Confusing words and structures

Skill: Vocabulary

Category: General English & Academic English  

Level: Upper-intermediate

Confusing words and structures

Verb Pairs:

Make = to change something, produce or create something, to build something.

Ex: To make the students happy, the teacher made a very easy test.

Ex: If you intend to make more money, you need to make new plans to start off a business.

Do = to perform or accomplish something; to talk about actions or work

Ex: What do you do for a living? I do street performances.  

Raise / raised (transitive verb) to increase; to move something to a higher position

Ex: Last week I attended a parade. Each group of performers plays the national anthem of their country whenever they raised their flag.

Ex: The gold sellers raised the cost of gold by 20% last week.

Rise / rose (intransitive verb) to increase or to show that something moves to a higher position

Ex: The heaters prices rose by 50% in the last winter.

Say = to speak (used without an indirect object) does not indicate who the listener was.

Ex: They said that they were going to attend the ceremony anyway.

Tell = to speak (used with an indirect object) indicates who was listening. It is mostly used with some specific expressions like: tell a lie, tell the truth, tell a story, tell the time.

Ex: My grandmother used to tell me nice stories every night before I go to bed.

See = to use one’s eyes (unintentional action)

Ex: I saw him in the park talking to a stranger.

Look = to use one’s eyes (intentional action) mostly the duration is shorter than watch

Ex: We looked at 10 new cars in the stores.

Ex: The teacher looked at my writing assignment and corrected some of my mistakes.

Watch = to use one’s eyes (intentional action) it usually has a longer duration than look.

Ex: I watched the BBC news on TV last night.

Waste = to use something foolishly or unwisely

Ex: Please switch off the car when you don’t drive it. You are wasting fuel by leaving it on.

Ex: He wasted 30 minutes of my time talking all about his pets.

Lose = not to be able to find or locate; to not win

Ex: If you don’t start a business wisely, you will easily lose all your money.

Ex: Unfortunately, they lost the game because they didn’t practice well for it last week.

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