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  • Embed vs imbed
  • Ice tea vs. iced teaIced tea remains the more common form, but ice tea is gaining ground.
  • Idea vs. idealAn ideal is (1) a conception of something in its absolute perfection, or (2) an honorable or worthy principle or aim. The word is not synonymous with idea.
  • Ideogram
  • Idle, idol, idyllIdol: an object of worship. Idle: inactive. Idyll: a tranquil natural scene.
  • If you will: an often unnecessary hedge phrase meaning if you will allow me to use this phrase.
  • Ignoramus
  • IlkIt now has negative connotations.
  • Illegible vs. unreadableIllegible: difficult to decipher because of bad handwriting or physical deterioration. Unreadable: difficult, dull, or nonsensical.
  • Imagism
  • Immaculate Conception vs. virgin birthImmaculate Conception: the conception of Jesus' mother. Virgin birth: a birth of a child to a mother who is a virgin.
  • Immunity vs. impunityImmunity: 1. resistance to a disease; 2. exemption from obligation; 3. legally granted freedom from prosecution; 4. unresponsiveness to influence. Impunity: the ability to act without negative consequences.
  • Impactful: having impact. Its use is a common language peeve, but the word is not going away.
  • Impassable vs. impassibleImpassible: impossible to pass. Impassible: not subject to suffering, pain, or harm.
  • Impassive vs. passiveImpassive: not showing emotion. Passive: not acting.
  • Impending vs. pendingPending: awaiting conclusion or in the process of being completed. Impending: soon to occur.
  • Imperious vs. imperviousImperious: 1. arrogantly domineering; 2. regal. Impervious: 1. impenetrable; 2. unaffected.
  • Impinge vs. infringeImpinge: 1. collide or strike; 2. encroach (on or upon). Infringe: 1. violate or break; 2. encroach (on or upon).
  • Imply vs. inferImply: state indirectly. Infer: conclude based on indirect evidence.
  • Imposter vs. impostorImpostor is the more common spelling.
  • Impractical vs impracticable
  • Improvise vs. improvize
  • Impugn vs. imputeImpugn: to attack something as false or questionable. Impute: to ascribe or attribute.
  • In excess of: wordy for more than, over, or exceeding.
  • In kind: 1. in goods rather than in money; 2. repaid in the same manner.
  • In terms of: wordy for in or for.
  • In the affirmative: wordy for yes.
  • In the course of: wordy for during, in, over, or while.
  • In the midst of: wordy for amid, among, during, or in.
  • In the offing: likely to happen soon.
  • In the process of: often wordy for currently.
  • In the throes of: in the midst of (something painful or difficult).
  • Inalienable vs. unalienableInalienable is the preferred form in modern English.
  • Incentivize, incentBoth mean to provide incentive. Many people find both of these business buzzwords distasteful, but incentivize continues to grow more common and now appears outside business writing. Incent remains rare.
  • Incidence vs. incidentsThey can be used to express the same things, but incidence is usually a singular mass noun, and incidents is plural.
  • Incipient vs. insipient (vs. insipid)Incipient: beginning to exist or just starting to happen. Insipient: wanting wisdom, stupid, or foolish. Insipid: lacking flavor, dull.
  • Inclement vs. inclimateInclement is the word for stormy or tempestuous. Inclimate is a misspelling.
  • Incomparable vs. uncomparableIncomparable: beyond comparison. Uncomparable: (of two or more things) not able to be compared.
  • Incredible vs. incredulousIncredible: not believable. Incredulous: not able to believe.
  • Incubus, succubusAn incubus is a male evil spirit that has sex with sleeping women. A succubus is a female evil spirit that has sex with sleeping men.
  • Inculcate
  • Indefinite articles
  • Indexes vs. indicesBoth are common throughout the English-speaking world.
  • Inequality vs. inequityInequity: injustice or unfairness. Inequality: the condition of being unequal.
  • Inequity vs. iniquityInequity: injustice or unfairness. Iniquity: extreme injustice or gross immorality.
  • Inexplicable vs. unexplainableThey are mostly interchangeable.
  • Infect vs. infestTo be infected is to have viruses or germs in the body. To be infested is to have pests or parasites in a place.
  • Ingenious vs. ingenuous
  • Inside baseball: appreciated by only a small group of insiders or aficionados.
  • Insofar (in so far): to such an extent. It is usually one word in North America, and usually three words outside North America---though the one-word form is gaining ground everywhere.
  • Installation vs. installmentInstallation: 1. the act of installing something, 2. something that has been installed, 3. a military base, 4. an art exhibit meant to be appreciated in its setting. Installment (instalment outside North America): 1. in a series of payments; 2. a portion of a serially released literary work.
  • Installment vs. instalmentInstallment in the U.S.; instalment everywhere else.
  • Instantly vs. instantaneouslyInstantly: very quickly. Instantaneously: happening with no perceptible delay in relation to something else.
  • Instinctive vs. instinctualThere are many claims about how they differ, but none are consistently borne out in real-world usage, except in psychology, where instinctual things arise out of complex human drives.
  • IntactIt is one word.
  • Inter-, intra-Inter-: between or among. Intra-: within.
  • IntercourseIt is difficult to use without connoting sexual intercourse.
  • Interjections
  • Interment vs. internmentInternment: the detaining of people perceived to be a threat. Interment: burial.
  • Internet (capitalization)The first letter is usually capitalized in edited U.S. and Canadian writing (though not in informal writing). It is uncapitalized outside the U.S.
  • Interpretative vs. interpretiveThe longer form has the edge in British publications. The shorter, newer form now prevails everywhere else.
  • Invaluable vs. valuableValuable: of considerable value. Invaluable: can't be valued in monetary terms.
  • Invite (as a noun)It is old, yet many people dislike it, partially based on the false assumption that it is new.
  • Ipso factoby that very fact.
  • Ironic1. using words to express the opposite of their literal meaning; 2. markedly different from what was expected.
  • IronicalIt is a less common variant of ironic.
  • IrregardlessPeople despise it, but it's part of the language, and it confuses no one.
  • Irregular plural nouns
  • Isometric(in poetry) composed of lines of uniform length.
  • Italics (when to italicize)
  • Iterationan act or instance of saying, doing, or performing something again. The first instance of something can't be an iteration.
  • Its vs. it'sIt's: a contraction of it is. Its: the possessive of it.
  • Ivy LeagueBrown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University

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