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January 26 , 2013 - Word of the Day

confuse

 

simple past past participle
confuse
confused
confused

Many of my students know what this word means, but some of them use it incorrectly. When a person is confused, he or she isn't at all sure about something. There's a feeling of disorientation and uncertainty.

There are different ways of using this as a verb. Because so many students use it when talking about English, I'll provide examples for that particular situation and use the first person (I, me): Notice that some of these sentences are in the active voice and some are in the passive voice:

  • English confuses me. (active)
  • I'm confused by English. (passive)
  • Some words confuse me. (active)
  • I am confused by some words. (passive)
  • I get confused when I speak English. (passive)

These sentences use the word "confuse" as an adjective. The past participle (confused) can serve as both verb and adjective:

  • I feel confused.
  • I suddenly became confused.
  • I'm so confused.
  • This is confusing. (This sentence is not in the present continuous tense. "Confusing" functions as an adjective here.)
  • Which language is more confusing, English or French?

Use the word "confusion" as a noun.

  • Not knowing English causes some confusion for people who live in the United States.
  • If you feel any confusion, you should ask a question.

 

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