Misused Words That Begin with the Letter A

Misused Words That
Begin with the Letter A

A vs. An
A while vs. Awhile
A lot vs. Alot vs. Allot

A lot means “many.”

Alot is an incorrect spelling, though it may become standard in the future.

Correct: She has a lot of dogs.
Incorrect: She has alot of dogs.

Allot means “to distribute something.”

We will allot the food depending on who harvests the most.  

Accept vs. Except

Accept means “to agree with” or “to receive.”

We accept all credit cards.

Except means “not including.”

Everyone stood for the American flag except Bill.

Access vs. Excess
Acute vs. Chronic

Acute means an illness that is near its worse point.

Raven has acute pneumonia.

Chronic means an illness which someone has for a long time or else has off and on for a long time.

Beverly has chronic pneumonia.

Adverse vs. Averse
Advice vs. Advise
Affect vs. Effect

Affect is (usually) a verb. They affect.

The hurricane will affect shipping.

Effect is (usually) a noun.  The effect.

The immediate effect of the hurricane will be loss of electricity.

To remember the difference: If something affects you, it has an effect on you.


Affect can be a noun that refers to a part of personality.  It is pronounced af-fect.

Effect can be a verb that means “to cause something to be.”

The Internet has effected social change. 

Aisle vs. Isle

An aisle is a corridor, such as in a grocery store or a church.

A customer on Aisle 3 needs assistance.

An isle is another spelling for “island.”

We spent a month on an isle in the Caribbean.

All right alright
Allusion vs. Illusion

An allusion refers to someone referring to something else, such as a story or poem.

In the love scene, the novelist included an allusion to Romeo and Juliet.

An illusion is like a ghost or magic trick.

The magician made the illusion seem like a violation of physics.

Alumni vs. Alumnus
Amiable vs. Amicable
Among vs. Between
Anecdote vs. Antidote
Appraise vs. Apprise

To appraise means to assess the value of something.

The sellers needed to get their house appraised.

To apprise means to teach or inform.

The general apprised the other officers of the upcoming mission.

Are vs. Our

Are is a verb, the plural of is.

We are going to the movies.

Our is a determiner that means “belonging to us.”

It was our idea to raise shrimp in the backyard pond.

Articulate vs. Enunciate
Ascent vs. Assent

Ascend means to go up such as on a ladder or in a balloon. Ascent is its noun.

The ascent in the balloon went well – at first.

Assent means to agree with.

The committee has assented to the proposal.

Assure vs. Ensure vs. Insure

Assure means to give someone confidence.

I can assure you, the matter will be taken care of by morning.  

Ensure means to be certain of something.

The new locks will ensure that no one can break into the house.

Insure means to have or purchase insurance.

I need to insure my new car.


In British English, assure can be used instead of insure.

Attain vs. Obtain
Ax vs. Axe
Individual or Small Group Activity






Individual or Small Group Activity

Complete the exercises:    Hawaii

Optional Activity