• Home
  • About
  • Site Map/Index
  • Feedback
  • Resources
  • Quotations
  • Spelling
  • Examples from the Real World
  • Grammar
  • News & Updates
  • Pronunciation
  • Punctuation
  • Word Choice
  • Word Choice

    affect/effect

    These words are often confused because of their related meanings but differing spellings.

    Affect is a verb meaning “to influence.”

    Effect can be both a verb and a noun. (more…)

    Leave a response to “affect/effect”


    alter/altar

    Alter and altar can be easily confused because of their one-letter spelling difference. Usually writers know which meaning they want to convey, but they can’t remember which spelling goes with which word.

    Alter (with an “e”) is to change or make something different. Altar (with an “a”) has the religious meaning of a place of sacrifice or center of worship.

    Here’s a tip for remembering the difference between the two:

    Alter is an action, so it requires effort; effort is a word that starts with the letter “e”.

    Leave a response to “alter/altar”


    anecdote/antidote

    Though anecdote and antidote have very different definitions, they look and sound similar enough to be confusing.

    An anecdote is a short narrative, often personal and used to illustrate a point.

    Stand-up comedians often use humorous anecdotes as part of their shtick.

    An antidote is something that remedies or relieves.

    “Concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety.” – Jack Nicklaus

    Leave a response to “anecdote/antidote”


    antidote

    See anecdote/antidote.

    Leave a response to “antidote”


    anyway/anyways

    Do you say anyway or anyways? What’s the difference between them? (more…)

    Leave a response to “anyway/anyways”


    awhile/a while

    Stay for awhile… or “Stay for a while?

    Is a while (written as two words) correct, or should it be awhile (written as one word)? Both forms are correct, though it depends on how each is used in a sentence.

    Object of a preposition:
    A while
    (two words) should be used when while is serving as the object of a preposition:
    Stay for a while. (For is the preposition.)

    Adverb:
    Awhile
    (one word) should be the choice when being used as an adverb in a sentence:
    Stay awhile.

    Though there is a difference between the two forms, it’s common to see them used interchangeably.

    Leave a response to “awhile/a while”


    bad/badly

    Do you feel bad or badly?

    Should you want something bad or badly?

    Whether to use bad or badly can be determined by identifying the type of verb in the sentence and understanding how bad and badly differ as parts of speech.

    (more…)

    Leave a response to “bad/badly”


    bring/take

    Bring and take are very easily confused as their meanings are similar. To prevent confusing these two words, remember that bring means to carry something towards yourself, while take means to carry something away from yourself.

    (more…)

    Leave a response to “bring/take”


    Chester drawers/chest of drawers

    Chester Drawers

    This was a post on Facebook.

    This is both a pronunciation and spelling issue. From hearing the mispronunciation, many assume that the word is “Chester drawers” (as if Chester were a brand name) and write it as such. But it is actually three words: “chest of drawers” (a chest made up of several drawers).

    Leave a response to “Chester drawers/chest of drawers”


    complimentary/complementary

    Is it a complimentary gift or a complementary gift?1

    Were you paid a compliment or a complement?2

    Do peanut butter and jelly compliment or complement each other?3 (more…)

    Leave a response to “complimentary/complementary”