Confusing Words, Vocabulary Quiz, What's the Difference?

End the Confusion (5): Raise vs. Rise

Raise vs. Rise

The verb ‘raise‘ (raised/raised), is transitive so this means that it requires a direct object.

ūüĒł  She raised her hand.

ūüĒł  They have raised their prices again.

ūüĒł  I intend to raise the issue with the manager.

The verb ‘rise‘ (rose/risen), on the other hand, is intransitive. This means there is no object (person, thing, pronoun, etc) receiving the action.

ūüĒł  The temperature is rising.

ūüĒł  The sun rose at 5 am.

ūüĒł  Thanks to their win this weekend, Arsenal have risen to the top of the league.


Add the correct form of ‘rise’ or ‘raise’. Scroll down for the answers. 

  1. The bread didn’t _____ because I forgot to add the yeast.
  2. The landlord can’t _____ the rent. You only moved in a short time ago.
  3. So let’s _____ our glasses and drink a toast to the happy couple!
  4. The helicopter _____ into the air and headed towards the nearby island.
  5. It was only three degrees when we got up, but by the afternoon the temperature had _____ to twenty degrees.
  6. Raquel is doing a wonderful job of _____ her kids.


1. rise
2. raise
3. raise
4. rose
5. risen
6. raising

Confusing Words, What's the Difference?

End the Confusion #4: Look, See, or Watch?

Learners often mix up these three concepts. Understanding the difference and using them correctly is a little tricky. Let’s see if I can clarify them for you….

It’s hard to see the players from here!

Look / Look at

When we look at somebody or something there is a specific intention, a reason. We turn our eyes in a particular direction and focus on somebody or something.

Can you look at the timetable and tell me the time of the next bus?

Emily was so angry with her brother that she couldn’t look at him.

Take note! ūüďĚ When there’s no object we just use look.

Look! Isn’t that your sister over there?


See means that we notice or become aware of something or somebody, that the image of them comes to our eyes. There’s usually no specific effort involved*. See is often used to refer to the ability to use the sense of sight and it can also express the idea of something being visible. ‘Can’ and ‘could’ are often used with see

Are you looking for your phone? I saw it on the sofa.

As we were coming out of the hotel we suddenly saw Elton John!

Bob doesn’t like driving at night as he can’t see very well.

Have you seen Monica’s new dog? He’s so cute!

I looked in the cupboard but I couldn’t see any tea.

Lucky them! They can see the sea from their house.

*However, in the case of entertainment see is similar to ‘watch‘. But we’ll move on to that in a moment.

It might be useful to point out that we also typically expand the idea of ‘see’ to mean things like ‘meet’ or ‘visit’ or ‘date’. Used in this way see becomes an action verb and so can be used in the continuous form.

I’m seeing Tom for dinner tonight.

Perhaps you should see the doctor about your knee.

Is George seeing anybody at the moment? (= Is he dating…?)


If we watch somebody or something we look at them carefully, we observe them for a period of time. We watch things that move or change or that may be about to move or change. We want to see what’s going to happen next. We watch TV because there are moving images. So we can’t watch photos or paintings, instead we see or look at them.

Do you want to play football with us? – No thanks, I’ll just watch.

If you’re not watching anything, please turn the TV off.

We watched the children as they played in the pool.

Investors are going to be watching the stock market closely tomorrow.

See vs Watch

When it comes to entertainment, that is, films, sporting events, concerts, etc, see and watch can sometimes be used interchangeably.

“How was the match?” – “Oh, I didn’t see/watch it in the end.”

The documentary was really long. I didn’t have time to see/watch the whole thing.

However, we generally use see rather than watch if we actually attend the concert, match, or theatre performance, etc. ‘Watch’ would sound strange in the following examples:

I’m so thankful I got to see George Michael in concert.

(Compare with: I watched the Coldplay concert last night: Here the listener would understand that you saw it on the TV)

I’d love to go and see Federer play at Wimbledon.

Our school took us to see “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” at the Barbican Theatre.

Tip: During the next week really pay attention to how native speakers use these words. Write down the examples you hear or read.

Now let’s practise, shall we? Scroll down for the answers.


Add look (at), see or watch in the correct form.

  1. I can’t _____ very well with these glasses any more.
  2. Can you be quiet! I’m trying to _____ this programme.
  3. If you _____ the photo closely you can _____ a dog in the background.
  4. While we were _____ the match the phone rang.
  5. There was so much fog that we couldn’t _____ a thing.
  6. Don’t _____ now but your ex-boyfriend has just arrived.
  7. What time are you _____ the doctor?
  8. Here, _____ the bill. They’ve made a mistake, haven’t they?
  9. I wish I could have _____ Queen in concert.
  10. I had this strange feeling that I was being _____.
I wonder what they are all looking at.


