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Common Errors in Writing. West Albany High School. Affect / Effect. Affect = verb Effect = noun A ffect = A ction E ffect = r E sult. Affect / Effect. How will this (affect / effect) my grade? What will the (affect / effect) of this test be on my grade?

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Common Errors in Writing

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Common errors in writing

Common Errors in Writing

West Albany High School

Affect effect

Affect / Effect

  • Affect = verb

  • Effect = noun

  • Affect = Action

  • Effect = rEsult

Affect effect1

Affect / Effect

  • How will this (affect / effect) my grade?

  • What will the (affect / effect) of this test be on my grade?

  • What (affect / effect) does your B.O. have on the overall stench of the room?

  • How does your B.O. (affect / effect) me? (It makes me want to vomit.)

  • I will (affect / effect) a change in this world!

Conscious conscience

Conscious / conscience

  • Conscious = awake

  • Conscience = inner sense of right and wrong

  • I was (conscious / conscience) after getting struck in the head, but in pain.

  • My (conscious / conscience) told me not to do it, but I couldn’t help myself!

Formally formerly

Formally / Formerly

  • Formally = done with formality, or in a formal way

  • Formerly = done a while ago

  • I spoke with a man who was (formally / formerly) President of the United States.

  • (Formally / formerly), his name is much longer, but we’ve been using his nickname.

Principal principle

Principal / principle

  • Principal = person (pal)

  • Principle = thing you stand for

  • The (principal / principle) of the act seemed noble, so I did it. I didn’t think about it much later until I was invited to go see the (principal / principle).

Its it s

Its / It’s

  • Its = possessive

  • It’s = it is

  • The dog wagged (its / it’s) tail

  • Dad said, “(its / it’s) time for bed.”

  • The bird flapped (its / it’s) wings.

  • The school bus drove (its / it’s) route.

  • (Its / It’s) time for the bus to arrive.

There their they re

There / their / they’re

  • There = place (Here or There)

  • Their = plural possessive

  • They’re = they are

  • (There / their / they’re) going over (There / their / they’re) to pick up

    (There / their / they’re) firewood.

Your you re

Your / You’re

  • Your = possessive (your coat, the coat belongs to you).

  • You’re = you are.

  • (You’re / Your) going to drive me crazy if (you’re / your) radio stays on much longer.

Quiet quite

Quiet / quite

  • Quiet = lack of noise

  • Quite = completely, wholly, or entirely

    • actually, really, or truly

    • to a considerable extent or degree

Through threw thorough

Through / threw / thorough

  • Through = preposition, in one side and out the other

  • Threw = past tense of throw

  • Thorough = complete

Regardless irregardless

Regardless / irregardless

  • Regardless = a word meaning without regard

    • I am going regardless of whether or not she wants me to!

  • If regardless means without regard, what does irregardless mean?

  • Irregardless is not standard and should be avoided (regardless of what you might think).

Break brake

Break / brake

  • Break = McDonald’s

    • As a noun, a brief vacation or relaxing moment

    • As a verb, to smash something into bits

  • Brake = slow down

    • As a verb, to slow down

    • As a noun, the thing you step on to slow down

Accept except

Accept / except

  • Accept = to take or receive

  • Except = with the exclusion of

  • I (accept / except) this award on behalf of all men, (accept / except) Jim, whom I do not like.

Stationary stationery

Stationary / stationery

  • Stationary = standing still, not moving

  • Stationery = paper

  • I used (stationary / stationery) to write to her about my concerns over the (stationary / stationery) conditions of her dog in the yard.

A lot alot

A lot / alot

  • A lot = proper

  • Alot = not proper, not a word

Semicolon review

Semicolon review

  • Two complete sentences side by side, the second one telling you more about the first, can be separated by a semicolon.

  • Jim has stinky gas; he ate too much asparagus last night.

Could of could ve

Could of / could’ve

  • I could have done that, but I did not.

  • Could of is wrong.

Dramatic overstatement

Dramatic overstatement.

  • One of the greatest philosophical problems ever discussed, this question has been pondered since the beginning of time by all people everywhere who have ceaselessly asked, why do people exaggerate? You are writing for rational, not dramatic, effect; avoid such overstatement.

Redundant comparatives

Redundant comparatives

  • Bigger means more big, so it is redundant to say “more bigger.” Similarly, fuller, clearer, cleverer, and all other comparatives. Do not write, “more fuller,” “more clearer,” etc.



  • It’s sorta like a real bummer when people write like as though they were just talking right to you and making stuff up like they had never really thought about it before they did.

  • This can be very effective as dialogue in creative writing but is not acceptable in research writing.

Apostrophe review

Apostrophe review

  • Possession

    • The bird’s wing

    • The two birds’ wings

  • Contractions

    • Do not = don’t

    • Could have = could’ve (not could of)

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