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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Commonly Misused and Confused Words

Happy Writer Wednesday!

As a reader, nothing makes me cringe harder than reading a book where the author has mixed up or misused certain words. As an author, I get that it happens. It took me a long time to get "Its" and "It's" down! English is a tricky language, and there are as many rules as their are words. 

It can be frustrating. 

Some of the most common offenders are listed in the graphic above. If you can memorize which indicates possession and which are contractions, you're halfway there!

Here are a few other common offenders: 

affect vs effect: affect means to influence something, effect means to accomplish something. Effect is also the result of something (cause and effect).
accept vs except: accept means to take something, except means to exclude something.
farther vs further: farther is a physical distance. further is an extent.
lie vs lay: you can lie down, but you lay an object down.
sit vs set: same as above. You can sit down, but you set an object down.
rein, reign, and rain: Rain falls. You reign as a king/queen. You rein something in (such as a horse).
breath vs breathe: You take a breath. You breathe something in.
vise vs vice: In American English, one is a tool or grip (vise). The other is a fault (vice).
blond vs blonde: Blond without an "e" is reserved for males. Blonde with an "e" is for females.

Which words do you struggle to keep straight?

You can check out Wikipedia's fairly exhaustive list of commonly confused and misused words here if you need a little more help with keeping various words straight.

You can also check out Hayley Milliman's article over at ProWritingAid for a list of the Ten Best Websites to Improve Your Grammar if you need more help.

Irene Fenswick has also compiled a list of 150 English Grammar Tools you can bookmark for extra grammar help!

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