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Alphadictionary.com

250 Often Confused Words • U


Below are the words beginning on U, V, W, X, Y, and Z 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.


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• U •
WORDS DEFINITIONS & EXAMPLES
undoubtedly
undoubtably
indubitably
These three words may be used interchangeably, meaning "sure, without a doubt": Mary Dewey Dance was undoubtedly| undoubtably|indubitably the best ballerina of all time.
uninterested
disinterested
See disinterested, uninterested.
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• V •
WORDS DEFINITIONS & EXAMPLES
vane
vain
vein
A vane is blade that rotates: I don't know how hard the wind blew; it blew the weather vane off the roof.
Vain means "fruitless, hopeless, or without result": Bertie harbors a vain hope of becoming a world-class ice skater.
Vein refers to the tubes that carry blood back to the heart: The veins are usually smaller than the arteries.
venal
venial
Venal means "corruptible, money-grubbing, likely to accept bribes": Chris Cross is a man so venal he charged his mother for taking her to the hospital.
Venial means "easily forgiven": The judge dismissed the venial crimes and focused on the theft of the chocolates.
veracity
voracity
Veracity is truthfulness: Can we trust the veracity of someone who works at Cook, Books, and Hyde Accounting?
Voracity is greediness or extreme hunger but it can sound very much like veracity if the O in the first syllable is not clearly pronounced: Mildred's voracity for romance novels is as great as her love of chocolates.
verses
versus
Verses is plural of verse, a line of poetry: Several of Emerson's verses were recited that evening.
Versus means "in comparison or opposition to": The benefits of having a cell phone versus not having one depend on the individual.
vicious
viscous
Vicious means "cruel and mean": A vicious dog attacked the young boy.
Viscous means "thick and sticky": Honey and tar are viscous substances.
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• WXYZ •
WORDS DEFINITIONS & EXAMPLES
waist
waste
Waist refers the (often) narrow area of a human body between the hips and ribs: We often wear a belt around our waist.
Waste is garbage, or waste can be a verb meaning "to use carelessly": You shouldn't waste food and you should recycle waste paper.
wary
weary
Wary means "leery and cautious": The customer became wary when the salesperson said he would personally guarantee the TV set for 100 years.
Weary means "tired and worn": After a day of harvesting corn, the farmer was very weary.
wave
waive
To wave is to move back and forth; a wave is a swelling in a body of water due to movement: Helen Highwater waved her hand to the boat rocking in the waves.
Waive means "to give up, not require or ask for": Never waive your right to a lawyer.
weak
week
Weak is not strong: Finley gave a weak performance; maybe because he has a weak mind.
Week refers to the names of the seven days, from Sunday to Saturday: I go to the ice skating rink once a week.
wear
ware
were
we're
Wear is a verb (wear, wore, worn) meaning to have clothing on: Maud Lynn Dresser always wears gaudy evening gowns on formal occasions.
Ware is an article of merchandise, a product (usually used in the plural): The potter displayed her wares on a beautiful stand made by her husband.
Were is past tense of are: Maud and her fiance were at the ball last weekend.
We're is a contraction for we are: We're going to the ball this weekend so maybe we'll see them.
weather
whether
Weather has to do with climate: I hope we have beautiful weather for my daughter's wedding.
Whether means "if" and is used only inside sentences: I don't know whether to bring an umbrella or not.
wet
whet
Wet is full of moisture: We had to dry out the wet sleeping bag on our camping trip after a sudden storm.
Whet is to stimulate or arouse: Smelling the stew whetted her appetite.
which
witch
Which means "what particular choice": Which witch put the spell on you?
A witch is a person who believes in or practices magic: Not all witches have warts on their noses (some have them on their chins).
who's
whose
Who's is a contraction for who is: Who's going to vote today?
Whose is the possessive of who meaning "of whom": Whose tickets are these?
wreak
wreck
Wreak "to cause (damage)" is used almost exclusively in the phrase wreak havoc: The hurricane wreaked havoc with their plans for a vacation at the beach. It is only possible to wreak damage, destruction, etc.
Wreck is a regular verb meaning "to damage severely, destroy": The hurricane wrecked half the beach-front cottages.
wont
won't
Wont means "used to": Maggie was wont to getting everything her way and cried when she didn't.
Won't is a contraction for will not: Maggie won't be getting every toy she wants this Christmas.
your
you're
Your is possessive for you: Your idea is fantastic!
You're is a contraction for you are: You're the most treasured person in my life.
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Now test your knowledge of these words here.