How Well Do You Know These Confusing Words?



By: Kennita Leon

6 Min Quiz

Image: JGI/Tom Gril/Blend Images/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Experts often say that English is the most difficult language to learn. It's something we sometimes can't fathom because we speak it all the time. But do you know how many sounds the letter 'a' has? And let's not even get started on silent letters or those that sound alike. It's why foreigners say the words so weirdly sometimes. Another reason why this language is so darn confusing is that there are words that were created just to stump us. Why do two words need to sound the same or similar to each other but mean something totally different? 

We're not just talking homophones here, although most of our examples are. So, we're going to give you the meanings of these confusing words and all you have to do is choose the one you think matches the definition. If you get enough answers correct, you can brag to your friends and tell your old English teacher to eat it! 

But will you? Will you be able to tell the difference between "aisle" and "isle," and "site" and "sight"? Let's find out now with this confusing words quiz. 

Which of these words is a name given to tiny islands?

The word "isle" is a noun, which is the name given to tiny islands. This homonym should not be confused with "aisle," which is also a noun, sounds the same but has a different meaning.


Which word means means to say something at a high volume?

The word "aloud" means "out loud" or "loudly" and is used to describe the manner in which something is said. Example: The teacher read the story aloud to the students.


Which of these words is related to birth?

Born refers to birth or the beginning of a process. For example, when a mother has given birth, a baby is born. A born-again Christian is someone who has reaffirmed their loyalty to their faith.


Which of these is a rough copy of something?

"Draft" has various meanings; usually, it is used to refer to the first version of a document that is being composed or a cold gust of wind that is felt suddenly. It can also apply to the process of selecting people for a particular task or the quantity of something.


Which of these is a kind of bear?

Grizzly refers to the color "grey" or hair that is grey. It is commonly used to describe the grizzly bear of North America. On the other hand, grisly refers to something that is gruesome and can inspire distaste or fear.


Which of these is a large gathering/group of people?

Horde is a noun that describes a large gathering of people and has been used in history to refer to nomads as they travel. Hoard is about the accumulation of goods or valuables that are stored away or hidden.


Which of these words is more closely related to an election?

Pole is a long thin material often made of wood or metal. It is usually secured in the ground and used as a means of support, e.g. lamps and wires. Poll refers to voting in an election or the process of gathering an opinion on a topic.


Of these options, which refers to a location or place?

Sight refers to the eyes and what can be seen and observed. However, a site often refers to a location, a particular place where something is situated or an abbreviation for the word "website."


Which of these words is a part of an egg?

The yolk is the part of a bird's egg that is yellow and surrounded by the egg white. They are very nutritious for a fetus' development. A yoke is a harness placed over an animal's neck to control its movement.


Which of these options means staying still?

Stationary is an adjective used to describe movement or lack thereof. It's something that is not moving or meant to be in one location. Stationery refers to writing materials such as paper, pens and pencils.


Tell us which word refers to the head of a school?

Principal refers to someone of the highest order or authorization in a particular institution and, in banking, refers to money lent. A principle is about basic beliefs, concepts, ​and values that are highly regarded.


Which of these words has to do with flavor or a part of the mouth?

Palette can refer to a thin slab used by painters or the variety of colors they use in their work. Palate is a word that relates to the roof of one's mouth or one's sense of taste and flavor.


Which of these is a tiny hole or opening?

Pour is the act of causing something to flow from a receptacle, such as a container or a vase. Pores are the tiny openings in something, such as those found on the body of an organism.


Which of these words is the opposite of "tight"?

Lose refers to the act of no longer having something in one's possession; the inability to find something or retain something that is lost. Loose is an adjective that describes the grip or firmness of something. Loose means "not tight."


Which of these words refers to a tale, often told to children?

Story/stories are narratives told that may or not be factual. This means that a story can be a historical event or a fable. Storey refers to the various levels in a building, such as those found in an apartment complex.


Which of these means the act of practicing restraint?

Forebear is a synonym for an ancestor, which is someone from whom you have descended, who existed hundreds of years ago. Forbear refers to the act of practicing restraint or abstinence from a particular activity or habit.


Which of these means enfold?

This verb is used to describe the act of covering or enfolding something completely. Envelope is a flat item of stationery where documents are placed in for one's use.


Of the options, which means to break a law or rule?

Breach may refer a transgression, such as breaking the law of the land or even a split or crack in something, such as a wall or blockade. The breech​ is a part of a gun or someone's derriere.


Which of these words means to exclude something or someone?

To accept something is to agree to receive something or to be in favor of a particular idea or concept. Except means to exempt or exclude something or someone.


Which of these is the dish we often get after lunch and dinner?

A desert is a barren but expansive area of land which is located within a hot climate. As a verb, desert can also mean to abandon something or someone. Dessert refers to a sweet treat consumed after meals.


Of the four options, which is a part of a bike?

A lever found in vehicles such as automobiles and bicycles, that is operated using one's feet. Peddle refers to sales that are made by moving from door to door to capture clients.


Tell us which of these is a piece of furniture.

Draw has several meanings, such as to create a picture using pencils and other stationery or to select names in a competition in order to choose a winner. A drawer is a compartment used to store materials.


Which of these words is a recommendation to make something better?

To prescribe is to advise or recommend something, such as for the betterment of a person or a situation. Proscribe is to prohibit or condemn something.


Of these options, which one refers to a person who is wary of the ideas of others?

Septic is often used to describe a body part that is badly infected with bacteria or disease. A skeptic is someone who is always wary of opinions and ideas and still questions their merit.


Which of these words refers to a fight?

A duel is an arranged battle between two people to settle a dispute regarding their honor. Dual refers to things that are made up of two parts or components or uses, e.g. dual citizenship.


Which of these is the past tense of taunting someone?

Baited is the past tense of bait and has two meanings. It may refer to food used to entice an animal so that it may be caught or the act of teasing and taunting someone. Bated refers to experiencing suspense or uncertainty while awaiting an outcome.


Which of these is the action of casting out an evil?

Exercise is a physical activity that is done either to improve one's health or physique. Exorcise is the act of expelling an evil spirit from one's body.


Which of these are words of wisdom you usually get from friends?

The noun advice means to give your opinion or recommend something that someone should do. Advise is a verb which is used formally when providing a view or advocating a specific action.


Of the options, which is a long string?

A cord is a long string used to provide support to something or to fasten and attach materials. Chords are formed when two or more notes are sung together.


Which of these is a kind of marketplace?

A bazaar is a marketplace, usually in the middle east, that sells various goods. Bizarre refers to peculiar or strange events that may inspire awe or interest.


Which of these is the food we eat, mostly in the morning?

Cereal is food served for breakfast, that is usually made of grains and flavored for taste. Serial refers to an act that occurs within a series or sequence, e.g., serial killings.


Which of these words means to pacify a tense situation?

Diffuse means to disseminate or scatter something in a particular area. Defuse means to pacify a situation as a way of reducing tension and stress or to avert a crisis.


Which of these is where a priest or pastor stands during a church service?

An altar is a table in a religious institution that is used for practices and rituals. To alter means to make changes to something that can affect its functionality or the outcome of a situation.


Which of these options is a fruit?

Currant is a fruit that is made from a type of grape and then processed and served as dried fruit. Current can refer to events taking place at the moment or in modern times. It can also apply to either the flow of electricity or a body of water.


Of the options, which of these is a type of material on which people paint?

Canvas is a type of durable cloth used in painting or to make items such as tents. Canvass means to deliberate over something carefully or to campaign to win someone's favor, such as in a political campaign.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!