Used to and use to are related phrases that can have the same meaning but are used differently.
Used to is a verb that indicates a past habit, action, or state. It can also be used as an adjective meaning ‘accustomed to’.
Use to also indicates a past habit, action, or state, but it’s only used in combination with ‘did’, ‘did not’, or ‘didn’t’.
Examples: ‘Used to’ in a sentence
Examples: ‘Use to’ in a sentence
Sophie lives near the train tracks, so she’s
used to a lot of noise. Did you
use to be a musician?
used to be a library in the city, but it closed down. Zack didn’t
use to care about politics.
NoteThe confusion regarding used to and use to is partly due to the blended ‘d’ sound at the end of ‘used’ and the ‘t’ sound at the beginning of ‘to’, which means the two spellings are pronounced similarly. However, in formal and academic writing, it’s important to note the difference.
Use To or Used To | Difference & Example Sentences
Flier and flyer are nouns that can be used to refer to a person or thing that flies, or more specifically to a leaflet. While the words are often used interchangeably, there is a general trend:
Flier is commonly used to refer to someone or something that flies. It is also used in the expression ‘take a flier’.
Flyer is the more common spelling for an advertising leaflet.
Examples: ‘Flier’ in a sentence
Examples: ‘Flyer’ in a sentence
Jane has frequent
flier miles because she travels a lot for work. Luis found out about the fundraiser from a
flyer someone gave him.
Some birds, like the grey-headed albatross, are very strong
fliers. Instead of handing out
flyers, we created a post online and asked people to share it.
NoteThis article describes the general trend in how the two spellings are used, but different style guides give contradictory advice on this issue.
If you’re not bound by a specific style guide, use ‘flyer’ to refer to a leaflet and whichever spelling you prefer for other meanings, and no one is likely to object.
Flier vs Flyer | Difference & Example Sentences
Then and than are two commonly confused words with different meanings and grammatical roles.
Then (pronounced with a short ‘e’ sound) refers to time. It’s typically an adverb, but it’s also used as a noun meaning ‘that time’ and as an adjective referring to a previous status.
Than (pronounced with a short ‘a’ sound) is used to express comparison. Grammatically, it usually functions as a conjunction, but sometimes it’s a preposition.
Examples: ‘Then’ in a sentence
Examples: ‘Than’ in a sentence
Follow the road for another mile, and
then take the exit. Brie is a better golfer
I was working in a bookstore
then. I often like planning a holiday more
than I like the holiday itself.
Then or Than | Difference & Example Sentences
Payed and paid are pronounced similarly but have different meanings.
Payed is a rare word that’s only used in nautical/maritime contexts. It can be used to refer to the act of coating parts of a boat with waterproof material or to the act of letting out a rope or chain by slackening it.
Paid is the much more common word, used as the past tense of the verb ‘pay’ in all other senses.
Examples: ‘Payed’ in a sentence
Examples: ‘Paid’ in a sentence
payed the front of the boat with tar to seal the gaps. We
paid more for the meal than we had expected.
Liam untied the knot and
payed out the rope to Bill. Sophia gets
paid at the beginning of each month.
NotePeople sometimes mistakenly write payed because it seems like the more logical past tense spelling of ‘pay’, but paid is the correct choice in the vast majority of cases.
Payed or Paid | Difference & Example Sentences
Whose and who’s are pronounced the same but fulfill different grammatical roles.
Whose is the possessive form of the pronoun ‘who’.
Who’s is a contraction (shortened form) of ‘who is’ or ‘who has’.
Examples: ‘Whose’ in a sentence
Examples: ‘Who’s’ in a sentence
Whose book is this?
Who’s the man wearing a suit?
whose job was very demanding, needed a holiday.
Who’s eaten at this restaurant before?
Whose vs Who’s | Difference & Example Sentences
Capital and capitol are pronounced the same but have different meanings.
Capital is the more common word, with a wider range of meanings. It can be used as a noun to refer to financial assets, to a city serving as the official seat of government, or to an uppercase letter. It can also be used as an adjective to mean ‘vital’, ‘excellent’, or ‘punishable by death’.
Capitol is a noun that refers to the building in which the legislative government meets.
Examples: ‘Capital’ in a sentence
Examples: ‘Capitol’ in a sentence
Thanks to new investors, the business has a lot of
capital . The United States
Capitol is the meeting place of congress.
Springfield is the capital city of Illinois. The state
capitol of Utah is located on North State Street, in Salt Lake City.
Capital vs Capitol | Difference & Example Sentences
Principle and principal are pronounced the same but have different meanings.
Principal can be used as a noun to refer to a person in authority, the perpetrator of a crime, or the capital sum of a loan. It can also be used as an adjective to mean ‘most important’ or ‘primary’.
Principle is a noun used to refer to a scientific, moral, or legal rule or standard.
Examples: ‘Principal’ in a sentence
Examples: ‘Principle’ in a sentence
principal of the school is very strict when it comes to attendance. Chris refused to pay the extra shipping costs on
principal finding of the study is questionable. Isaac Newton uncovered the
principles of gravity and motion.
Principal vs Principle | Difference & Examples
Loose and lose are pronounced differently and typically have different grammatical roles.
Loose (double ‘o’; pronounced [loo-s]) is an adjective or adverb meaning ‘not secure’ or ‘not tight’. It can also be used as a verb to mean ‘release’.
Lose (one ‘o’; pronounced [loo-z]) is a verb that can be used to mean ‘misplace’ or ‘suffer a loss’.
Examples: ‘Loose’ in a sentence
Examples: ‘Lose’ in a sentence
I need to fix the door because the handle is
loose. Make sure you don’t
lose your house keys.
Myles likes his new jeans, even though they are a little
loose. If we
lose again, our team will be out of the league.
Loose or Lose | Difference & Example Sentences
Former and latter are both used (with ‘the’) to refer to previously mentioned items in a list of two or more things. This is done to save space and reduce repetition.
Former can be used to refer back to the first person or thing in a list. It can also be used to mean ‘previous’ or to refer to a past state.
Latter can be used to refer back to the last person or thing in a list. It can also be used to refer to a subsequent time or period.
Examples: ‘Former’ in a sentence
Examples: ‘Latter’ in a sentence
I was offered
soup or salad, and I chose . the former Norway and
Italy are both beautiful, but is much warmer. the latter
former president is running for election again. He faced many difficulties in the
latter half of his life.
NoteSome style guides argue that former and latter should only be used in lists containing two items, and this is certainly the most common way of using the words. However, it’s quite possible to use the words with longer lists, too.
If you do want to avoid this, you can use ‘first’ and “last” instead. And you’ll always have to use a different word to refer to one of the middle items in a list (e.g., ‘the third’).
Former vs Latter | Difference & Example Sentences
Compliment and complement are pronounced the same, but they have different meanings.
Compliment (with an ‘i’) can be used as a noun to refer to admiration or praise. As a verb, it refers to the act of praising.
Complement (with an ‘e’) can be used as a noun to refer to something that completes or enhances something else. As a verb, it refers to this act of completing or enhancing.
Examples: ‘Compliment’ in a sentence
Examples: ‘Complement’ in a sentence
Hannah received a
compliment on her new summer dress. The acidity of the wine
complements the flavor of the fish.
complimented Alex on his excellent gardening skills. The color of the painting is a nice
complement to the color of the furniture.
Compliment or Complement | Difference & Examples