Some Commonly Confused Words Part 1

Today, I will be talking about some of the most commonly confused words I have come across while editing. I hope this will help you avoid making the same mistakes in your writing. This is by no means an exhaustive list These are just issues I have come across in client manuscripts.

Passed/ Past

This is a fairly common mistake that everyone seems to make. Using passed in place of past and vice versa.

Passed is the past tense of Pass. You can find the meaning of Pass here. Basically, pass used as a verb means to go past which is what many confuse with the word past itself.

Past on the other hand means something that’s behind you, either in terms of time or distance.


He went past the crowd.

She passed by the crowd.

Past the hour, they met as usual.


This is another commonly confused pair of words.

It’s is short for It is.

Its is a possessive pronoun. Its means belonging to it, attributed to it.


It’s a short walk to the pier.

Its origins were unknown.


This is another set of words that are often used erroneously.

Awhile means for a while.

A while means a period of time.


It has been a while since she has been here.

He has been attending the lecture awhile now.

That’s it for today. I shall be back with more commonly confused words soon.