The Little Book of Confusables

The Little Book of Confusables Book Cover

Your invaluable, fun guide to the spellings even smart people screw up

GOLD winner in the 2023 eLit book awards!

We all have language blindspots. What’s yours? PRACTICE/PRACTISEAFFECT/EFFECTLOOSE/LOSE?

Using the wrong word can completely change your message – and lead to embarrassing mistakes!

  • BALD men aren’t always BOLD.
  • DISEASED may be bad, but DECEASED is a whole lot worse.
  • Dramatic CORDS require the fashion police.
  • And heaven forbid you ask someone to ‘BARE with me’ – unless you’re a fan of getting naked with strangers.

Loved by language professionals, this brilliant bestseller will help you write with confidence and avoid embarrassing mistakes

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With 300+ beautifully designed pages in a chunky, flickable format, every home, office, school and college should have one!

Just wonderful! What a clever, useful, nifty book!

Tom Read Wilson, TV Presenter and Author

The Little Book of Confusables is jam-packed with simple, memorable and fun spelling tips and usage examples for almost 600 commonly confused words. It exists to help you:

  • supercharge your vocabulary
  • save time
  • write with confidence
  • avoid embarrassing mistakes


The Little Book of Confusables contains

  • the difference between LESS + FEWER and NUMBER + AMOUNT
  • handy hints to avoid mistakes like DOGGY DOG WORLD, WHITE AS A SHEEP and OUTER-BODY EXPERIENCE
  • the difference between HOMOPHONES, HOMONYMS and HOMOGRAPHS
  • … all in a gorgeous, flickable, fits-in-your-bag format

What are confusables?

Confusables fall into a number of categories:

  • Homophones: words that sound the same but have different meanings.
  • Homographs: words that are spelled the same but have different meanings.
  • Homonyms: which can be homographs, homophones or both.
  • Malapropisms: which occur when a similar-sounding wrong word is used instead of the right word, with nonsensical and often funny results.
  • Eggcorns: which occur when a word (or phrase) with a similar meaning is misheard or misunderstood.

Then there are the randoms. Those word pairs that defy categorisation but are still confusables. Words like IMPLY + INFER, INDOLENT + INSOLENT and LIBEL + SLANDER.

If it’s lying in wait to trip you up, The Little Book of Confusables has got you covered. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it!

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About the Author

Sarah Townsend 2021 profile pic

I’ve been a copywriter and editor for almost 30 years, helping businesses use words to get results from their marketing. I also wrote the bestselling guide to self-employment, Survival Skills for Freelancers.

As a lifelong language lover, I’ve worked with words for most of my career. I also have an obsessive brain that finds language fascinating, and often amusing.

While The Little Book of Confusables is a book about language, it’s neither a textbook nor a dictionary – and I’m not a grammarian. This is a book to inform and entertain. A book that’ll stop you tripping up and looking daft. A book you’ll want to keep close at all times.

Buy a copy for yourself and one for your friends while you’re at it. They’ll thank you for it.

What people are saying...

  • I thought I knew it all when it comes to tricky words. This book proved me wrong!

    Kim Arnold, Communications Expert and Author
  • Brilliant! The perfect companion for anyone who ever has to write anything!

    Louisa Chudley, Founder, Spark Social
  • This book is amazing – no matter how many years you’ve been writing and no matter how much of a grammar nerd you are. The Little Book of Confusables will be one of those books you keep next to your computer at all times.

    Anna Gunning, Director, Gunning Marketing
  • The Little Book of Confusables is a delight. So well written and so useful for anyone who ever has to write. The perfect mix of aesthetic and usability! You’ll keep returning again and again. Top stuff.

    Kevin Chesters, Author, The Creative Nudge
  • I’ve recommended Sarah’s #confusables tips to delegates for years. To have them in one place – in such a gorgeously visual format – is just brilliant!

    Emma Ewing, Director, Big Fish Training
  • I’ve been working with words for 20+ years and I still get plenty of these mixed up. With this great little book on my desk, everything is clear!

    Tom Albrighton, Author, How to Write Clearly
  • Incredibly useful for anyone who reads, writes or speaks. I love the fact that Sarah has produced an intensely nerdy book about language that’s both a delight to read and a beauty to behold.
    Leif Kendall, Director, ProCopywriters and CopyCon
  • My team have benefited from Sarah’s #confusables posts for years. We write a lot of strategic documents and need to get things right. There’s always that moment of ‘is it effect or affect’, ‘principal or principle’? This book is essential!

    Louise King, Senior Planning Officer, Gloucestershire Constabulary


Your invaluable, fun guide to the tricksy spellings even smart people screw up is now available on Amazon worldwide in paperback and Kindle. Or you can buy a signed copy direct if you prefer.

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