250 Often Confused Words • C

Below are the words beginning on C 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.
• C •
A cache is a storage place for valuables or the valuables in such.
Cash is available money whether cached or not.
A cannon is a very, very large gun.
A canon is an ecclesiatical code of laws or an official list of acceptable writings for a field or organization.
can't hardly This expression is a nonstandard double negative (hardly is considered negative), so avoid it. It is better to say can hardly: I can hardly hear you over the noise of the party!
Canvas is cloth or fabric: a canvas bag to bring to the beach.
Canvass means "to conduct a survey or examine thoroughly", or "to seek votes": She canvassed all the stores before she found the right dress.
A capital is where the seat of government is: The capital of the United States is Washington DC. Capital can also mean "wealth" or "a large letter".
The Capitol (usually capitalized) is the actual building in which the government and legislature meets: We will travel to the Capitol this weekend.
A caret is a proof-reader's symbol that indicates where something (letter, word, phrase) is to be inserted in a line (^).
A carat (or karat) is a unit of measure of the purity of gold or the weight of a gem.
A carrrot is an orange root vegetable once thought to improve vision.
To careen is to swerve and tilt to one side while turning at high speed.
A career is a long-term occupation to which you devote yourself.
Censor is to prohibit free expression: The principal censored all references to smoking in school publications.
A sensor is something that interprets stimulation: The lights are turned on by a movement sensor.
Censure is rebuke, harsh criticism: Morty Skustin was severely censured for putting the frog in the water cooler.
Cite means "to quote or mention": He cited a famous theorist in his speech.
Site is a noun meaning "a place": At which site will we stage the party?
Sight is a noun meaning "view": The sight of the New York City skyline is spectacular.
Climactic refers to the peak: Wendell sneezed right at the climactic moment of a movie.
Climatic refers to the climate and weather: New Monia is known for its dramatic climatic changes.
Coarse is an adjective meaning "rough, big-grained, not fine": We need to use coarse sandpaper to remove the paint from this wood.
Course is a noun referring to a direction (the course of a ship) or a series of lectures on one subject (a history course in college): The poetry course Stu deBaker took in colldge changed the course of his life.
Collaborate means "to work together": Collaborate with the people on your team.
Corroborate means "to support with evidence" or "prove true": The testimony was corroborated with evidence of his innocence.
Complement means "to supplement" or "make complete": Their two personalities complement each other.
Compliment means "to praise or congratulate": She received a compliment on her sense of fashion.
Compose means to "make up" and is often used in the passive voice: The class is composed of students of several nationalities.
Comprise means "have, consist of, or include": The class comprises students of several nationalities. A rule to remember would be that the whole comprises its parts and the parts compose the whole.
Concurrent simultaneous or happening at the same time as something else: concurrent blizzards in three different states.
Consecutive means "successive or one after another": The state had three consecutive blizzards that month.
Conform means "to be similar to": In some schools, students must conform by wearing uniforms.
Confirm is to make sure or double check: to confirm a flight reservation.
Congenial describes something likeable, suitable to taste: They enjoy the congenial surroundings in their home.
Congenital refers to a condition present at birth because of heredity: Raymond has a congenital heart defect.
Connote means to "imply or suggest": Home connotes warmth and safety.
Denote means to "indicate specifically, to mean": The word home denotes the place where you live.
Conscience is the feeling or knowledge of right and wrong: My conscience wouldn't allow me to compete with someone so much weaker than me.
Conscious refers to being awake and aware: Molly Coddle was still conscious after banging her head on the headboard.
Continual means "repeated with breaks in between": We need continual rain throughout the summer for crops to grow.
Continuous means "without stopping": The continuous drumming of the rain on the windows put Herman to sleep.
Convince is to cause another to feel sure or believe something to be true: Well, Argyle Greenpasture has convinced me that aliens do exist.
Persuade is to talk someone into doing something: Percy persuaded me to help him wash his car.
Co-operation means "working together": I would like to thank you for your cooperation with us on the project.
A corporation is a large company: Presidents of large corporations receive tens of millions of dollars in salary.
A corps (pronounced 'core') is an organization of people dedicated to a single goal: Lucinda joined the Peace Corps after college.
A core is the center of a fruit containing seeds: Bartholomew eats apples, core and all.
A corpse is a dead body: The corpse of Danny's dog was lovingly laid to rest in the back yard.
Correspondence is written communication such as letters or news articles: Phil and Rachel continued their correspondence for years.
Correspondents are those who write this communication: Rhoda Lott has lived among the corps of foreign correspondent for several years.
could not care less This expression is often confusing for English language learners. It is always used with a negative and means that you really don't care at all: Since she was sick, Mona could not care less about doing her homework, or Mona could not care less which color sweater she wore. Do not leave out not!
A council is a group of people called together to meet on an issue: The school board council meets every Thursday evening.
Counsel is advice: I always go to Clyde for counsel on the tough decision in my life.
A consul is a diplomat appointed to protect the citizens and commercial interests of one country in another: If you need help starting a business in France, talk to the US consul in Paris.
Creak can be the noun or verb for a squeak or groan: The creak of the floorboards alerted Nell that Bernard was sneaking up on her.
A creek is a small stream: The kids loved to play in the creek on a hot summer day.
Credible means "believable or reliable": There is no credible evidence that it was I who broke the lamp.
Creditable means "worthy of praise or respect": Although Rhoda Book's new novel is not an outstanding piece of literature, it is a creditable one.
Criterion is singular: There is only one criterion for this job.
Criteria is plural: Several criteria need to be met in order for us to move forward.
A custom is a cultural tradition: It is a custom in Japan to remove your shoes when entering a home.
A costume is the outfit worn to represent a particular time, event, or culture: What is your costume for Halloween going to be?
Now test your knowledge of these words here.