250 Often Confused Words • E

Below are the words beginning on E 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.

• E •
e. g.

i. e.
e. g. is a Latin abbreviation meaning "for example": Lucille doesn't like fruit, e.g. pears, apples, grapes, and bananas.
i. e. is a Latin abbreviation meaning "that is (to say)": Myrtle had to leave the room, i.e. she had to go to the bathroom.
each other

one another
Use each other when only two objects are involved: The twins love each other.
Use one another in referring to more than two objects: The triplets all love one another.

These are singular distributive pronouns; use them with a singular verb. Each refers to a single individual in a group: Each of us voted differently.
Every refers to all the members of a group inclusively: Every one of us voted the same.

See affect, effect.

Elicit is a verb that means "to draw out": The teacher had trouble eliciting responses from the students.
Illicit is an adjective meaning "illegal or illegitimate": Illicit drugs or illicit behavior may help you enter jail.

See allude, elude.

An emigrant is a person who leaves his native country to settle in another: The emigrants left everything behind in search of something more.
An immigrant refers is person who moves to a new country: Many immigrants settle in this country every year.

Emigrate from means "to leave one's country": Frances emigrated to the US.
Immigrate to means "to settle in another country": Her family immigrated to the US four generations ago.


Eminent means "of high rank, outstanding, or prestigious": An eminent author came to read at the university.
Emanant means "sending or issuing forth": Emanant thoughts like those should be kept to yourself.
Imminent means "close to happening or near": Everyone waited anxiously for an imminent storm predicted to arrive shortly.

An emolument is a salary or other compensation for a job: The emolument for his new position far exceeded that of Henry's last post.
An emollient is a softener: The oils secreted by the skin are emollients that keeps the skin soft.

Innervate means "to supply with nerves or vitality": The therapist innervated the shoulders with massage.
Enervate is to weaken or destroy the vitality of: The negative attitude enervated her enthusiasm.

Enormity means "heinous, outrageous evil or an act of outrageous evil": The enormity of the Nazi concentration camps cannot be exaggerated.
Enormousness refers to hugeness: The enormousness of the Titanic did not save it from an even larger iceberg.

Entomology refers to the study of insects: Donald couldn't be afraid of bugs if he wanted to get a degree in entomology.
Etymology is the study of the history of words and where they come from: The etymology of mortify goes back to Latin mortuus "dead".

See assure/ensure/insure.
etc. Etc. is Latin for et cetera and means "and so on": You need to bring plates, knives, forks, spoons, etc. to the table. It is a good idea, however, to just finish the list, not letting it end with etc. But if you must, use a phrase like "and so on", "and so forth".

Ethereal describes something that is light, airy, and intangible: Ethereal clouds hovered above; Everything in the ballroom looked ethereal.
Ephemeral refers to anything lasting for a short period: Truth can be an ephemeral thing; A creek can be ephemeral if it disappears in the middle of summer.

every one
Everyone means "each person": Everyone in the room must leave immediately.
Every one refers to each thing or person individually: Felice put every one of the eggs in the basket.

See accede, exceed.

See accept, except.

Explicit means "clear and direct": Please give me explicit directions.
Implicit means "indirectly, with some parts understood": They implicitly agreed to never talk on the subject again.
Now test your knowledge of these words here.