Easily Confused: WISH Vs HOPE

Hope and wish have very similar meanings. We use both to express our desire for something. Here’s the difference:

To hope‘ is used to express desire for something that is possible or likely to happen.

  1. “I hope it will stop raining soon.”
  2. “I hope you’ll visit me when you come to Boston.”
  3. “I hope Nadeem gets the job.”

When hope is used in the past tense, it usually means that the thing hoped for didn’t happen:

  1. “I hoped Fatima would have finished by now.” (she hasn’t)
  2. “I hoped you wouldn’t find out about the surprise.” (but you probably have)

To wish‘ is often used to express desire for something that is impossible or unlikely, something imagined:

  1. “I wish we were rich.”
  2. “I wish unicorns were real!”

*Note that we use the past simple here even though we are talking about the present.

It can also be used to express regret for something that has already happened.

  1. “I wish Fatima had finished her project.”
  2. “I wish you hadn’t found out about the surprise.”

*Here we use the past perfect tense.

Wish‘ paired with an infinitive expresses a desire to do something:

  1. “It’s getting cooler out, I wish to go inside now.”


Easily Confused: FUN Vs FUNNY

It’s no fun to mix up these two words. Let’s look at the difference between the two:

Fun (n) means pleasure and enjoyment: “We had a lot of fun on our trip.” It can also be used as an adjective: “We did lots of fun (enjoyable) activities while we were in the city.”

Funny (adj) means causing laughter or amusement

  1. “Hahahaha! I’ve heard that story a million times and it’s still funny!”

BUT, it can also mean that something is or feels…

  1. strange: “There’s something funny about that man’s shoes.”
  2. unwell: “My head feels funny, I think I need to lie down.”
  3. or even suspicious:  A) You should drink this. It’s really, REALLY good. B) Why, what’s in it? You’re acting funny

NOTE that funny does not mean enjoyable:

“Our school trip to New York was very funny.” incorrect
“Our school trip to New York was lots of fun.” correct

Have some fun and see what’s funny with VocabNetwork!


Easily Confused: BESIDE Vs BESIDES

These two words are confused all the time! Let’s Look at the difference:

BESIDE is a preposition.
It means (1) by the side of or next to something or someone:

  1. “Tasha sits beside Jamal in English class.”
  2. “My Alarm clock is beside my bed.”

or (2) in comparison to something:

  1. “The cost of the project seems small beside the potential profits.”

BESIDES is a preposition and an adverb.
As a preposition it means (1) other than something or someone:

  1. “There’s no pizza left besides plain cheese.”

or (2) in addition to something:

  1. Besides my homework, I need to do my chores and wash up.”

As an adverb it means (1) as well:

  1. “They teach sculpture and many other crafts besides.”

or (2) in addition to what has been said:

  1. “I’m not upset the picnic was canceled. Besides, it’s supposed to rain later.”

You can explore, practice, and master these two tricky words (and many other words besides)  here: http://www.vocabnetwork.com/featured/blog/9903/

Easily Confused: AFFECT Vs EFFECT

Close in meaning and spelling, affect and effect might be the most commonly confused in all of English! Let’s look at the difference:

To AFFECT (verb) means to influence or to cause a change:

  1. Norman’s injury didn’t affect his desire to compete.
  2. I don’t feel so good. Something is affecting my stomach
  3. The families were deeply affected when they visited the memorial.

An EFFECT (noun) is the change that results.

  1. The injury had no effect on Norman’s performance.
  2. The medicine I’m taking is working to good effect.
  3. Leaving the memorial had a restorative effect on the family.

Check out our ‘Affect Vs Effect’ studylist:


And use your English to good effect with VocabNetwork!

Photo: felixtsao on Flickr

Easily Confused: EVERYDAY Vs EVERY DAY

Everyday and every day are easy to confuse, so let’s look at the difference:

Everyday (adj) describes something that is used or seen every day, something ordinary or common.

  1. It was just an everyday meeting, you didn’t miss much.
  2. I need something fancier to wear than my everyday clothes.

Every day is a two word phrase used as an adverb.

