Five word pairs to increase your word power

Today I’d like to share these word pairs that always confuse new writers. Not to sound arrogant there are plenty words in the English language that I need to check on for correct usage, despite considering myself an English language professional.

I have selected these five word pairs so that you can easily increase your word power.

Appraise  is to assess or estimate the worth of: to appraise an item of jewelery.

Apprise is to inform or notify: the officer apprised us of our right

As may be used as a conjunction that introduces dependent clauses: George talks as his father does. Informally, it may also be used as a preposition in comparative constructions like: Jean-Claude is as forgetful as me (or as I am).

Like is a preposition is followed by a noun or pronoun: Jane looks like her mother. It may also be used as an adjective meaning “similar”: Terry and I have like minds.

Canvas is cloth or fabric: a canvas bag to bring to the beach, or an artist’s canvas.

Canvass means “to conduct a survey or examine thoroughly”, or “to seek votes”: She canvassed all potential voters before writing a summary.

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, or The sight of starving children in Rwanda is devastating.

Africa's future leaders
Africa’s future leaders

Amused is when something is entertaining: The children were amused by watching the kittens play.

Bemused means “bewildered” or “lost in thought”: George was bemused by the unexpected ending to the movie.

Writing this, I have learnt something, I hope you have too.


Iza Grek

Iza is an award-winning journalist. She has worked in advertising and communications for more than 20 years. A Word or 2 has been in operation since October 2014 and continues to thrive, serving customers writing and editing services across the board from blogs to speeches and e-books.