apologize / sorry

Both of these words express regret for some problem or something you did wrong. I’m sorry is less formal, and “I apologize” is more formal. There are a few different ways to continue the sentence. You can say: I’m sorry (that) I yelled at you. I’m sorry for yelling at you. I apologize for yelling…

definitely / definitively

Definite (adjective) or definitely (adverb) means certain, without a single doubt: We have definite plans to move to New York. (it is 100% certain that we will move there) I’m definitely going to the party. (it is 100% certain that I am going) This $50 jacket is definitely overpriced. I saw the exact same jacket…

either / neither

Either… or is used for ONE thing, but NOT the other. You can choose one flavor of ice cream – either chocolate or vanilla. We can either go shopping or see a movie, but we won’t have time to do both. Neither… nor is used for NOT TWO THINGS. You can also say Neither of…

hijack / kidnap

You hijack a vehicle – such as a car, train, or airplane – taking control of it by using force. You kidnap a person – take and hold the person against their will, often demanding money to release them.

which / that

To understand when to use which and that, we first need to understand the idea of defining and non-defining relative clauses. Non-defining relative clauses add EXTRA information to the sentence. Defining relative clauses add ESSENTIAL information to the sentence. Here’s an example. Let’s imagine that it’s Friday, and I say: The bananas that I bought…

despite / in spite of

These expressions are the same – just remember not to say “despite of”! We won the game despite having two fewer players. We won the game in spite of having two fewer players. After despite and in spite of, we use a noun or a gerund (-ING form of the verb). Do not use the…

famous / infamous

The word famous means a lot of people know about a person or thing: She’s a famous singer who has sold millions of albums. This restaurant is famous for its steak. People come from miles away to eat it. The word infamous means someone or something is well-known because they are connected to bad behavior…

may / might

The difference between may and might is very small: Use may when the event is slightly more likely to happen: “What are you doing this weekend?” “Shopping! I’m going to buy some new clothes, and I may get a new hat as well.” (it’s slightly more probable that I will buy the hat) “What are…

think about / think of

The two most common prepositions used after the verb “think” are “about” and “of.” They are very similar, but there is a small difference. Usually when you think of something, it is a brief moment – just a few seconds. It is also used for opinions. When you think about something, you are considering it…

among / between

It is often taught that “between” is used for 2 items and “among” for 3 or more – but this is not completely accurate. The more accurate difference is this: Between is used when naming distinct, individual items (can be 2, 3, or more) Among is used when the items are part of a group,…

regard / regards / regardless

Regard (v.) is to consider or to have an opinion about something: Picasso is regarded as one of the greatest artists in history. I don’t regard this as a problem; I regard it as an opportunity. Regards (n.) is a greeting: Please give my regards to your parents when you see them. Some people end…

who / whom

Who is the SUBJECT. The subject performs the action: Who ate the last piece of pizza? who = subject ate = verb The students who failed the test will need extra help. the students / who = subject failed = verb Whom is the OBJECT. The object receives the action: Bob gave the money to…

If I was… / If I were…

Which is correct? If I were you, I’d apologize. If I was you, I’d apologize. The first one is correct – If I were you – because this is a hypothetical (imaginary) situation. It is not possible for me to be you, but I am imagining that this is the case. Here are more examples…

moral / morale

As a noun, a moral is the lesson learned from a story – often used in the expression “the moral of the story.” The plural form, morals, has a different meaning. It refers to a person’s standards of determining right and wrong behavior: The doctor refused to perform an abortion because it was against her…

all / whole / every

Use every with SINGULAR, countable nouns: I exercise every day. Every student in the class has a computer. Every necklace in this store costs more than $1,000. Use all with PLURAL nouns OR with uncountable nouns to mean 100% of many things: All of the students in the class have computers. All of the necklaces…

inhabit / live / reside

Live is the most common word: My family lives in a big house. They live on the East Coast. I’ve lived in Canada my whole life. We’ve been living here for five years. Reside is a more formal word for live. It usually implies that you live in a place permanently or for a long…

amoral / immoral

The word immoral means something is against established moral principles: Many religions consider lying and cheating to be immoral. The word amoral means something is completely free from moral considerations -it is neither moral nor immoral. Money itself is amoral – it is simply a tool that can be used for good or for evil.

empathy / sympathy

Empathy refers to the ability to deeply understand and share someone else’s feelings or situation. The verb form is empathize. For example, if you were bullied or made fun of as a child, you have empathy with kids who are currently being bullied. If you started your own company and you know how challenging it…