Accept is a verb: except is a preposition
They accepted my invitation.
Everyone attended the meeting except the secretary.
Advice is a noun; advise is a verb.
His advice was useful.
I was advised to purchase a more economical car.
Affect is a verb; it means "to influence." Effect may be a verb or a noun. The verb effect means "to cause to happen "; the noun effect means "the result."
Pollution affects everyone.
Your tears do not affect me.
Your tears have no effect upon me.
Doctors have effected a cure for polio.
The effect of drugs is well known.
Most is used to form the superlative; it is used to modify nouns. Almost is an adverb.
Most people are honest.
He is the most unusual person I have ever met.
Almost everyone has a desire to succeed.
Almost all of the food was eaten.
already, all ready.
Already means "before the time specified." All ready means "completely prepared."
The movie had already begun by the time we arrived.
The members were all ready to hear the report.
altogether, all together.
Altogether means "thoroughly". All together means "in a group."
The thought of a third world war is altogether frightening.
The children were all together on the bus.
Use amount to refer to thing sin bulk or mass; number refers to the countable.
Wrong : I was amazed by the amount of people present.
Right : I was amazed by the number of people present.
Right : The amount of money needed was soon collect.
and which, which
Wrong : I found a lost dog and which needs a good home.
Right : I found a lost dog which needs a good home.
Wrong : My father is a good man and whom we all love deeply.
Right : My father is a good man whom we all love deeply and whom we admire.
Anywheres is very informal
Wrong : We can talk anywheres.
Right : We can talk anywhere.
Wrong : He arrived around ten o'clock.
Right : He arrived about ten o'clock.
as. Avoid using as instead of because, for, since, that, or whether.
Wrong : As he was ill, he stayed home.
Right : Because he was ill, he stayed home.
Since he was ill, he stayed home.
He stayed home, for he was ill.
Wrong : I feel as I should go.
Right : I feel that I should go.
at. Omit the " at "
Wrong : Where is he living at now ?
Right : Where is he living now ?
at about. Omit the "at ".
Wrong : He arrived at about noon.
Right : He arrive about noon.
because. Do not begin a noun clause with because.
Wrong : Because he was late annoyed the teacher
Right : His lateness annoyed the teacher.
Right : The fact that he was late annoyed the teacher.
Wrong : Because I overate was why I became ill.
Right : Because I overate, I became ill.
Besides means "in addition to". Beside means "next to."
He sat beside the pretty girl.
He owes a bicycle besides a car.
Among always implies more than two; between implies only two.
Wrong : There is little difference between the members of the class.
Right : There is little difference among the members of the class.
Right : There is little difference between the two nationalities.
but, hardly, scarcely. Do not use these words with another negative.
Wrong : I couldn't hardly see him.
Right : I could hardly see him.
Wrong : He didn't have but one dollar.
Right : He had but one dollar..
different from ( not different than )
The result was much different from what I expected.
equally as good is not correct. Use either equally good or as good as.
Wrong : The movie is equally as good as the play.
Right : The movie and the play are equally good.
Right : The movie is as good as the play.
expect and suppose (or think) have different meanings.
Wrong : I expect that she will be here.
Right : I suppose (or think) that she will be here.
Right : I expect to be late.
Right : They expect us to help them.
farther, further. Farther pertains to distance; further is used to express additional time, degree, or quantity.
Chicago is farther north than Fort Worth.
We traveled farther yesterday than the day before.
I will give you further information later.
The president had nothing further to reveal.
fewer, less. Fewer refers to number, to the countable. Less refers to value, degree, or amount.
The class consists of fewer than fifteen students.
Fewer girls become engineers than boys.
He spends less time on his studies than on his golf game.
Wrong : Less people speak Thai than English.
Right : Fewer people speak Thai than English.
had better, would rather express advisability or preference. Do not omit the auxiliary.
Wrong : You better pay attention to what I am saying.
Right : You had better pay attention to what I am saying.
half a, a half are correct. Do not use a half a.
Wrong : She ate a half a sandwich.
Right : She ate half a sandwich (or a half sandwich)
hanged, hung. Hanged refers to executions.
The murderer was hanged for his crime.
The wall was hung with photographs.
He hung his clothes in the closet.
healthful, healthy. Healthy usually means "having health." Healthful means "giving health."
Vitamins are healthful.
I want to buy a healthy kitten.
in, into. In indicates " location within." Into indicates "motion or direction."
Wrong : She stepped in the car.
Right : She stepped into the car.
in back of, in between are incorrect. Omit the "in."
Wrong : Mary was standing in between two chairs.
Right : Mary was standing between two chairs.
Right : Back of the library is Allen Hall.
in regards to is not correct. Say in regard to, as regards, or regarding.
