The Little Book of Confusables

The Little Book of Confusables Book Cover

How often do you question yourself when you write PRACTICE or PRACTISE, AFFECT or EFFECT, LICENCE or LICENSE?

The English language is full of words that sound the same, or similar, but have different meanings – and using the wrong word can completely change your message.

  • 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.


Wouldn’t you love a handy guide to those tricksy spellings that trip you up and make you look bad? I’ve got your back.

I’ve been sharing #confusables on social media since 2016. Some of them have become blogs on my website. Others have made it into my ever-growing collection of commonly confused words.

It’s time for me to share them with you.

The Little Book of Confusables shares simple, memorable spelling tips and examples for hundreds of commonly confused words.

Always informative and entertaining, sometimes funny and daft, these beautifully presented tips will put an end to spelling slip-ups.


The Little Book of Confusables contains:

  • handy reminders for more than 500 of the words you find most confusing
  • the difference between LESS + FEWER and NUMBER + AMOUNT
  • the difference between HOMOPHONES, HOMONYMS and HOMOGRAPHS
  • … all in a gorgeous, flickable, fits-in-your-bag format

Supercharge your vocabulary and avoid embarrassing mistakes!

What is a confusable?

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 oddities. The randoms. The miscellaneous. Those word pairs that defy categorisation but are still confusables. Words like IMPLY + INFER, INDOLENT + INSOLENT and INCINERATE + INSINUATE.

If it’s lying in wait to trip you up, I’ve got you covered.

About the Author

Sarah Townsend 2021 profile pic

I’ve been a copywriter and editor for more than 25 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 amuse, entertain and inform. A book you’ll want to keep close at all times. And a book that’ll stop you tripping up and looking daft.

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...

  • It’s like a dictionary, but far more fun! Confused? Not anymore.

    Vikki Ross, Copy Chief
  • Everyone needs The Little Book of Confusables!

    Cat Roberts-Young, Copywriter, Cat Copy Creative
  • “I’ve been working with words for 20+ years and I still get plenty of these mixed up. Now, with this great little book on my desk, everything is clear!”
    Tom Albrighton, Author, Copywriting Made Simple
  • 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
  • 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 going to be essential!

    Louise King, Senior Planning Officer, Gloucestershire Constabulary
  • “Aside from the horror of realising how very confused I’ve been for almost all my writing life, I have at last found something that will de-fuddle my brain. Bravo, yet again, Sarah for making something so very useful (and fun).”
    Andrew Boulton, Creative Advertising and Copywriting Lecturer
  • We all have them. Those little words that make you stop in your tracks and think. Which is fine, until the flow of your words is affected… or is it effected?

    The effect of Sarah’s new book is that you’ll be able to find out – and fast. Which will affect the quality of your writing – and improve your confidence too.

    Katherine Wildman, Director, Haydn Grey Copywriting Agency
  • It’s as if Sarah took my entire Google search history (err, the safe parts) and not only wrote down all the answers but clever ways of remembering those answers, too. Giving me even more time to Google the other stuff.

    Giles Edwards, Founder, Gasp! and ISOLATED Talks


The Little Book of Confusables will be available on Amazon in paperback format from 18 August 2022. Register your details below for updates.


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