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250 Often Confused Words • M

Below are the words beginning on M of a list of more than 250 words that speakers and writers of English often confuse. They are called false cognates because they sound or are written so similarly that they are often confused. Even if you are an excellent writer, you should read through this list; otherwise, how will you know if you are confusing any words? We will soon have a quiz that will help you check your knowledge of the most common false English cognates.

• M •
Manner is a way of doing or behaving: Duane Pipes installed the plumbing in a workman-like manner.
A manor is a house on an estate: The chauffeur drove slowly up to the manor.
A mantel is the shelf above a fireplace, or face of one: Matilda set several candles on the mantel.
A mantle is a cloak or blanket: Velma grabbed her mantle before heading out the door.
Marital refers to marriage: Bunny and Lance are having marital problems.
Martial refers to war or the military: Bunny has a black belt in martial arts.
A marshal is an officer of the US Justice Department; it is also a verb meaning "to gather together": The marshal gave orders to marshal the troops.
Marshall is a name: Marshall marshaled enough strength to walk past the bar on his way home.
Martial refers to war or the military: The president declared martial law.
may be
May be as two words means "might be": Your reading glasses may be on the night stand.
Maybe is one word that means "perhaps": Maybe your reading glasses are on the night stand.
Me is used as a simple object: Susan told my brother and me about her trip to Africa.
Myself is a reflexive and an emphatic pronoun: I talk to myself [reflexive] or you can do that yourself [emphatic].
Meet means "to get together or connect with someone, to encounter": Elroy plans to meet a colleague for lunch.
Mete means "to distribute": We had to mete out the last of the water when we were still 20 miles from civilization on our hiking trip.
Meat is flesh that may be eaten: Nathan is a vegetarian who doesn't eat meat at all.
Metal is the hard stuff we make things out of: Gold is a soft metal that is easily shaped.
Mettle is the stuff we are made of, our character, spirit: If she were made of tougher mettle, she would not give up and quit her job.
Militate means "to influence toward or against a change": The banality of Rhoda Book's stories militated against their becoming popular.
Mitigate means "to lessen, make easier, or bearable": A cold compress on your leg will mitigate the swelling.
Mordant is bitingly sarcastic: Everyone hated Raymond's mordant comments.
Trenchant means "forceful and keen": Raymond received trenchant criticism from everyone for his comments.
See almost, most.
Mute means "having no sound or without speech": He was struck mute by the horror of the events.
Moot as a noun is a public meeting; as an adjective, the more common usage, means "open to debate" in the UK and "not open to debate" in the US. It is most often used in the phrase moot point: When Walter walked in, the question of who was going to pick him up became moot.
Now test your knowledge of these words here.