  1. I can’t see very well with these glasses any more.
  2. Can you be quiet! I’m trying to watch this programme.
  3. If you look at the photo closely you can see a dog in the background.
  4. While we were watching the match the phone rang.
  5. There was so much fog that we couldn’t see a thing.
  6. Don’t look now but your ex-boyfriend has just arrived.
  7. What time are you seeing the doctor?
  8. Here, look at the bill. They’ve made a mistake, haven’t they?
  9. I wish I could have seen Queen in concert.
  10. I had this strange feeling that I was being watched.
What's the Difference?

Bored or Boring? (2) Adjectives ending in -ed/-ing

Circle the correct option.

  1. John was amused/amusing at the look on my face.
  2. The party was really bored/boring. I wish I hadn’t gone.
  3. The teacher is very pleased/pleasing with her students. They have been working so hard.
  4. These photographs are absolutely stunned/stunning. Did you take them?
  5. Damian finds his job as a tattoo artist very satisfied/satisfying.
  6. I wouldn’t let the children watch this film. It’s very frightened/frightening in parts.
  7. We are annoyed/annoying that Tony hasn’t apologised.
  8. Many people have lost their jobs in the town. The situation is quite worried/worrying.


1.  amused
2. boring
3. pleased
4. stunning
5. satisfying
6. frightening
7. annoyed
8. worrying



Vocabulary, What's the Difference?

End the Confusion! (3) At the end vs. In the end

These two little phrases are often confusing for students, the only difference is a tiny wee preposition! They are high frequency so you do need to know them properly. The explanations will show you when you need to use ‘at’ and when to use ‘in’. Do the exercise at the end ūüėȬ† to check you’ve got them crystal clear.


Meaning: in the final part of something, when something ends

Juan is going back to Chile at the end of June.

We all got a certificate at the end of the course.

There’s a lovely park at the end of the road.

The play was a great success. At the end (= when it finished) everybody stood up and cheered.


Meaning 1: finally, after a long time; 

We got lost walking around the city but in the end we managed to find our hotel again.

It rained all morning but the sun came out in the end and I was able to take the dog for a walk.

Meaning 2: after considering everything, after all

We didn’t win the tournament but in the end what’s important is that everybody¬†really enjoyed themselves.

“Try not to get so stressed¬†about your interview,” said Harry. “In the end it’s just an interview. If you don’t get the job, there will be others.”


Fill the gaps with ‘at’ or ‘in’

1. We’re looking forward to going to Mexico _____ the end of May.

2. The huge shark was coming towards me and I screamed, but it was just a dream _____ the end.

3. The best part of the party was ____ the end when there was an amazing firework display.

4. _____ the end of the interview they offered Keira the job.

5. It wasn’t easy to choose a university but _____ the end Deborah decided on Glasgow.


  1. at
  2. in
  3. at
  4. at
  5. in
Confusing Words, What's the Difference?

End the Confusion (2): Lend or Borrow?

Cover_Twitter - End the Confusion!

LEND sth (TO sb)  / LEND sb sth

Meaning: Give something to somebody temporarily but then they have to return it.

Michael lent his computer to Charlie for the weekend.

Quick, can you lend me a pen?

I lent the money to Nicola! It wasn’t a gift! I’m expecting her to give it back.


BORROW sth (FROM sb)

Meaning: Take something temporarily that belongs to sb else with the intention of returning it.

That’s not Charlie’s computer. ¬†He’s borrowed it from Michael for the weekend.

Quick, can I borrow a pen?

Nicola’s not keeping the money. She’s just borrowing it from me.

TIP: ¬†Although the¬†prepositions TO and FROM are not always needed, by paying special attention to them, it will help you confuse ‘lend’ and ‘borrow’ less.


Fill in the gaps with ‘borrow’ or ‘lend’ (in the correct form):

1. Can I _____ ten pounds? It’s urgent.
2. Can you _____ me ten pounds? ¬†It’s urgent.
3. If you’re not using your skateboard, can I _____ it?
4. I _____ your dictionary to John yesterday.¬†I hope you don’t mind.
5. You don’t need to buy the book. I’m sure you can _____ it from the library.
6. Is that your coat? No, I’ve _____ it from my sister.
7. I’m not going to _____ my brand new camera to Alan. No way!
8. Did you _____ my scissors? I can’t find them anywhere.

Answers1. borrow  2. lend  3. borrow  4. lent  5. borrow  6. borrowed  7. lend  8. borrow

What’s the difference between “IN the end” and “AT the end”? (with exercise)

What’s the difference between look, see and watch? (with exercise)

What’s the difference between raise and rise? (with exercise)

Quiz Your English (1)! – 3 Vocabulary exercises (with PDF)