Frequently misused words
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FREQUENTLY MISUSED WORDS. Beware!. ACCEPT vs EXCEPT. Accept means to receive something . Except means to exclude something . Example: "I accept everything you're offering, except for the fruitcake.". Practice sentences!. I have practice every day ____________ Thursday this week.

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Accept vs except

  • Accept means to receive something.

  • Except means to exclude something.

    Example: "I accept everything you're offering, except for the fruitcake."

Practice sentences
Practice sentences!

  • I have practice every day ____________ Thursday this week.

  • He was not able to attend the ceremony, so his coach had to ______________ his award for him.

  • You just need to ____________ the fact that Girl Scout cookies are delicious.

  • I don’t like pickles, ________________ on a Chick Fil-a sandwich!

Affect vs effect

  • The one that starts with an a, affect, is a verb. This is when something is ACTING upon something else. For example, "We don't know how the rising cost of pizza will affect the economy."

  • Effectis a noun. It's passive, not doing anything in particular; it's just there. For example, "The rising cost of pizza didn't have much effect." Tip for remembering the difference: A is for Action! Action = Affect.

Practice sentences1
Practice sentences!

  • Even one zero on a major assignment can ______________ your average in a negative way.

  • The elderly couple next door was severely ____________(ed) by the cold this winter. 

  • Her emotional outburst was purely for ______________.

  • The new policies go into __________ next month. 

All right vs alright

Sorry, but alright is incorrect. It's correctly spelled as two words: All right. However, it could be argued that alright is appropriate for dialogue. It's closer to the way it sounds. Also, nobody should beat you up for writing alright in an online forum or chat room. All right?

Allot vs a lot vs alot

  • Allot a verb, means to divide in parts or to give out in shares.

  • Alot is correct and is an informal expression meaning “a great many” or “a great amount.” Avoid using it in formal writing.

  • Alot, on the other hand, is NOT a real word. Sorry, I can't even bring myself to defend alot from a creative writing standpoint.

Among vs between

  • Among and between are both prepositions.

  • Among always implies three or more.

  • Between is generally used with just two things.

  • Examples:

  • There is a feeling of discontent among the citizens.

  • Juan got between Carlos and me.

Bare vs bear

  • The word bear has multiple meanings: It can refer to the animal, or it can mean carrying a burden. When you ask someone to bear with you, that means you're asking them to be patient.

  • Bare, on the other hand, means uncovered or naked. So when you write "Bare with me," you're really asking your readers to get naked. How embarrassing!

Sight vs site vs cite

  • Sight refers to either your vision or to something you see. For example, seeing the sights around town.

  • Siterefers to a physical location, such as a house or a neighborhood. There are construction sites, for examples.

  • Citemeans to quote something, usually something of authority. Citing can also be a case of mentioning supporting facts. Christians, for example, frequently cite the Bible as the foundation for their beliefs

Dessert vs desert

  • Dessert refers to the scrumptious pies, cakes, and ice cream we get to eat if we finish dinner.

  • A desert is a dry, barren, often hot and sandy place

Its vs it s

  • Its is possessive.

  • It'sis a contraction of it is.

  • Whenever you see that apostrophe, always translate it's to it is. Sound out the sentence in your head. If sounds dumb to say it is in the sentence, then it's is incorrect.

Lay vs lie

  • Lay is used when something is being acted upon.

  • Lieis something you do without anyone or anything doing something to you. Example: "I decided to lie down on the floor." Here's where things get more confusing: The past tense of lie is lay. The past tense of lay is laid.

  • Examples:"I laid down the piggy bank.""The piggy bank lay there yesterday."

Lose vs loose

You can't use these spellings interchangeably: Not only are the meanings subtly different, they also SOUND different.

  • Losehas more of a Z sound. It means you can’t find something.

  • Loosehas more of a hiss to it. It is the opposite of “tight.”

Raise vs rise

  • Raise is the word you use when something is being acted upon.

  • Riseis something you do on your own without any assistance. If the dead come to life on their own, it would be correct to say that the dead are rising from the graves. However, if some necromancer (or cheerleader) brought the dead to life, it would be correct to say that she raised the dead.By the way, the past tense of rise is rose.

Sense vs since

  • Sense refers to your senses, such as smell, taste, sight, and touch. It can also mean detecting something: "I sense you're unhappy with me for not owning a phone."

  • Sincerefers to a time or past event. Specifically, from then till now. It can also be a substitute for the word because. "Since I don't have a phone, you might as well write to me more often."

Then vs than

  • Thenrefers to a point in time, usually after something has happened or some condition is met. "First we mix the flour and sugar, then we add the butter."

  • Thanis used for comparing things, such as length, height, weight, etc. "I think this dog weighs more than me."

There vs their vs they re

  • People get these mixed up all the time. Let's look at these words in their correct form: "The book is over there.""That's their book.""They're getting the book.“

  • Remember, their is possessive. You're talking about who owns what.

  • They'reis a contraction. If the sentence sounds fine when you reword it with they are, you know you're using the right pronoun.

  • Thererefers to where someone or something is.

Weather vs whether

  • Weather refers to the state of the atmosphere, whether it's raining, snowing, windy, cold, etc.

  • Whetheris a choice between two or more options.

  • Example: I don’t know whether the weather will be nice for our picnic tomorrow!

Who vs which vs that
WHO vsWhich vsthat

  • You would use that when you're referring to a thing, although it's acceptable to use it when you're referring to a group of people.

  • Use who when you're referring to a person.

  • Which is a little more tricky, but it's generally used for a secondary thought or clause. For example, "The video game, which was bloody and violent, was popular with kids."

Whose vs who s

  • Whose is possessive. We're talking about something that belongs to someone else. Sometimes it can also refer to which rather than whom. For example, you might ask, "Whose angry squid is this?"

  • Who'sis a contraction. We could transform it into who is or who has. For example, the sentences "Who's feeding the angry squid?" and "Who is feeding the angry squid?" are both correct.

Yay vs yea vs yeah

  • Yea is an archaic word that is rarely used any more. It rhymes with "nay," and the only time you'd really want to use it is when you're voting. Or when you want to say "yea verily" or something like that.

  • Yeahis that casual version of "yes" that we use all the time. “Oh, yeah”

  • Yayis an exclamation of joy or excitement, as in “yay, we won!”

Your vs you re

  • Your is possessive. There is no apostrophe in this possessive pronoun when you add an "s" at the end. Yours is correct, your's is wrong.

  • You're is a contraction of "you are." If you ever get confused with your and you're, try rewording the sentence with you are. If you are totally changes the meaning of the sentence and makes it sound stupid (like "This is you are book"), you know you should be using your instead.