Friday, January 16, 2009

Commonly Misused Words

The internet is a wealth of information there for the taking. I'd like to claim credit for coming up with this list, but I actually found it at Squidoo and applaud the person who put it together. I've picked at a few of my favorite dilemmas to share with you, but I've bookmarked the site for my future reference. You might want to do the same. *smile*

Accept vs. Except - Accept is to receive - Except is to exclude

Affect vs. Effect - Affect is a verb - Effect is a noun. This should help

All Right vs. alright *I do this constantly* All Right is only correct when spelled as two words.

A Lot vs. Alot - Sorry to tell you (and me) but 'alot' is not a real word.

Bare vs. Bear - Bear refers to an animal or burden - bare means naked. Give a whole new meaning to 'bare' with me. *smile*

Breach vs. Breech - Breech refers to your bottom or something covering it, such as breeches. A breach is a gap or opening...a breach in the levy.

Censor vs Censure - Censure = reprimand - Censor= banned or suppressed.

Cite vs. Sight vs. Site - Cite= quote, Sight = vision, Site = location Simple?

Compliment vs. Complement - I didn't even know there was a difference. Yikes. Compliment = a nice comment paid someone - Complement = Something that enhances or completes something. She complimented him. The cushions complemented the decor.

Copyright vs. Copywrite - Glad to see this one. Copywrite - to write copy while copyright is a protected status.

Dessert vs. Desert - I think we all know the difference, just can't remember who each is spelled. - Desert - dry and barren place...I remember it's so dry it can only afford one 's.' Dessert - Yummy stuff.

Flair vs. Flare - Someone can dress with flair, but a fire or an argument flares.

Lay vs. Lie - Hate this one!! Lay is an action you perform with something...Lay the book down - Lie is something you do yourself. I wanted to lie down. Lay is also the past tense of Lie, and laid can be used and you might get an okay nod from your editor, but never layed...not a word, so don't even try it. :)

Loose vs. Lose - I always remind myself of the proper use by chanting this, "I'm going to lose this race because my pants are too loose.

Me vs. I - I see this mistake even in newspapers. The secret is to make sure your noun agrees with the verb. For example: Should a sentence read... Jannine, Marie and Me plan to go shopping? Of course not, if Jannine and Marie didn't go, then Me went shopping sounds pretty lame. Jannine, Marie and I plan to go shopping... and if they flake on me, then I can still go. *lol*

Peak vs. Peek vs. Pique - Peak is the highest point, peek is a sneaky look, and pique is to heighten interest. Never say he peeked my interest. *lol*

Raise vs. Rise - This one gets tricky sometimes. Raise = acting on something - Rise = something you do yourself. She raised the question - I rise to the occasion. And to confuse things, rose is the past tense of rise. He rose from the dead. I'm still working on figuring this one out. *lol*

Taut vs. Tout - Laughed when I saw this once because there's another word that sometimes sneaks into the mix - Taunt. Taut = firmness or tightness - Tout = support or brag about something. Taunt means to tease, so if you say she had 'taunt' are way off base. Tom touted her taut boobs and got taunted for it. I just made that up. *brushing knuckles against chest*

Then vs. Than - Then is used when referring to a point in time. Than is used to compare. I'd rather then than now. Easy!

Who vs. Which vs. That - I really appreciated the explanation of this one. Who is used with a person, while that normally refers to a thing...except in the case of a group of people. Had to throw that in to confuse me. Which most often is in a clause, such as, The movie, which was rated X, was not appropriate for children.

Whose vs. Who's - The easiest way to remember this rule is simply knowing that the 's indicates a contraction that can be two words, while Whose indicates possession. Whose purse is that? Who's that lady? or better yet Whose idea was it to put so many confusing words in the English language?


Anonymous said...

You are so right about these words. Thanks for the list.

May Your Glass Always Be Half Full

Anonymous said...

Flare vs. Flare - Someone can dress with flair, but a fire or an argument flares.

What is wrong witht his picture....

Oh, and if any of you learned anything from this list... stop writing books... now...

Unknown said...


Jen Black said...

Might and may is the one I always get caught up on.

LuAnn said...

Great list, Ginger! One of my pet peeves is the use of towards -- no such word! It's toward, backward, forward, etc. No S!!!

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