250 Often Confused Words • R

Below are the words beginning on R 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.

• R •
Rain is the water that falls from the sky: Dingwell didn't have sense enough to come in out of the rain.
Reign is the rule of a king of queen: King Wilhelm reigned with an iron fist to keep peace in the land.
A rein (usually plural, reins) are the straps of leather used to control and guide a horse: No matter how hard Reginald pulled on the reins, the horse would not slow down.
Raise means "to build or grow": The farmer raises corn. The Amish will raise the walls of a building by noon.
Raze is to destroy: The school was razed and a new one built in its place.
Real is a variant of really used in dialectal areas (like the Southern US) where adverbs are not distinguished from adjectives: She sings real good, in standard English is: She sings really well.
Really is an intensifying adverb: Gwendolyn was really tired after playing outside all day.
Reality means "the perceived world as it is, the true situation": She could not tell the difference between reality and fantasy.
Realty is land or real estate: Realty in large cities is markedly expensive.
A rebate is a discount from the manufacturer to the customer after a purchase has been made: The $600 computer cost only $69.43 after all the rebates.
A refund is a full repayment to a dissatisfied customer: Mildred returned her girdle and demanded a full refund.
Regimen is a systematic plan: Sylvia is undergoing a regimen for a healthier lifestyle.
Regiment is a troop of soldiers: The army is made up of several regiments.
A residence is where people live, the house or building: The mayor's residence is located in the center of the city.
The residents are the people who live there: The residents of the community thinks the mayor's residence is to luxurious.
Respectable means "deserving respect or on good behavior": Mother always told us to be respectable in public.
Respectful refers to showing respect: Be respectful of the people around you, especially if they have sticks.
Respective means "individual and appropriate": The summer camp kids were shown to their respective cabins.
Respectfully means "politely and with respect": Mel Pew always dealt respectfully with each and every customer.
Respectively refers to the order in which things are given: I gave Wallace and Linda blue and green socks, respectively, means that I gave Wallace blue socks and Linda green ones.
Restive means "impatient and nervous, restless": Cory became restive once he knew the boss was going to call him into his office.
Restful means "full of rest, calm, quiet, and restorative": A restful vacation in Indonesia was just what the doctored ordered.
To retch is to try and vomit: Furman retched several times after swallowing a bite of Lurleen's liver pudding.
A wretch is a miserable or wicked person: I didn't believe she could be such a wretch.
Rifle means to search with the intention of stealing or taking: The mugger rifled Clarissa's purse looking for cash.
To riffle means "to shuffle or flip quickly through papers": Bill riffled the card deck before dealing.
Right means "correct": She always knew the right thing to say.
A rite is a ceremony: Final rites for the deceased were held in the church.
To write is to express oneself in writing: Rhoda Book writes everyone about her publishing career.
Rise is intransitive and does not have an object: The sun rises in the east.
Raise always has an object: You can raise a crop on a farm or raise your hand in class.
Road is a long path or street to travel on: Lucille tries to stay on a main road wherever she travels.
Rode is past tense of ride: Matilda rode her bicycle over a cliff by accident.
A role is a part in a play or movie: Marjorie's favorite role of her entire movie career was that of the quirky neighbor in Keep your Doors Locked. It can also mean "a function of": Marjorie's role in removing the insignia from the police car door was minor.
Roll is a verb meaning "to turn over and over": Diane rolled the flat tire into the garage.
Now test your knowledge of these words here.