Words confused

Recent and modern

Recent is used to talk about things which happened a short while ago. Modern means ‘of the present or recent times’.

  • Modern writers prefer prose to poetry.
  • It was the worst cyclone in recent times.

Recollect and remember

To recollect is to call something to mind with some effort.

To remember is to call something to mind without any effort.

  • I couldn’t recollect her name or face.
  • Suddenly I remembered that I hadn’t locked the door.

Regular and punctual

Regular means ‘evenly spaced’, ‘coming or happening at regular intervals’.

  • The regular ticking of the clock
  • He is a man of regular habits.


When you are punctual, you are neither late nor early.

  • Be punctual. (= Be exactly on time.)

Relative and relation

A relative is a kinsman or kinswoman.

  • She is a relative of mine.

Relation is the connection between persons or things.

  • There is no relation between them.
  • What is the relation between you and that woman?

Respectable and respectful

Respectable means ‘deserving respect’. Respectful means ‘showing respect’.

  • He is a respectable man.
  • He was quite respectful to his teachers.


Each of those in question

  • Go to your respective places.

Rob and steal

To steal is to take away secretly. To rob is to take away forcibly or with violence.

  • Someone has stolen my watch.
  • Someone robbed me of my watch.

Sensitive and sensible

If you are sensitive, you get hurt easily. If you are sensible, you have commonsense.

  • He is very sensitive. Don’t tease him.
  • She is a very sensible woman.