Adverse means detrimental and does not mean averse or disinclined.
- Correct: There were adverse effects. / I'm not averse to doing that.
Appraise means to ascertain the value of and does not mean to apprise or to inform.
- Correct: I appraised the jewels. / I apprised him of the situation.
As far as means the same as but cannot be used the same way as as for.
- Correct: As far as the money is concerned... / As for the money...
Begs the question means assumes what it should be proving and does not mean raises the question.
- Correct: When I asked the dealer why I should pay more for the German car, he said I would be getting 'German quality,' but that just begs the question.
Cliché is a noun and is not an adjective.
- Correct: Shakespeare used a lot of clichés. / The plot was so clichéd.
Credible means believable and does not mean credulous or gullible.
- Correct: His sales pitch was not credible. / The con man took advantage of credulous people.
Criteria is the plural, not the singular of criterion.
- Correct: These are important criteria.
Data is a plural count noun not, standardly speaking, a mass noun.
- Correct: This datum supports the theory, but many of the other data refute it.
Dichotomy means two mutually exclusive alternatives and does not mean difference or discrepancy.
- Correct: There is a dichotomy between even and odd numbers. / There is a discrepancy between what we see and what is really there.
Discreet means tactful or avoiding embarrassment, while discrete means separate or individually distinct.
- Correct: The teacher was discreet in discussing the student's behavior. / Lemons and oranges are two discrete fruits.
Disinterested means unbiased and does not mean uninterested.
- Correct: The dispute should be resolved by a disinterested judge. / Why are you so uninterested in my story?
Enormity means extreme evil and does not mean enormousness.
- Correct: The enormity of the terrorist bombing brought bystanders to tears. / The enormousness of the homework assignment required several hours of work.
Flaunt means to show off and does not mean to flout.
- Correct: She flaunted her abs. / She flouted the rules.
Fortuitous means coincidental or unplanned and does not mean fortunate.
- Correct: Running into my old friend was fortuitous. / It was fortunate that I had a good amount of savings after losing my job.
Hone means to sharpen and does not mean to home in on or to converge upon.
- Correct: She honed her writing skills. / We're homing in on a solution.
Hot button means an emotional, divisive controversy and does not mean a hot topic.
- Correct: She tried to stay away from the hot button of abortion. / Drones are a hot topic in the tech world.
Ironic means uncannily incongruent and does not mean inconvenient or unfortunate.
- Correct: It was ironic that I forgot my textbook on human memory. / It was unfortunate that I forgot my textbook the night before the quiz.
Irregardless is not a word but a portmanteau of regardless and irrespective.
- Correct: Regardless of how you feel, it's objectively the wrong decision. / Everyone gets a vote, irrespective of their position.
Literally means in actual fact and does not mean figuratively.
- Correct: I didn't mean for you to literally run over here. / I'd rather die than listen to another one of his lectures — figuratively speaking, of course!
Mitigate means to alleviate and does not mean to militate or to provide reasons for.
- Correct: The spray should mitigate the bug problem. / Their inconceivable differences will militate against the treaty.
New Age means spiritualistic, holistic and does not mean modern, futuristic.
- Correct: He is a fan of New Age mindfulness techniques. / That TV screen is made from a high-end modern glass.
Noisome means smelly and does not mean noisy.
- Correct: I covered my nose when I walked past the noisome dump. / I covered my ears when I heard the noisy motorcycle speed by.
Opportunism means seizing or exploiting opportunities and does not mean creating or promoting opportunities.
- Correct: His opportunism brought him to the head of the company. / The party ran on promoting economic opportunities for the middle class.
Parameter means a variable and does not mean a boundary condition, a limit.
- Correct: The forecast is based on parameters like inflation and interest rates. / We need to work within budgetary limits.
Phenomena is a plural count noun — not a mass noun.
- Correct: The phenomenon was intriguing, but it was only one of many phenomena observed by the telescope.
Practicable means easily put into practice and does not mean practical.
- Correct: His French was practicable in his job, which required frequent trips to Paris. / Learning French before taking the job was a practical decision.
Protagonist means active character and does not mean proponent.
- Correct: Vito Corleone was the protagonist in 'The Godfather.' / He is a proponent of solar energy.
Refute means to prove to be false and does not mean to allege to be false, to try to refute.
- Correct: His work refuted the theory that the Earth was flat.
Shrunk, sprung, stunk, and sunk are used in the past participle — not the past tense.
- Correct: I've shrunk my shirt. / I shrank my shirt.
Simplistic means naively or overly simple and does not mean simple or pleasingly simple.
- Correct: His simplistic answer suggested he wasn't familiar with the material. / She liked the chair's simple look.
Untenable means indefensible or unsustainable and does not mean painful or unbearable.
- Correct: Now that all the facts have been revealed, that theory is untenable. / Her death brought him unbearable sadness.
Urban legend means an intriguing and widely circulated but false story and does not mean someone who is legendary in a city.
- Correct: Alligators in the sewers is an urban legend. / Al Capone was a legendary gangster in Chicago.
An effect means an influence; to effect means to put into effect; to affect means either to influence or to fake.
- Correct: They had a big effect on my style. / The law effected changes at the school. / They affected my style. / He affected an air of sophistication to impress her parents.
To lie (intransitive: lies, lay, has lain) means to recline; to lay (transitive: lays, laid, has laid) means to set down; to lie (intransitive: lies, lied, has lied) means to fib.
- Correct: He lies on the couch all day. / He lays a book upon the table. / He lies about what he does.