Little Book of Confusables

Licence vs license: top spelling tricks to help you get it right

LICENCE vs LICENSE: simple tips to remember the difference

LICENCE and LICENSE are easy to confuse. The fact that both words sound the same trips people up time and time again.

Here are my simple tips to remember the difference between LICENCE and LICENSE*

LICENCE is a noun.

You need a licenCe to drive a Car.

Also, remember that a licenCE is printed on paper, like a CErtificate.

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Bonus tip

If you know the trick for PRACTICE vs PRACTISE – remembering that ICE is a noun – you can apply the same C vs S spelling rule here 👍🏼

You can apply this same bonus spelling tip to other similar pairs, such as ADVICE and ADVISE or DEVICE and DEVISE. Just remember, the suffix ICE means the word is a noun.

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LICENSE is a verb that means to give permiSSion.

Remember the S in licenSe and permiSSion.

*Important note – in the US, both the verb and the noun are spelled LICENSE.

Confusables: LICENCE vs LICENSE. Simple spelling tips to remember the difference, from UK copywriter, Sarah Townsend Editorial

Confusables: lLICENCE vs LICENSE. Simple spelling tips to remember the difference, from UK copywriter, Sarah Townsend Editorial

Lets vs let’s: simple tips to remember the difference

Do you know when the word LETS needs an apostrophe and when it doesn’t? Let’s take a look at the difference (see what I did there?).

When to use LETS without an apostrophe

LETS and LET’S both have the same root word: LET, which means allow, or permit.

Without the apostrophe, LETS is the third-person singular present tense form of the verb LET.

Use it in sentences where LETS can be replaced with either ALLOWS or PERMITS.

For example:

The key LETS you unlock the door.

The app LETS you meet new people.

When to use LET’S with an apostrophe

LET’S with an apostrophe is a contraction of two words: LET and US.

Use it when you’re encouraging someone to do something.

For example:

LET’S go to the pub.

LET’S buy a drink.

LET’S do it.

LET’S go!

Of course, if you want to sound more formal, you might prefer to use LET US.

LET US go to the park.

Worth knowing…

The word LETS can also be used in a property sense (real estate, if you’re using American English) to describe a rented property.

For example:

The agent handles a number of property LETS in the local area.

Let's vs lets – what's the difference?

LET’S vs LETS – what’s the difference?

Advise vs Advice: top tips to remember the difference

ADVISE vs ADVICE: do you know the difference?

ADVISE and ADVICE are easy to confuse. The fact that they look so similar trips people up time and time again.

Here are my simple tips to remember the difference between ADVISE and ADVICE.

ADVISE is a verb that means suggest, encourage or tell someone to do something.

“I ADVISE you to learn the difference between ADVISE and ADVICE.”

ADVICE is a noun.

The best way to remember this is that it ends with ICE, which is also a noun:

“That’s good ADVICE.”

Understanding the difference between the ISE and ICE endings can help you to remember the spellings of other similar word pairs.

Think DEVISE (verb) and DEVICE (noun), or PRACTISE (verb) and PRACTICE (noun).

(Note that the latter applies to the British English spelling only – US English has its own rules.)

Confusables adverse vs averse. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Confusables adverse vs averse. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Adverse vs averse: simple tips to remember the difference

ADVERSE vs AVERSE – simple tips to remember the difference

ADVERSE and AVERSE are easy to confuse. They may sound similar but they have different meanings… and I have a simple tip to remember the difference between them.

ADVERSE means harmful or unfavourable. It’s often used with the word ‘effects’ – particularly by newsreaders and journalists – like this: “the local area is feeling the adverse effects of the decision to close the factory,” or, “Adverse weather conditions over the weekend caused havoc in the town.”

The best way to remember the spelling of adverse is to think of the D in adverse and D for damage.

AVERSE means having a strong dislike for something. It’s often followed by the word ‘to’: for example, “I’m averse to bad weather” or used in a phrase like ‘risk-averse’.

ADVERSE and AVERSE are both fairly formal, slightly stuffy-sounding words, so you may be better off rewording your sentence altogether to avoid them.

Confusables adverse vs averse. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Confusables: adverse vs averse. Language and spelling tips from UK copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

 

Accept or except: do you know the difference?

ACCEPT vs EXCEPT – simple tips to remember the difference

ACCEPT and EXCEPT are easy to confuse.

They may sound the same but they have different meanings… and I have a simple tip to remember the difference between them.

ACCEPT means to acknowledge, or agree to receive.

To remember this, think of the AC of ACCEPT and ACKNOWLEDGE.

EXCEPT means apart from, or excluding.

Think of the EX of EXCEPT and EXCLUDING.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll stop making this common mistake in no time.

Confusables accept vs except. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

ACCEPT vs EXCEPT: which is which? Do you know the difference?