The SAT will be testing your knowledge of one or two confusing word pairs during the test. Although it’s impossible to predict which confusing words will appear on your exam, you can ensure that you study all the confusing words that have previously showed up on the SAT exams. The good news is that they usually pull from the same group of commonly confused words.

1. Accept vs. Except

Accept (v.)

To receive something, deem something as suitable.

He accepted all the suggested changes.

Except (preposition)

Apart from.

She works every day except Wednesdays.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

The scientists conceded that the LED lights are more durable, but they refused to accept that LED technology was fundamentally superior to incandescent bulbs.

A. NO CHANGE
B. except

The story seemed valid and true accept for the part about him being a refugee.

A. NO CHANGE
B. except


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2. Access vs. Excess

The word “Access” can be used as a noun and as a verb. Let’s see how we can use the word “Access” as a noun first:

Access (n.)

The right to enter.

The system can give creators direct access to millions of potential backers.

Access (v.)

To be able to enter.

The data is stored in the cloud, so you can access it anywhere on any computer.

The word “Excess” can be used as a noun and an adjective. Let’s examine how the word “Excess” can be used as a noun:

Excess (n.)

Over the necessary amount, overindulgence.

After a dozen years of excess, the overextended American consumer is tapped out.

Excess (adj.)

Unnecessary.

The excess carbohydrates inevitably lead to overweight and obesity.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Students were able to access the research via the Internet.

A. NO CHANGE
B. excess

After the renovation was finished, citizens now had excess to trails in the park.

A. NO CHANGE
B. access

3. Affect vs. Effect

Affect (v.)

To influence or have an impact on someone or something.

The accumulation of knowledge affects your decision-making ability.

Effect (n.)

The result or a consequence of the impact.

Accumulation of knowledge had a good effect on his decision-making ability.

The best way to distinguish between affect and effect is to remember that one (affect) is a verb and the other (effect) is a noun.

Memory trick: Affect with A denotes Action.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

⬆️This example comes from the SAT 10

⬆️This example comes from the SAT 7

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4. Adhere vs. Adhesive

Adhere (v.)

Stick to something firmly (literally or figuratively).

Cleaning the surface first will ensure that the paint can adhere well.

They reminisce about how it was not always easy to adhere to the anti-gossip program.

Adhesive (adj.)

Able to stick.

This machine prints really small adhesive photos for you to stick on your Trapper Keeper.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Gutenberg developed an oil-based ink that would better adhesive to his metal type.

A. NO CHANGE
B. adhere

The first self-adhere labels were introduced by R. Stanton Avery in the 1930s.

A. NO CHANGE
B. adhesive

5. Adhere vs. Cohere

Adhere (v.)

Stick to something firmly (literally or figuratively).

Prior to the competition, the manager announced his failure to adhere the rules of the Olympiad

Cohere (v.)

Share a clear logical connection, work well together.

Sadly, trying to make collections cohere, some editors sacrifice vitality.

The author suggests that the main function of religion is to make society cohere.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

A nation - not defined by genetic features or religion - must adhere by the sheer force of ideas, or not at all.

A. NO CHANGE
B. cohere

Looking for something that would better cohere to the metal type, Johannes Gutenberg developed an oil-based ink.

A. NO CHANGE
B. adhere

⬆️This example comes from the PSAT 2016 Practice test 2.

6. Adverse vs. Averse

Adverse (adj.)

Negative, unpleasant.

Lacking in funding will have an adverse effect on the research project.

Averse (adj.)

Not wanting to do something.

She was averse to the idea of emigrating from Russia in the next ten years.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Patients in the treatment group were also less likely to endure from averse effects.

A. NO CHANGE
B. adverse

Some people may be adverse to using buses because they don't trust the drivers.

A. NO CHANGE
B. averse


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7. Advice vs. Advise

Advice (n.)

An uncountable noun that denotes suggestions.

My doctor’s advice is to utilize a standing desk.

Advise (v.)

Offer a suggestion.

My doctor advises utilizing a standing desk.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Uncles and aunts are more reluctant to blurt out advice to nephews and nieces than parents or grandparents.

A. NO CHANGE
B. advise

They advise employers not to give up too soon on their most experienced workers.

A. NO CHANGE
B. advice

8. Ascent vs. Accent

Ascent (n.)

Process of rising or going upward (Figuratively or literally).

The ascent up the mountain was long and treacherous.

Accent (n.)

A distinctive manner of expression such as an English or a German accent.

She affected a French accent to avoid being recognized.

Memory Trick: Since accent affects communication, it has 2 cc’s.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Since 2003, the stock has been on a rapid accent.

