11 things you didn’t know about The Little Book of Confusables
Think The Little Book of Confusables is just a book about words? Think again. Here are 11 surprising reasons to buy the fun, invaluable guide to commonly confused words.
1) It’ll save you time
Mental block? Need to check which spelling you need? It’s quicker to get the answer you need using The Little Book of Confusables than Google.
Copywriter Matt Phil Carver put the book to the test and reported in his five-star review that it’s more than twice as quick as Googling.
Here’s Matt’s review…
2) It’s a godsend for comms teams
Comms teams, marketing departments, small business owners… make that anyone who writes.
Clare Laxton, Director of Communications and Influencing at Pause, tweeted:
“Starting the week with The Little Book of Confusables by the brilliant @STEcopywriting. An absolute must have for all Charity Comms teams – it helps me so much with all the writing I do in my role.”
Alison Relf from Taylor Alden PR loved her copy so much she treated her team to one each:
“Have just bought five copies on Amazon for ease! Cannot wait to give them to the team for Christmas!”
Boss of the year, I’d say…
3) It’s a gold award winner!
This handy little book won GOLD in the 2023 eLit book awards, in recognition of its gorgeous design and all-round usefulness. Yay!
Tony R says:
No more asking your boss to “BARE with me”.
(Prefer to avoid Amazon? No worries! Treat yourself to a signed copy direct from me.)
4) It’s not just for UK writers
Learning English as a foreign language? The Little Book of Confusables isn’t just a fab resource for translators and interpreters – it’s great for EFL students, and teachers, too.
Canadian reader, Jacqui, describes it as:
“Brilliantly laid out and a great addition to my writing guides collection. I highly recommend it for linguists and even ESL teachers.”
While MDGB says:
“As an in-house translator, colleagues regularly ask me to cast an eye over documents. An accessible usage guide as a desktop reference is very useful particularly as people ‘mishear’ a phrase that they wish to use. There are also helpful tips to help remember which homonym to use. Useful also for native speakers encountering the onset of language depletion in their mother tongue.”
Just four months after launch, The Little Book of Confusables has sold in 18 countries around the world:
Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tenerife, the UK and the US.
5) Language professionals swear by it
Copywriters, editors, proofreaders, translators, marketing managers, authors… you’ll find glowing five-star reviews from all of them.
Because we all have language blindspots.
Tom Albrighton, author of How To Write Clearly, says:
“Every writer – in fact, everyone who writes – needs a copy of this book on their desk. It’s comprehensive, authoritative and, most importantly, great fun to read.”
Anna Gunning, director of Gunning Marketing, says:
“This book is amazing – no matter how many years you’ve been writing and no matter how much of a grammar nerd you are. It’s a book to keep next to your computer at all times.”
6) It’s jam-packed with commonly confused words
Almost 600, to be precise.
Starting with the obvious homophones, including AFFECT/EFFECT, PRINCIPAL/PRINCIPLE, ELICIT/ILLICIT and COMPLIMENT/COMPLEMENT.
Then there are the mishearings, like DAMPSQUID, DOGGY-DOG WORLD, WHITE AS A SHEEP and OUTER-BODY EXPERIENCE.
Finally, the word pairs that get misused time and again – from ACUTE/CHRONIC and LEND/BORROW to LIBEL/SLANDER and POISONOUS/VENOMOUS.
What’s your language blindspot? And which words have you been misusing your whole life?
7) It really is little!
Despite having 300+ pages, The Little Book of Confusables is a pocket-sized, easy-to-grab paperback.
Kirsty Brooks, owner of Little Batch, calls it:
“Concise yet packed. Chunky, yet pocket-sized. The best bits of Sarah’s Instagram tips in a cute and chunky book!”
And copywriter, Cat Roberts Young, says:
“No writer, English speaker or English language learner should be without a copy of this book. All the answers, perfectly pocket-sized, in a book that will never leave your desk.”
(You can even stand it up on your desk like a paperweight, should you wish to. Win–win.)
8) It’ll make you laugh
Yes, The Little Book of Confusables is a deliciously nerdy, wordy reference book, but don’t expect it to be dull!
It’s packed full of quirky, witty wordiness that’ll make you laugh out loud while you learn.
From examples like TORTUOUS/TORTUROUS/TORTOISE/TOTORO and WARRIOR/WORRIER/WARIO (and his world-famous fictional moustache) to catchy ways to remember the spellings that catch you out Every. Single. Time.
“I didn’t realise until my mid-twenties that saying ‘bare with me’ was wrong and that it’s actually ‘bear with me’. I’d been propositioning people inappropriately for years! Loving this book as my new handy sidekick to avoid similar mistakes in future, and it’s got some brilliantly funny examples too!”
And Anne says:
“The definitions are silly and memorable and I will go back to this book just to remind myself of some of the differences – venomous/poisonous, marinade/marinate… but I’ll also go back to it for a giggle. Using sci fi, computer games, rappers… Ms Townsend entertains while making a point.”
JESTER of goodwill, anyone?!
9) It’s a fab gift
The Little Book of Confusables was awarded best stocking filler in the Christmas issue of WI Life magazine.
With a circulation of 200k, that’s a lot of stockings.
Nic H says:
“My 7 year old son and I read through this book together. We not only had a lot of fun but we learned some stuff i.e. became less confused about confusing words! This is a really nice stocking filler.”
And Eriketo says:
“Can’t recommend this book highly enough. Even if you don’t think you need it, you definitely do. And get one for all of your team/family/friends too while you’re at it.”
(Someone described it as ‘the perfect toilet book’. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or insulted – but apparently, that’s a good thing. If you’re into trivia and “I did NOT know that!” moments, you’ll love it.)
10) Your kids will pinch it
One dad says:
“This cracking little book by Sarah Townsend is MAGICAL for keeping in the car. Especially on drives and school runs with the kids. A super-accessible format! It’s like having a stash of word Haribos on hand to whip out whenever the kids are getting a bit bored.”
I’m not an academic or an English graduate. Instead, I’ve 30+ years’ experience of using real-world, human language to help businesses get noticed – so The Little Book of Confusables is always accessible.
Claire Handscomb says:
“I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It should be on every desk or bookshelf and on the essential reading list in every university. However good we think we are at writing, we all need a little help with some of the idiosyncrasies of the English language!”
And input from my 19-year-old son before he headed to uni (to study English and creative writing, appropriately) means The Little Book of Confusables is down with the kids.
Or whatever the kids are saying these days.
11) It’s gorgeous
Author of The Creative Nudge, Kevin Chesters describes The Little Book of Confusables as:
“The perfect mix of aesthetic and usability! I love it. You’ll keep returning again and again.”
Copywriter Catherine Every, says:
“What a brilliant little book that I suspect will spend more time on my desk than on my bookshelf! It’s a gorgeous thing too, with a distinctive size and a fabulous typeface, so it’s just lovely to browse through.”
I’ll leave the last word to William Morris:
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
The Little Book of Confusables is both. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
No more confusing words!
The Little Book of Confusables is jam-packed with simple, memorable, fun spelling tips for 600 commonly confused words – from ACCEPT + EXCEPT to YOUNG + YOUTHFUL.