SAT Video: Commonly Confused Words

So the SAT will forever be done away with vocabulary come Mar. 2016, right? Well, not exactly. Sure, the ten-dollar words you can impress your grandma with will have been consigned to the dustbin of SAT has-beens (move over “analogies” and make some room). However, the SAT writing section will still test vocabulary in context, though this vocabulary will fall into a special category: commonly confused words.

In English, words either sound or look very similar and so we are likely to confuse them. The SAT writing passage might decide to slip the incorrect word in there, because this word sounds very similar to the correct word. Your job is to know the difference. The question type isn’t super common, though you’ll probably see it once per section (that’s 44 questions).

Below are a few commonly confused words that it’s important to be able to tell apart.

Accept – to receive

He accepted the job in New Jersey.

Except – not including

Improve your SAT score; start your Magoosh SAT prep today

I’m going to do all the chores except vacuuming the floor.

Precede – to come before

The reading section on the New SAT will precede the math sections.

Proceed – to move forward

Before we can proceed with the investigation, we’ll need to determine who the suspects are.

Allusion – a reference, usually to literature or something learned

By calling them “two star-crossed lovers” he made an allusion to Romeo & Juliet.

Illusion – something that exists only in the mind

My crazy Uncle Jack was under the illusion that he was the mayor of Cleveland, even though he lived in California and had never even been to Ohio.

Allude (v.) – basically the verb form of allusion, allude means to refer to something

The professor alluded to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, though his audience—mostly stay-at-home moms—had no idea what he was talking about.

Elude (v.) – to avoid capture

The fugitive could no longer elude police and had to give in.

Discrete – broken into distinct groups

Major League baseball is broken into discrete leagues, and only within the last couple decades or so has there been interleague play outside of the championship game.

Discreet – careful to avoid drawing unnecessary attention

The spy chose a discreet outfit that matched that of the locals of the country she hoped to glean intelligence on.

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

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