Commonly Confused Words

Commonly Confused Words

In English there are many occasions when words can be confused with similarly spelt or sounding words, as well as words with a similar meaning. This can be due to the fact that they are similar to a word in the non-native speaker’s language, have a different form than common words which can be confusing, or simply have a meaning which is specific and often confused.
Let’s take a look at some examples:

Work vs Job


The word work can be used as a noun and also a verb. When it is used as a noun it is uncountable, which means that it does not exist in the plural form. It is used to describe general activity. Let’s look at some examples of how we use the word work:

be at work – To be present at work. “I’m at work right now, so I can’t speak to you.”
go to work – To travel to work. I go to work by train.
get to work – To arrive at your place of work. “I get to work at 9am every morning.”
get off work – To finish your working day. “I am getting off work at 6pm today, let’s meet up.”

Expressions with the word work:

A good day’s work – Writing several pages of material was a good day’s work for him.
Keep up the good work – The staff were praised for keeping up the good work over the Christmas period.
Make light work of something – This is when something is easily done. e.g. The builders made light work of moving all the debris from the disaster area.
A backlog of work – Work that is incomplete and requires action. e.g. “Steve, there is a massive backlog of work to be processed. Can you get on it as soon as possible?”

Phrasal verbs with Work

Work around/round – 1.To arrive at a particular point in a work activity. e.g. I was working round to getting that done when you came in.
2. To avoid or elude a particular work issue. e.g. We had to work around the fact that many businesses were closed in August.
Work away – Continue to work hard. e.g. When I got home, I saw him still working away on the computer.
Work something in(to) – To introduce something into a talk, a presentation, or a speech for example. e.g. He was able to work in a few funny anecdotes during his speech on Time Management.
Work something off – To get rid of, or to remove (physically or emotionally) something which is affecting you in a stressful or physical way. e.g. He generally works off a hard day at the office by going for a long jog around the park.
Work on somebody – To convince someone to do something. e.g. My boss has been working on me to do the Torino project. I’m not so keen on it as it involves a lot of work.
Work out – 1.To result to or amount to something. e.g. The bill worked out to be €3,687.98. I’ve added up these figures three times and each time they’ve worked out at a different amount. I need a coffee break. 2. To happen, to progress, or to turn out. e.g. We had a few problems with the installation, but in the end everything worked out well. “How are things working out with the new job?” 3. To do physical exercise. He often works out for about an hour before he gets into the office. I don’t know how he manages it.


A job is the work or physical effort that someone does in return for money or an exchange of material items or services. e.g. I am able to get a job once I reach the age of sixteen.
A particular task. “Richard, can you do the job of picking up the new business cards from the printers this afternoon?”
A particular duty or function of a person. e.g. Your main job will be to provide information on free courses we offer to the unemployed. A football coach has the job of making sure the team play well together and win matches.
We say that something is difficult when we have a job doing it. e.g. I had a job getting here because of the train strike.

Expressions with Job

A day job – a job or a position which requires you to work in the daytime.
Eye job – cosmetic surgery to improve the aesthetic appearance of the area around the eyes.
To job-hop – to change jobs frequently.
A job lot – often in auctions, a number of cheap objects sold together.
good job – Often used alone, or in an expression to compliment someone on their work effort.
job hunt – To search for employment.
job share – when two people share or do the same job position, often when there are two shifts involved.
nose job – cosmetic surgery to improve the aesthetic look of someone’s nose.
rush job – Work done quickly and often with a lower level of quality.
inside job – A crime committed on a company or organisation with the assistance of an employee working on the premises.
job security – A form of security from the company that you have achieved from your performance, enabling you to feel your position is safe and with minimal risk of losing your job, becoming unemployed.
a dead-end job is a job with no promotional prospects. This means that it is unlikely the employee will advance in the company or receive a pay rise.


Customer vs Client

Customer – Someone who gives you money in return for a physical (or digital) product or service.

e.g. “There is an increase in sales from our physical customers who are buying online these days.” 

Client – A person who receives professional services from a company or organisation, generally when the relationship is on a longer term than just one transaction. For example, an accountant would have clients, though a supermarket would have customers. Although some supermarkets in the U.K. also offer various services such as loans, travel insurance, and financial products. 

Meeting vs Reunion

Meetings are situations where people “meet” or congregate. They come to a mutual meeting place and often discuss a specific topic or issue.

E.g. There is a shareholder’s meeting next week to vote on a number of issues regarding the recent acquisition of the new company.

Reunions relate to an event which takes place when two or more people haven’t seen each other for a long time, thus choosing an occasion to meet again. This could be a school reunion, a family reunion, or a society reunion. E.g. There was a reunion of all the players in the ladies hockey team last month at the local Women’s Institute Hall in Glodsbury. It was a wonderful turn-out and they had all brought cakes and old team photos to the event.

This page is a “work in progress.” Meaning that more words will be added to the page in time. So check back regularly.

Thanks for stopping by.

Teacher Dominic

© Dominic Christopher Elliston and 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dominic Christopher Elliston and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.