Just like the shoes in the picture, subtle changes can be a big deal. Sure both shoes are red and have the same style, but the grey middle changes the whole complex. Imagine if you saw these shoes in a box at the store. Would you purchase them anyway or search for the match? Most would hunt for the matching shoe. It’s no different with writing.
Writers want their work error-free with clarity for the reader. But, when there are words that look or sound alike, it can be confusing on which to use. For example, accept and except or affect and effect. These are the infamous ones that get me from time-to-time.
When these (and other often confused words) are misused, it can alter what is being communicated or make a writer appear lax in the quality of his/her work. And if you’re counting on the spell checker to catch the error, good luck. It will blaze past the words without a second thought. So to help diffuse the confusion, I’ve included the lists I use as reference.
College Writer Center: Commonly Confused Words – definitions and using the words in parts of speech such as noun, verb, adjective
Writer’s Web: Commonly Confused Words – definitions and example sentences using the words