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10 Highly Confusing Words in the English Language- Part 1

English Language

Last updated on August 10th, 2017 at 11:46 am

Throughout the years, we have noticed that there are certain words in English that create great confusion among both, native and non-native English speakers. This is not an English-only matter; it happens in every language but, being a professional translation agency in the U.S. and specializing in English and Spanish translation projects, we think it is important to review these sets of words. Let’s see the list:


  1. less/ fewerFewer refers to things that can be counted and are tangible, while less refers to things that cannot be counted and are not tangible. So, the average American actually has fewer than two children, not less than two children.
  2. lose/ loose– These two words are highly confusing basically because they are practically homophones (they are pronounced almost the same way). Lose is the basic form of the past tense lost. Loose refers to something that is not rigidly fastened. In that case, you would lose your keys every morning!
  3. compliment/ complement– Do you complement or compliment your new hairdo with good makeup? Complement comes from the Latin word for “complete” and, when you compliment you show admiration. So, with that said: what do you do?
  4. its/ it’s– Does your dog have its own or it’s own personality? Its means “belonging to it” while it’s is the contraction of “it is” or “it has” (from the verb to be).
  5. prosecute/ persecute– Both come from the same Latin word meaning “to pursue” but, lawyers prosecute criminals and
  6. employers, can certainly persecute employees for no reason, although they shouldn’t.


Make sure your translations are spot on by working with a recognized translation agency.

To read the rest of the list go to 10 Highly Confusing Words in the English Language-part 2


Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.