change.

  • He wants to bring about or to cause a change. Now, this is a little bit of a formal word,

  • it's a big of a high-end word. If you're writing the IELTS, or TOEFL, or SAT, this is a very

  • good word to use as a verb, but make sure that you know how to use it correctly before

  • you try. Cause, bring about. So, that's these ones.

  • Next, we have "principle" and "principal". They sound the same, but obviously, different

  • endings. This "principle" is basically a fundamental truth. Something... Like, for example, if

  • you're talking about a scientific principle, this is the truth, and from this truth, we

  • can make other truths or we can have other investigations into other areas. It's a fundamental

  • truth. Now, when a person says that he or she has principles, and something goes against

  • their principles, that means that they have a very, very strong belief, and they have

  • a very strong way of doing something or looking at things, and other people can't change that.

  • Okay? So that is a principle.

  • But if we look at "principal" like this, we have three different meanings. One meaning,

  • as a noun, is the head position of an organization. The most common use is at a school. The principal

  • at a school is the head of the school; he runs the school or she runs the school. Another

  • noun form... Another noun use...sorry...of "principal" is the money that you invest that brings you

  • interest. Or if you take out a loan from the bank and you have to pay that money back,

  • you will have to pay back the principal, which is the original money that they gave you,

  • plus interest. So if you have a mortgage on your house and every month you're paying a

  • little bit, you're paying a little bit from the principal and a little bit of interest

  • until you pay back the whole loan. As an adjective it means...sorry...primary or first. The principal

  • character in a novel means the main character, or the first character, or the most important

  • character. Now, keep in mind, they will sound the same, but obviously you can see the difference

  • in written English, so pay attention to that. Also, again, use context. Context will tell

  • you which meaning you're looking at.

  • Next, we have "compliment" and "complement". Compliment, complement, they sound almost

  • identical. Both can be a noun or a verb. "Compliment" means nice words said about something or someone,

  • or to say nice things. So if you want to compliment me on my lovely shirt today, by all means,

  • do so in the comments section at engVid. But if you don't want to compliment me, that's

  • okay, too. But you can compliment this lesson by giving people, your peers more examples.

  • "To complement" means to complete or to add something to make the whole more complete.

  • So, for example, if you go to a restaurant and you order a nice steak, the waiter will

  • suggest a good wine to complement that steak. It means the wine flavour and the steak flavour

  • work together to have a complete, full flavour that you can enjoy. Okay? Compliment, complement.

  • Let's look at a few more.

  • Okay, so let's look at our next batch of words. Now, these three, they might seem like they're

  • not really problematic because you can see the differences quite clearly, you will also

  • hear the differences, but surprisingly, these words are confused quite often, especially

  • these two. Now, this is "moral", this is "morale", and this is "mortal". Now, you think because

  • of the "t" it should be no problem, but in natural speed English, that "t" is very, very

  • soft. "My mortal enemy." So that "t" is almost disappearing, and so it sounds like a little

  • bit like "moral" as well. So, when you're... If you're listening to something, you might

  • get that confused.

  • Now, what is a "moral"? As a noun, when you talk about a fable or a little... It sounds

  • like a children's story, but it has a lesson to be learned. There's a lesson to be learned

  • from this story, so we call that lesson the moral. The moral of the story is: Be nice

  • to your neighbours, or whatever the moral is. As an... As an adjective, we can also

  • say "moral" when we're talking about the choice between good and bad. We talk about social

  • values, we talk about the choice between good and bad, good and evil if you want to call

  • it, then we're talking about moral, a moral choice. When we use the noun, it's usually

  • "morals". We have to worry about our morals as a society; or when you go to church, they

  • teach you morals; or when you're growing up, your parents teach you morals. They teach

  • you what's good, what's bad, what's right, what's wrong. Okay? So that's "moral".

  • "Morale", a noun, is a basic feeling or attitude that is shared by a group. It could be a personal

  • thing as well. So when you're talking about an office full of workers, a good manager

  • will make sure that the morale is high, that everybody's excited, everybody's passionate,

  • everybody wants to be there and everybody wants to work. It's a general good feeling.

  • So a high morale. If you have low morale, it means everybody's like dejected; nobody

  • wants to be there, nobody wants to work, everybody feels bad. You won't get much work done.

  • "Mortal" could be a noun or an adjective. A noun is basically a human being, because

  • we're all going to die. Adjective "mortal" means something that can die. Okay? So my

  • mortal enemy is my enemy that's going to kill me, or a mortal plant, or a mortal animal

  • can kill. So "mortal" has to do with death. Okay? So these three are often confused; be

  • careful about those.

  • These two, they look different, they sound different, but they're often mixed, they're

  • often confused. "Personal". If you're talking about "personal", you're talking about yourself,

  • your private ideas, your private thoughts, your private choices or somebody else's private

  • things. Right? So it's a personal decision. You shouldn't ask me if you should go or stay...

  • Stay or go. It's a personal decision. I can't tell you. It's for you to make. It's private.

  • Here, this is "personnel". So, here, "personal", "personnel". "Personnel" basically... Basically

  • means staff. So the personnel in a company, we're talking about staff. All the employees

  • are the personnel. Basically, any group of people who are involved in something is the

  • personnel. It doesn't have to be in a company, but that's where you'll most commonly see

  • it used. So these two, you can't mix.

  • Now, before I continue, I just want to say one last... One more thing. You have to make

  • sure that you know the differences between all of these, especially for tests like IELTS

  • where spelling counts. So you have one letter difference. One letter will cost you a point

  • on the IELTS. Okay? So it's very important to know. In tests like SAT that want to check

  • your vocabulary, they will make sure that you know the differences between certain words.

  • So, which brings us to the last batch: "censor", "sensor", "censure". The only difference is

  • this "h" sounds like an "sh". But again, in native speed, in native speakers' English,

  • you won't hear that "sh": "censure". In a sentence, it'll sound the same as "censor".

  • So, what is a "censor"? It can be a noun. As a noun, it is a person who does the censoring.

  • As a verb, "to censor" means to cut out or to stop from becoming publically available.

  • So when you're talking about news, the news you see... Or any news, for example, about

  • the military, okay? The military censors all of the information, so any information that

  • they don't want the public to have, they will keep back. They will keep out of the media.

  • They will censor it. They will put a block. Okay?

  • A "sensor" is something that detects. Okay? So, for example, you have a smoke detector,

  • it has a little sensor inside that feels the smoke and then starts making all the noise

  • that a smoke alarm does. In your camera or in your phone or in your anything, there's

  • a light sensor. It sensors how much light there is or isn't. So, again, it comes from

  • the word "sense", to feel or to detect because machines don't really feel. Right? So...

  • "Censure" is to express disappointment or anger at someone, but usually in a public

  • way. So, for example, if I'm the teacher and I have a bad student in my class, I may censure

  • that student in front of all the other students. I will say, you know: "You're behaving badly,

  • and you shouldn't do that, and you're disturbing your peers", and not very good. So I will

  • censure the student. Now, for most of you, you're not going to use this word, you're

  • not going to hear it too often. If you're going to take an SAT test, for example, you

  • definitely need to know words like this.

  • So, if you want to practice all... Your understanding of these words,

  • go to www.engvid.com, there's a quiz.

  • You can also ask me any questions in the comment section.

  • Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and I'll see you again soon.

  • Bye.

Hi. Welcome back to www.engvid.com. I'm Adam, and today's lesson: "Commonly Confused Words"

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A2 BEG UK noun moral mortal compliment affect complement

Confusing Words – affect & effect, compliment & complement, and more!

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    Matt posted on 2015/11/26
Video vocabulary