Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Don't Wait Until Tomorrow! Confusing English Vocabulary Words

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 @ 08:41 AM

Boston English vocabulary lesson weigh, weight, wayDo you ever get confused with words like "weight," "weigh," "way," and "weighty"?

How about phrasal verbs like "wait up" or "wait around" or "weigh someone down" ?

Are you clear on all of them? If so, great! You can move on to the next article in the blogosphere!

But if you often wonder how to use these English vocabulary words then you should stick around and learn a few things!

Take five minutes to study the words in the list and complete the dialogue below about two roommates discussing the problem of gaining weight in the winter. Good luck!


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Step #1: Study these words and expressions


  • To wait (verb): To remain inactive, to delay action until something else happens 
  • To weigh (verb): To measure the weight of something or someone using a scale
  • Weight (noun): A measurement of how heavy something is (a person or an object), a heavy object used at a gym for building muscle
  • Weighty (adjective): Something that is a burden on the mind or is heavy and has power
  • Way (noun): A method, manner or strategy
  • To wait up (phrasal verb): To stay awake to wait for something to happen or for someone to return
  • To wait on (phrasal verb): To serve customers or clients or to await a decision
  • To weigh in on something (idiom/expression): To join in a discussion by offering important advice or expertise
  • To wait around (phrasal verb): To wait somewhere and do nothing
  • To weigh someone down (phrasal verb): To place a burden on someone



Step # 2: Complete the dialogue


Meg and Jane are roommates. Jane has a problem and she is looking for advice. Finish the conversation with the words above.


 running shoes english vocabulary quiz bostonMeg: Is there something (1) __________ on your mind?

Jane: Well, yeah there is but I know you are super busy. Do you really have time to (2)  _______    ________ while I tell you?

Meg: Sure, I'm not going out tonight so I have time. You shouldn't have (3) _________ so long to tell me. The best (4) _________ to deal with a problem is to talk about it. So what's up?

Jane: Well, the problem is my (5) __________.

Meg: Oh really? I haven't noticed. Have you (6) _______ yourself lately?

Jane: Yes, I got on the scale last week and I found out that I have gained 10 pounds in the past month.

Meg: Wow! Well, many people see changes in their (7)__________ at this time of year. The days are getting shorter and people aren't outside exercising very often.

Jane: Yeah, I think I just need more exercise. I have (8)__________ too long to sign up for my winter yoga class and now the class is full! I feel horrible and sluggish. What am I going to do?

eating pizzaMeg: Umm I know this is a (9) __________ issue for you but maybe you could think about changing your diet. Maybe all of that junk food that you eat is (10)__________you down.

Jane: Well, I am not sure if I can give up my daily Coke and I just don't have much time to prepare healthy food.

Meg: Why don't you talk to Sarah. She is a nutritionist and I am sure she'd be willing to (11) ______   ____   ____ the issue and give you her opinion.

Jane: Oh that's a great idea. I'll call her tomorrow. Tonight I am going out for pizza and beer with my friends! Don't (12)  ________   _____!

Meg: But (13) ______ ! What about your diet?


Check your answers here!

Answers: (1) weighing  (2) wait around  (3) waited  (4) way  (5) weight  (6) weighed  (7) weight  (8) waited  (9) weighty  (10) weighing  (11) weigh in on  (12) wait up  (13) wait


So how did you do on the quiz? These are words that even native speakers get confused about sometimes, especially in writing. Practice this dialogue a few times with a native English speaking language exchange partner or teacher and start to pay attention to the words in everday conversations. Good luck and keep studying!


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Photo credits: PeterJBellisLifeSupercharger, Ruben Laguna, Alan Cleaver,

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