Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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.