5 Tricky Words in English

English can be a very tricky language to learn; sometimes native speakers even have trouble distinguishing words and phrases from each other. Here are ten of what I personally think are some of the trickiest words in English, and descriptions to help you tell the differences.

Adverse/ AverseAdverse means something that is particularly difficult or antagonistic, for example “adverse circumstances”. Averse on the other hand means to have a strong feeling of opposition against something. Example, “I am averse to drinking alcohol”.

Already/ All ready – These two phrases practically look the same, which is a huge cause of confusion. Already means that something has already happened prior. Example, “I’ve already seen the movie before.” All ready means that you are completely prepared. “I’m all ready to go skiing now.”

Breach/ BreechBreach means something that has been broken off or opened. “What you did was essentially breach the contract.” Breech, however, means your butt. “I’m sitting on my breeches and reading this blog post.”

Complement / Compliment – Compliment is when you say something nice about something. “I complimented his shoes at the party.” Complement is associated with matching or completing something. “That tie really complements his shoes.”

Dairy / Diary – Dairy are products made from cow’s milk. “Yogurt and cheese are dairy products.” However, diary is a journal in which you write your private thoughts. “I wrote about all my favorite dairy products in my private diary.”

We’ll bring you guys some more tricky words in the future, but for now, keep these five in your head so you don’t make these common mistakes and ask your neighborhood farmer how much it costs to buy his diary!

-Rickey Lu