A. NO CHANGE
B. ascent

Her Irish ascent was so strong that I couldn’t understand whether she wanted water or food.

A. NO CHANGE
B. accent

9. Ascend vs. Assent

Ascend (v.)

To go up or climb.

The nurse ascended the stairs to get more cotton masks.

The word “Assent” can be used as a verb and as a noun.

Assent (n.)

Agreement or concurrence.

The CEO gave her assent to the proposed solutions.

Assent (v.)

As a verb, assent means to agree.

Nobody with minimal financial literacy would assent to the terms they proposed.

Memory Trick: Since the verb to assent means to agree - the letters ss in the middle have to be in agreement or the same.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

The French government gave cheerful assent to the creation of a national champion.

A. NO CHANGE
B. ascend

As her star has ascended, she seemed somehow less and less touched by real life.

A. NO CHANGE
B. assent

10. Afflict vs. Inflict

Afflict (v.)

Affect in an unpleasant way.

Concussions afflict players at every level, including high school and youth leagues.

The verb afflict is usually followed by the preposition with.

About 40% of the country's population is afflicted with the disease

Inflict (v.)

To make someone suffer negative consequences.

It was kind of a verbal grenade uttered to inflict maximum emotional damage.

IMPORTANT: Inflict is a transitive verb and it’s always used with an object: inflict pain, inflict damage, inflict punishment.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

In Germany alone, the resulting adverse effects afflict over 120,000 patients.

A. NO CHANGE
B. inflict

They are going to try to run through you, intimidate you and inflict pain on you.

A. NO CHANGE
B. afflict

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11. A lot vs Allot

A lot (two words)

A great deal of something.

She finished a lot of work.

Allot (v.)

To give or apportion something to someone as a share.

There is only so much time and energy a woman can allot to children or a career.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

I had a lot of homework to do.

A. NO CHANGE
B. allot

The new health care reforms should allot even more funds to this lifesaving work.

A. NO CHANGE
B. a lot

12. Allude vs Elude

Allude (v.)

Mention something indirectly.

In his letter, he alludes to the possibility of stewardship, but nothing is certain.

Elude (v.)

Evade or escape.

It seems so easy to see other people's blind spots while our own often elude us.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

For some reason, the easier shots seemed to allude Appel more than the tough ones.

A. NO CHANGE
B. elude

Without being unfathomable, his poetic mind games elude to multilayered meanings.

A. NO CHANGE
B. allude

13. Allusion vs Illusion

Allusion (n.)

Indirect hints or attempts to say something.

Her poetry is full of obscure literary allusion.

Illusion (n.)

False idea or belief.

Using credit cards gave me the illusion I had more to spend than I actually had.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

His reference was an illusion to his friend.

A. NO CHANGE
B. allusion

That breaks the illusion of almost-realism that keeps us coming back to stories.

A. NO CHANGE
B. allusion

14. Among vs Between

Among (preposition)

used when the items are part of a group, or are not specifically named (MUST be 3 or more)

The negotiations among the countries of the EU are going smoothly.

Between (preposition)

Between is used when naming distinct, individual items (can be 2, 3, or more)

The negotiations between Poland, Germany, and Latvia are going smoothly.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

It could help reduce costly competition between area cities for jobs and tax base.

A. NO CHANGE
B. among

Tensions among Ahmadinejad and Mottaki have been building up in recent months.

A. NO CHANGE
B. between

15. Anecdote vs Antidote

Anecdote (n.)

Short story.

He seemed cheerful while recounting such an amusing anecdote.

Antidote (n.)

Something that counteracts something.

They told us they hiked up twice a week, a good antidote to a day in the office.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Meditations seem like a perfect anecdote for modern living.

A. NO CHANGE
B. antidote

She shared a little antidote about throwing away a yogurt cup.

A. NO CHANGE
B. anecdote


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16. Anyone vs. Any one

Anyone (pronoun)

Anybody at all, anybody.

Has anyone seen Brad?

Any one (two separate words)

An adjective phrase that refers to any single member of a group (of either people or things).

IMPORTANT: Any one is commonly followed by the preposition of.

If any one of your friends is single, please tell them that Brad is looking for a wife.

TRICK: When in doubt, remember that a pronoun anyone can be replaced with another pronoun: anybody or anything. If the replacement doesn’t sound right, you must be looking at an adjective phrase - any one.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Any one working with any type of dangerous animal knows the risk they are taking.

A. NO CHANGE
B. Anyone

It is rather absurd to imagine anyone of these changes occurring any time soon.

