Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Can anyone point me to a (more or less) complete list of English paronyms (affect/effect, farther/further, alternately/alternatively, interested/interesting, corrupted/corrupt, adopt/adapt, continuous/contiguous...)?

Wikipedia has a list for everything, but not for paronyms. Google is not exceptionally helpful, either. After trying out half a dozen different search strings, I have learned quite a lot about French, German, and even Russian paronyms, but close to nothing about English ones.

Any pointers?

share|improve this question
Could you please try to explain your motivation for creating this list? I've brought this topic up on the meta site: meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/312/… and also created a tag to deal with this kind of question. –  delete Sep 15 '10 at 1:58
Could you please tell us what a paronym is? :) –  Billy ONeal Sep 16 '10 at 21:41
@Billy ONeal: there are a few examples in my question, plus a link to the Wikipedia definition. (The Merriam-Webster definition would have been way too cryptic, and the Wiktionary one way too broad.) –  RegDwigнt Sep 16 '10 at 21:57

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

After some more searching, I found this Index of Commonly Confused Words over at About.com. It's not perfect, but it's a good start.

Also, as has been mentioned on meta, there are at least two books on the subject: "Who's Whose: A No-Nonsense Guide to Easily Confused Words" by Philip Gooden and "NTC's Super-Mini Dictionary of Easily Confused Words" by Deborah K. Williams. I am not in a position to recommend or dismiss either, but I am listing them for the sake of completeness.

Lastly, as has been pointed out in the other answer, one day we will probably have our very own comprehensive list of questions tagged "look-alikes" or "paronyms".

Edit: yet another great resource (courtesy of VonC) is the online book "Common Errors in English Usage".

share|improve this answer

You can find a partial list by looking under the "look-alike" tag on this site:


As the site grows, the list may become more complete.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.