FCE Grammar Revision








Confusing Words


The meaning of highlighted words is explained at the end of the passage.


There are a series of English words which are frequently confused by students.
This article aims to identify them and correct those mistakes.

1. beside vs. besides

Beside means "next to".
Besides means "in addition (to)", "also", "moreover"
e.g. You can sit down beside me if you want.
e.g. I don't like that TV programme. Besides, I don't have time to watch it.

2. chair vs. seat  

A chair is a moveable seat for one person.
A seat is a place to sit in a cinema, train, bus, etc.  
e.g. There are four chairs around the kitchen table.  
e.g. When I arrived in the compartment someone was sitting in my seat.  

3. classic vs. classical

Classic means "best", "first-class" or "masterly".
Classical means "old and established" or "traditional".
e.g. His most recent novel is a classic.
e.g. I don't like classical music very much.  

4. cook vs. cooker .  

A cook is a person who cooks.
A cooker is a machine for cooking food.  
e.g. Jennifer is training to be a cook.  
e.g. You should clean the cooker at least once a week.  


5. control vs. inspect

To control means "to have power over", "make s.o. or sth. do what you want".
To inspect means "to check", "examine" or "verify".
e.g. Will the police be able to control the hooligans?
e.g. The ticket-officer inspected the passengers' tickets.  

6. dish vs. plate  

Both dish and plate can refer to round ceramic containers for food. Food is often brought to the table in a dish from which people serve their individual plates. However, when plates (and cups, etc.) are dirty they are called "the dishes". But when they are clean they are called "plates". We use dish for a specific combination of food.
e.g. Could you do the dishes and them put the clean plates
e.g. We need some more plates, could you fetch them?  
e.g. Paella is my favourite dish.  

7. economic vs. economical

Economic means "relating to the economy".
Economical means "cheap", "inexpensive".
e.g. His thesis was about long-term economic growth. 
e.g. I think you'll find out products very economical.  

8. efficient vs. effective  

Efficient means "quick and "without waste".
Effective means "producing the result that you want"  
e.g. This machine is very efficient, so you'll have a higher
production in less time with a lower electricity bill.
e.g. These pills are the most effective against headaches,
though they take slightly longer to take effect.

9. floor vs. ground

The floor is what you walk on inside a building.
The ground is what you walk on outside a building.
e.g. Come indoors and clean the floor, will you?
e.g. In the morning the ground
was frozen solid.  


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