A. NO CHANGE
B. any one

17. Appraise vs Apprise

Appraise (v.)

Assess the value of something.

His eyes appraised the young woman before him.

Apprise (v.)

Inform.

They will be willing to apprise their new chief executive officer of some hard realities.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

These days, houses sometimes apprise for less than their selling price.

A. NO CHANGE
B. appraise

Their attorneys will apprise them of their next court date.

A. NO CHANGE
B. appraise

18. Assure vs. Insure vs. Ensure

Assure (v.)

To inform positively.

We assure you that we can do it.

Ensure (v.)

Make certain.

This new legislation would ensure that the city is rewarded for its business.

Insure (v.)

Protect financially.

We recommend insuring against terminal sickness or injury at work.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Unions can assure that employees have the protections and benefits they deserve.

A. NO CHANGE
B. insure
C. ensure

How do I prepare them for the winter and assure that they return next spring?

A. NO CHANGE
B. ensure
C. insure

I work hard to insure that there are no unnecessary delays in cases being heard.

A. NO CHANGE
B. ensure
C. assure

19. Censor vs. Censure

Censor (v.)

Remove offensive or inappropriate parts.

The government is known to censor reporting when an issue becomes too sensitive.

Censure (v.)

Express severe disapproval, punish.

After it was discovered that the scientists compromised the sample intentionally, he was censured by his colleagues.

Censor and censure can also be used as nouns. As a noun, censor means a person who does the censoring, while censure as a noun means punishment.

It is a show that keeps being renewed and receives no censor or censure.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

The US censor said it was unlikely there would be confusion among cinema-goers.

A. NO CHANGE
B. censure

A censor is simply an indication on the public record of inappropriate behavior.

A. NO CHANGE
B. censure

20. Cite vs. Site

Cite (v.)

To quote evidence to support an argument.

Students often cite the Supreme Court Case Decisions to support their arguments.

Site (n.)

Location (virtual or physical).

We logged onto the website of that construction site.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

⬆️⬆️⬆️This example comes from the SAT 4.

⬆️⬆️⬆️This example comes from the 2019 May US SAT QAS.

If you prefer to learn from the video, here is the link ⬇️⬇️⬇️


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21. Climatic vs. Climactic

Climactic (adj.)

Related to a climax, the high point or most exciting part of something.

The film's climactic sequence, while predictable, is unintentionally unsettling.

Climatic (adj.)

Related to the climate.

He became aware at an early stage of the climatic challenges the world is facing.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

A climatic scene between Rocky and Rusty in a fun house, though, is a disaster.

A. NO CHANGE
B. climactic

There are large climactic differences from southwest to northeast in this region.

A. NO CHANGE
B. climatic

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22. Collaborate vs. Corroborate

Collaborate (v.)

Work with, work together.

Telecommunication made it much easier to collaborate on projects with multinational teams.

Corroborate (v.)

Confirm, make certain.

The surveillance cameras were able to corroborate the plaintiff's defense.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

The program instructs teachers how to collaborate with one another.

A. NO CHANGE
B. corroborate

They added that more studies should be conducted to collaborate these results.

A. NO CHANGE
B. corroborate

If you prefer to learn from the video, here is the link ⬇️⬇️⬇️


23. Compliment vs. Complement

Compliment (v.)

To tell somebody that you either like or admire something about them.

She complimented him on his excellent French.

Complement (v.)

To add to something in order to make it better.

The good menu was complemented with a great wine list.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

That's probably the best complement you would want in your captain and your leaders.

A. NO CHANGE
B. compliment

The sculptures complement and benefit the garden by increasing its biodiversity.

A. NO CHANGE
B. compliment

If you prefer to learn from the video, here is the link ⬇️⬇️⬇️


24. Concede vs. Confess

Concede (v.)

Unwillingly agree, acknowledge the validity.

To strengthen your thesis, you can attempt to concede some points of the critic.

She reluctantly conceded that there would be complications down the road.

Confess (v.)

To acknowledge doing something.

I have to confess to being a little reluctant to drive my car to our first date.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

Sometimes I feel like a priest, hearing these men confess to loving their children more than themselves.

A. NO CHANGE
B. concede

Having spent a few weeks playing with the new X-box, I have to concede that it is a powerful machine.

A. NO CHANGE
B. confess

If you prefer to learn from the video, here is the link ⬇️⬇️⬇️

25. Deceased vs. Diseased

Deceased (adj.)

Dead, no longer living.

Many widows and widowers have pictures of their deceased spouses in their homes.

Diseased (adj.)

