Top Ten Confused ‘T’ Words

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The confusion relates to spelling or meaning.

  1. taught / taut
  • The word taught is the past tense of the verb to teach. It is also used as an adjective to mean instructed:
  • The adjective tautmeans “pulled tight.”

For example:

  1. The English teacher taught us some new words today.
    2. Use more weight to keep the line taut.


  1. titivate / titillate
  • The verb titivate means “to spruce up, to make more attractive
  • The verb titillate means “to excite the senses or imagination in an agreeable way.”

For example:

  1. We are sure to have something to titillate your taste buds.
  2. They titivate their short hair:


  1. tortuous / torturous
  • The adjective tortuous means “full of twists; complex.”
  • The adjective torturous means “full of pain or suffering.”

For example:

  1. The tortuous road we had to climb had a steep and narrow curve all the way to the top.
  2. The book prominently features a scene in which the heroes resort to torturous methods in order to extract vital, life-or-death information.


  1. tenant / tenet
  • tenant is someone who rents property.
  • tenet is a principle or belief.

For example:

  1. This course is designed to give the students an overview of the basic tenets of  Christian Doctrine.
  2. It’s importantly to stay informed one’s rights as a tenant.


  1. than / then
  • The word than is a conjunction used after a comparative adjective or adverb to introduce the second member of the comparison.
  • The word then means at that time; at the time in question, is used to refer to a certain time in the past or future.

  For example:  

  1. She thinks her labrador is cleverer than my boxer.
  2. We didn’t have a liking for luxuries like fancy cars then.


  1. through / threw
  • Through is a preposition used to convey the idea of entering the inside of something and coming out the other side.
  • Threw is the past tense of the verb to throw.

For example:

  1. You will need to go through the tunnel to access this cache.
  2. He threw the ball over the fence.


  1. throws / throes
  • Throws is the third person present singular of the verb to throw:
  • Throws can also be the plural of the noun throw that refers to a light blanket:
  • Throes is a noun that means “severe pains.” Figuratively, it can mean “difficult times.”


For example:

  1. He throws with his left arm.
  2. She keeps throws on all the couches and chairs.
  3. The Sinhas are in the throes of a divorce.

     8.  track / tract

  • As a noun, track is a mark or series of marks left by the passage of something.”
  • One meaning of the noun tract is “a book or written work treating of some particular topic.

For example:

  1. The evangelists passed out tracts on the subject of salvation.
  2. The Mountie caught the fugitive by following the track left in the snow.


  1. their / they / they’re
  • their possessive form of “they”
  • there in that place
  • they’re contraction for “they are”

For example:

  1. The boys were very fond of their little sister.
  2. I advise you go there and try to resolve things before it’s too late.
  3. They’re writing down every suggestion.


  1. torpid / turgid
  • torpid means benumbed or “devoid of the power or motion of feeling.”
  • turgid means swollendistendedpuffed out.

For example:

  1. Even when he was awake he was completely
  2. His arm was turgid where the dog had bitten it.
Published on March 15, 2016 by EnglishMate
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