Common errors in writing
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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

West Albany High School


Affect / Effect

  • Affect = verb

  • Effect = noun

  • Affect = Action

  • Effect = rEsult


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 = 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 = 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 = 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 = 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 = 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 = 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 = lack of noise

  • Quite = completely, wholly, or entirely

    • actually, really, or truly

    • to a considerable extent or degree


Through / threw / thorough

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

  • Threw = past tense of throw

  • Thorough = complete


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 = 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 = 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 = 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 = proper

  • Alot = not proper, not a word


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

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

  • Could of is wrong.


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

  • 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.


Informality

  • 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

  • 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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