Affected by a disease.

The diseased cattle was quarantined to prevent an outbreak.

Test your understanding: [ Scroll to the bottom for Answers ]

His father is deceased, and his mother raises him alone working as a hairdresser.

A. NO CHANGE
B. diseased

Deceased plants can not recover quickly.

A. NO CHANGE
B. diseased

If you prefer to learn from the video, here is the link ⬇️⬇️⬇️


Check OUT our Vocabulary Crash Course


You can locate additional confusing SAT Words Pairs here: Confusing SAT Word Pairs 26-51 [ Part 2 ], Confusing SAT Word Pairs 52-75 + BONUS [ Part 3 ].


ANSWERS:

1. A, B

The scientists conceded that the LED lights are more durable, but they refused to accept that LED technology was fundamentally superior to incandescent bulbs.

The story seemed valid and true except for the part about him being a refugee.

2. A, B

Students were able to access the research via the Internet.

After the renovation was finished, citizens now have access to trails in the park.

3. B, A

Some studies have also found that students who do community service are more likely to volunteer as adults, and thus affect society positively over the course of many years.

In truth, the agency has a widespread positive effect on society by serving as a catalyst for innovation and scientific understanding.

4. B, B

Gutenberg developed an oil-based ink that would better adhere to his metal type.

The first self-adhesive labels were introduced by R. Stanton Avery in the 1930s.

5. B, B, C

A nation - not defined by genetic features or religion - must cohere by the sheer force of ideas, or not at all.

Looking for something that would better adhere to the metal type, Johannes Gutenberg developed an oil-based ink.

He shocked Henderson by refusing to adhere to the score as written and playing notes at whatever volume he wanted.

6. B, B

Patients in the treatment group were also less likely to endure adverse effects.

Some people may be averse to using buses because they don't trust the drivers.

7. A, A

Uncles and aunts are more reluctant to blurt out advice to nephews and nieces than parents and grandparents.

They advise employers not to give up too soon on their most experienced workers.

8. B, B

Since 2003, the stock has been on a rapid ascent.

I couldn't understand a word the traveller said, her Irish accent was so strong.

9. A, A

The French government gave cheerful assent to the creation of a national champion.

As her star has ascended, she seemed somehow less and less touched by real life

10. A, A

In Germany alone, the resulting adverse effects afflict over 120,000 MS-patients.

They are going to try to run through you, intimidate you and inflict pain on you.

11. A, A

I had a lot of homework to do

The new health care reforms should allot even more funds to this lifesaving work.

12. B, B

For some reason, the easier shots seemed to elude Appel more than the tough ones.

Without being unfathomable, his poetic mind games allude to multilayered meanings.

13. B, A

His reference was an allusion to his friend.

That breaks the illusion of almost-realism that keeps us coming back to stories.

14. B, B
It could help reduce costly competition among area cities for jobs and tax base.

Tensions between Ahmadinejad and Mottaki have been building up in recent months.

15. B, B

Meditations seem like a perfect antidote for modern living.

She gave a little anecdote about throwing away a yogurt cup.

16. B, B

Any one working with any type of dangerous animal knows the risk they are taking.

It is rather absurd to imagine anyone of these changes occurring any time soon.

17. B, A

These days, houses sometimes appraise for less than their selling price.

Their attorneys will apprise them of their next court date.

18. A, B, B

Unions can assure that employees have the protections and benefits they deserve.

How do I prepare them for the winter and insure that they return next spring?

I work hard to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in cases being

19. A, B

The US censor said it was unlikely there would be confusion among cinema-goers.

A censure is simply an indication on the public record of inappropriate behavior.

20. B, A

Brice Russ of Ohio State University, for example has employed software to sort through postings on one social media site in search of particular words and phrases.

Finally, a range of volcanoes in westrern india called the Deccan Traps is thought to have been the site of several huge eruptions near the end of the Cretaceous period.

21. B, B

A climactic scene between Rocky and Rusty in a fun house, though, is a disaster.

There are large climatic differences from southwest to northeast in this region.

22. A, B

The program instructs teachers how to collaborate with one another.

They added that more studies should be conducted to corroborate these results.

23. B, A

That's probably the best compliment you would want in your captain and your leaders.

The sculptures complement and benefit the garden by increasing its biodiversity.

24. A, A

Sometimes I feel like a priest, hearing these men confess to loving their children more than themselves.

Having spent a few weeks playing with the new X-box, I have to concede that it is a powerful machine.

25. A, B

His father is deceased, and his mother raises him alone working as a hairdresser.

Diseased plants can not recover.


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