  1. The Sun rises every day.
  2. Every day I walk my dog Scrappy.
  3. My Mom wants me to call her every day I’m away.
Come to VocabNetwork every day to explore, use, and master everyday (and not so everyday) words and phrases! http://www.vocabnetwork.com/featured/blog/9901/

Easily Confused: ADVISE Vs ADVICE

Advise and advice are easy to confuse, so let’s look at the difference:
ADVICE is a noun meaning an opinion or suggestion about what someone should do:

  1. “I’d like the advice of my teacher before I make a commitment.”
  2. “Take my advice and travel while you have the opportunity.”
  3. “I followed my friend’s advice and bought a bicycle.”

To ADVISE is a verb meaning to give advice to someone:

  1. “Dillon advised me to fix my roof before winter.”
  2. “Olive’s doctor advised her to stop smoking.”
  3. “I would advise against trying the fish. Get the chicken instead.”

Take our advice and practice these and more easily confused words on VocabNetwork! http://www.vocabnetwork.com/featured/blog/9899/

Idiom Edition: Apples and Oranges

When someone wants to make a ridiculous comparison, between two things that are completely and utterly different, people often suggest that to do so would be like comparing apples and oranges.

Mike on Flickr

It doesn't make any sense, kind of like this picture!

Wait, what?

Apples and oranges have a lot in common! Both fruits grow on trees, they have about the same amount of dietary fiber and calories, and they’re found right next to each other in the grocery store! Still, it’s a commonly used expression.

Ex. You can’t compare tennis and baseball, that’s like comparing apples and oranges.

Francis Bijl on Flickr

Who's who?

Far more sensibly, when comparing two things so alike that they could be considered identical, people often say it’s like comparing apples to apples.

Ex. Comparing Sherri to Terri is like trying to compare apples to apples.

BTW: The British have a much better analogy. They say chalk and cheese.

Vocablets of the Day: Compare and Contrast

When you put two things side by side you begin to see the similarities and the differences between the two. When you look for what is similar, you’re comparing the two. When you look for what is different, you’re contrasting.

Compare and contrast may have different meanings, but the two words are very similar in practice. If you liken two things and make a note of everything similar between them, you likely will have noted the differences as well. Because of this the words are often used together as compare and contrast. If you use one or the other it’s because you want to emphasize the similarities or differences.

Photo:  Phineas Jones on FlickrCompare and Contrast:

Octopus vs Squid


Octopi and Squid are cephalopods that live in salty water from the tropics to temperate zones. Both have blue blood and travel by sucking water up into there bodies and quickly releasing it. Both are pretty tasty!


-Octopi live in dens on the seafloor, squid live in the open ocean

-Octopi have eight arms, squid have an additional two tentacles

-Octopi are solitary creatures, squid sometimes travel in schools

If you want to learn more head over to VN and check out our Octopus vs Squid collection! http://vocabnetwork.com/featured/bl/8304/octopus-vs-squid/

Language Matters: Separated by a Common Language

Britain and America are both English-speaking countries, but a Brit abroad in the US (and vice versa) wouldn’t necessarily know it!

Overcoming the language barrier between these two English-speaking countries is a matter of understanding how the meaning of what you say is affected by each country’s cultural context.

It’s not just differences in what things are called, although that can also be confusing.

Ex. An American might say ‘nice pants’ to a friend or coworker, but in the UK ‘pants’ means underwear! (A Brit would say ‘nice trousers’)

How we speak is affected by our country’s culture. In the UK, directness can be considered rude. Asking “are there any other options to consider” is an indirect way of saying “I don’t like this idea.” British people recognize this, but someone from the US would understand it to mean only that a decision hasn’t been made yet.

On the other side of things, Americans value straight-forward communication, and sometimes come off as bossy as a result.

To communicate effectively, it’s necessary to understand not just what you are saying, but how it will be understood by your audience. Mastering this will ensure that the message you intend to send will be the one received!

Idiom Edition: Think Twice

Have you ever regretted a decision you made? Maybe you were a little too honest about a coworker’s performance in a group email, or maybe you thought that puddle was going to be a bit shallower before you stepped in it…

This guy could be in deep water...

Maybe next time you’ll think twice before you act!

You don’t have to think twice about checking out this and other great content over at: vocabnetwork.com/featured/bl/8181/