Similar in Meaning But Different in Usage: Confusing Word Usages
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Similar in Meaning But Different in Usage: Confusing Word Usages

Some people argue which is right – birthday celebrant or celebrator? What’s the difference between an ice and snow? How about mount and mountain? Is there a difference between fish and fishes? Can you tell the difference between a turtle and a tortoise? How about an ocean and a sea? What about sit and seat; advise and advise?

Here’s a list of words that often give confusion in their usage.

Celebrant or Celebrator

Birthday is the commonest celebration that people deals with everyday. In connection to this, people are confused which is correct – celebrant or celebrator? Celebrant is one who celebrates. It also means “the officiating priest at a mass”.    Whether you say celebrant or celebrator, they are both correct. You can even say “celebrater”.

Ice and Snow

Is there a difference between these two words?  These two words are entirely different from each other. An ice is frozen water or the solid condition of water at 0º C or below while snow is a precipitation with the form of tiny ice crystals formed from aqueous vapor in the air when the temperature is 0º C or below. They usually fall in irregular masses or flakes.

Mount or Mountain

Mount and mountain are synonymous. They only differ in usage. According to the Webster Dictionary, mount is an elevation of the earth’s surface while mountain is a natural elevation of the earth’s surface. Mount is usually used when it precedes a proper name such as Mount Washington, Mount Vernon, Mount Apo, Mount Mayon, etc…It’s always capitalized while mountain is only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence. Ex. Mountain lions are extremely agile. The two major mountain ranges in the Philippine are Sierra Madre and Cordillera.

Fish or Fishes

Is fish singular and fishes plural? The singular and plural form of fish is the same – fish. So what is meant by fishes? Fishes is used in reference to different species of fish.

Turtle or Tortoise

Is there a difference between a tortoise and turtle? Of course, there is. A tortoise is a large herbivorous land tortoise. This terrestrial species usually weighs about 275 kg. Turtles are aquatic species and much smaller in size in comparison to tortoises.   

Sea and Ocean 

Many are confuse on the difference of an ocean and a sea. These two words are related but totally different from each other. An ocean is a great body of water such as the Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic and Indian oceans. A sea is an arm of the ocean. It is partly or almost entirely enclosed by land such as the Ionian Sea, Aegean Sea and Mediterranean Sea are part of the Atlantic Ocean. The Sea of Japan, Philippine Sea, and South China Sea are arms of the Pacific Ocean.

River and Stream

A river is a large natural flow of water that usually discharged into a lake, a sea or ocean. Ex. Amazon River, Nile River, Yangtze River, Magat River, Mississippi River and others. A stream is a current or flow of water smaller than a river. It is usually a tributary of a river.

Soccer or Football

Which is which, soccer or football? Soccer is a form of football in which the ball is propelled toward the opponents’ goal by kicking or by striking with the head and body. On the other hand, football is a game played between two teams on a field with goals at each end, points being scored by running and passing an ellipsoidal leather ball across the opponent’s goal line.   

Corps and Corpse

Corps is a tactical unit and is pronounce “korz” while corpse is a dead body and is pronounce “korps”.

Advise or Advice

Advice is a noun which means encouragement, counsel and suggestion. Advise is a verb which means to give advice or counsel; to recommend.

Sit and Seat

Sit is a verb which means to rest, as upon a chair. Seat is a noun. It is a chair on which one sits.

Island, Isle, and Islet

These three words are similar they only differ in size. An island is a tract of land surrounded by water. An isle or islet is a small island.

Hotel, Hostel and Motel

A hostel is a lodging house or supervised shelter for the use of young people on walking trips. A hotel is an establishment that provides lodging, foods and others for travelers and others of all ages. A motel is a hotel for motorist, usually comprising private cabins, garage or parking facilities. The word motel is taken from – {mo}tor + ho{tel}.

See also

Unique Words in the English Dictionary

World’s Longest Advertising Words and Places Names

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Comments (2)

That was a very useful article. 

thanks alot. it helps me with my study. I appreciate your posts. They are very helpful for me.

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