13 Commonly Misused English Words


"Take this as your everyday English dosage - regardless of your nationality."


I am one of those who admits that the English Language is complicated. There are too many words in the dictionary that we often confused with the others, those grammar rules that we have to memorize by heart, and oh, I nearly forget those exceptions to the rules! Yes, who says English is easy? I guess it takes a lot of practice and perhaps engages with a lot of conversation to the word geeks, good reads, and good movies (except those with a bunch of swearing).
Well, this article presents the most common and basic words or expressions that are often used incorrectly in academic writing or even in some technical write-ups.

In behalf vs. on behalf
Let this be the first one to be on the list. This may cause confusion to the one reading or even to the one listening to your speech. Yes, they are both correct but they slightly differ in meaning. In behalf is used when you refer to the group of people or an organization who would benefit from something and it also means “for the benefit of” or “in the interest of”. On behalf is used when you refer to the organization or a group that you represent or it means “in place of” or “as the agent of”.

Let me just give you an example.

“I am very happy to present this award on behalf of the ABC group of companies. This one million dollar fund was raised in behalf of the Cancer Research Organization and that this may be used to draw more research and find a cure to this disease. “

Emigrate Vs. Immigrate
These two words have different usage and different meaning of course! “Emigrate” is always used with the preposition “from” whereas, “immigrate” is always used with preposition “to”. Having said these rules, you may have the idea on how they are being used in a sentence. To emigrate is to come from somewhere, and to immigrate is to go somewhere.

“Jessica emigrated from the Philippines to the United States”. It means the same thing as “Jessica immigrated to the United States from the Philippines”. You decide which you are emphasizing – the coming or the going.

Irregardless vs. regardless
The above words shouldn’t be here on the list at all. However; there are too many people who I often heard this word from and it always makes me feel like, seriously? Well, there’s no such word as irregardless. That’s just it. The right word would be regardless. Let us go back to our elementary days. Our teacher taught us our prefixes and suffixes and their meaning. – ir at the beginning of the word is a prefix and it means “not”; the “less” at the end of the root word regard is called suffix which means “without” and it is negative. Therefore irregardless is redundant in its sense and it is NOT a word. Never!

Take vs. bring
Perhaps some of you have used these words interchangeably and I must say that yes, it is confusing. But let me just give you a little bit of an idea of how they are different.
We ask people to bring things to the place where we are. It is used in relation to the destination. We take things to the place we are going to. We take things from the place where we are to another place. Take is used in relation to the starting point.

To illustrate, take is outward, bring is inward.


“Please take this book and put it in the library. And oh, bring me some fiction books as well when you come back.”

Doing good vs. doing well
These expressions are both correct and mistake comes in depending on how you’re going to use them. When someone asks you how you are and you respond “I’m good”, this is incorrect. You need an adverb here unless you mean that you embody the properties of goodness. Tracey Jordan said, “Superman does good. You do well.”

Complement Vs. compliment
However they are being pronounced, they have almost spelled alike but they are two different words. “Compliment” means giving a praise or admiring remark to someone for a job well done. “Complement” is to add to improve or an addition to improve something.

“Maria was wearing a blue long dress that complemented her fine complexion.”
“The head of the sales department complimented Jared for hitting the 80% increase sales target by the end of the year.”

Stationary Vs. stationery
This set of words is often misused. “Stationary” means something that doesn’t move or something that is fixed. “Stationery” means writing materials such as papers, envelopes, etc.


“I bought stationeries because I am going to make a creative scrapbook for my project in English 2.”
“You can throw a stone into a stationary water and you’ll see ripples expanding.”

All right vs. alright
This has been one of the major mistakes in academic writing and formal writing settings. “Alright” is incorrect and though it is commonly used nowadays, it is still incorrect in grammar world. “All right” is the right way of writing it. It only becomes right when you say it out loud. Try to refrain from using alright when texting or sending emails.

Everyday vs. every day
Honestly speaking, I was a victim of these words. As I was doing my research about it, there were times when I write it incorrectly. So, “everyday” is an adjective we use to describe some errands or habits that we are doing every day. It means typical or ordinary. “Every day” is a phrase that simply means each day.


“Long sleeves and slack pants are my best everyday clothing.”
“I enjoy calling my applicants every day.”

Anyway vs. anyways
Anyway, this is easy. There should be no “s” on anyway. When you are writing anyways, you are automatically making a mistake.

Blond vs blonde
This is derived from a French word. Okay, I was not aware of this until I did my research. Basically, “blond” refers to a fair-haired men and “blonde” refers to fair-haired women. Therefore blond is masculine and blonde is feminine.

Disinterested vs. uninterested
This is generally two different words with different meanings. Though they come from the same root word interest, having different prefixes changed its meaning. “Disinterested” means someone is impartial or unbiased, whereas, “uninterested” means someone has no interest in it.


“A judge in the court of law need be disinterested but never uninterested.”

Comprised of vs. composed of
I have been reading a lot of these words in some of the pamphlets or leaflets in the marketing campaigns. However; these words are used incorrectly by some of the marketers or advertisers. Comprise means “contain or consist of”. Compose means “make up or form”. Take a look at the below example:

“Our marketing team is comprised of dynamic professionals who are coming from a reputed universities around the world.”

What do you think of the example? Let us replace comprise of in the original sentence by its meaning:
Our marketing team is contained of dynamic professionals…
Our marketing team is consisted of dynamic professionals…

Let us do the “compose of” this time with its meaning:
Our marketing team is made up of dynamic professionals…
Our marketing team is formed of dynamic professionals…

Yes, the correct usage is “composed of” and it goes this way: “Our marketing team is composed of dynamic professionals who are coming from a reputed universities around the world.”

Note: These ideas are drawn out of research and had undergone validation using hard copy and soft copy materials and online and offline information.

 This article is originally authored by Sir Neb.