Wrong : She spoke to me in regards to my grades.
Right : She spoke to me in regard to (or as regards, regarding) my grades.
inside of, outside of are incorrect. Omit the "of." Do not confuse inside of with within.
Wrong : He lives outside of the city.
Right : He lives outside the city.
Wrong : The meeting will be over inside of an hour.
Right : The meeting will be over within an hour.
Wrong : The children are to remain inside of the house.
Right : The children are to remain inside the house.
its, it's. It's is a contraction of it is. Its is a possessive pronoun.
It's essential that we leave on time.
Its habits have been studied in detail.
kind, sort are singular words which may be modified by that or this.
Wrong : I like these kind of students.
Right : I like this kind of student.
Right : These kinds of machines are very useful.
Wrong : Those sort of people amuse me.
Right : That sort of person amuses me.
kind of a, sort of a. Omit "a."
Wrong : What sort of a wife is she?
Right : What sort of wife is she?
kind of, sort of are sometimes confused with the word "somewhat."
Wrong : The record was kind of expensive.
Right : The record was somewhat expensive.
later, latter. Latter refers to the last name of two. Do not use latter if more than two are named. Later is the comparative of late.
Wrong : John, Mary, and Susan entered the room.
The latter was carrying a typewriter.
Right : John, Mary, and Susan entered the room.
The last named was carrying a typewriter.
Right : There are a typewriter and a pencil sharpener on the desk.
The latter needs to be repaired.
lay, lie. The verb lay has an object; the verb lie does ot have an object. The principal parts of the verb lay are: lay (present), laid (past), laid (past participle), and laying (present participle ). The principal parts of the verb lie are: lie (present), lay (past), lain (past participle), and lying (present participle).
Wrong : I always lay down after I eat dinner.
Right : I always lie down after I eat dinner. (present tense)
Wrong : He laid down because he had a headache.
Right : He lay down because he had a headache. (past tense
Wrong : The books are laying on the table.
Right : The books are lying on the table (present paticiple)
Right : The teacher laid her books on her desk. (past tense)
Right : The boys have lain under the tree for several hours. (past participle)
Right : She has laid her head on the pillow. (past participle)
Right : Her head lies on the pillow. (present tense)
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leave, let are sometimes confused.
Wrong : She will not leave me smoke inside the classroom.
Right : She will not let me smoke inside the classroom.
Right : Leave (or let) me alone.
lend, loan. Lend is a verb; loan is a noun.
Wrong : Would you loan me your pencil.
Right : Would you lend me your pencil.
Right : He went to the bank to take out a loan.
like, as, as if. Like is a preposition; as, as if (or as though) are conjunctions. As is also a preposition when it means "in the capacity of."
Wrong : She doesn't study like she should.
Right : She doesn't study as she should.
Wrong : She acts like she doesn't understand.
Right : She acts as if (or as though) she doesn't understand.
Right : As a member of the organization, I have a right to vote.
Right : He eats like a bird.
lose, loose. Lose is a verb. Loose means "not tight."
She will lose weight if she goes on a diet.
One of the buttons on my shirt is loose.
maybe, may be. Maybe means "perhaps." May be is a verb form.
Wrong : May be the meeting will be cancelled.
Right : Maybe the meeting will be cancelled.
Right : The meeting may be cancelled.
myself, himself, yourself are reflexive pronouns. Do not use them unless they refer back to the subject.
Wrong : No one attended the meeting besides ourselves.
Right : No one attended the meeting besides us.
Wrong : A man like himself deserves praise.
Right : A man like him deserves praise.
Wrong : Only John and myself witnessed the accident.
Right : Only John and I witnessed the accident.
Right : I wrote the composition by myself.
Right : They themselves did the research.
(or They did the research themselves.)
off of. Omit "of."
He fell off the horse.
out loud is not correct. Say aloud.
Wrong : He sang out loud.
Right : He sang aloud.
passed, past. Passed is a verb.
Wrong : She past me the salt.
Right : She passed me the salt.
Right : One can learn from his past experiences.
Right : He lives in the past.
percentage, percent. Use percent after a number.
Wrong : A large percent of his salary is spent on food.
Right : A large percentage of his salary is spent on food.
Right : He spends twenty percent of his income for rent.
prefer is not followed by the preposition than.
Wrong : I prefer chocolate ice cream than vanilla.
Right : I prefer chocolate ice cream to vanilla.
Right : I prefer chocolate ice cream rather than vanilla.
principal, principle. Principal is a noun or an adjective meaning "chief official "or " main." Principle is a noun, meaning "fundamental truth."
He followed basic scientific principles.
He is a man of few principles.
The principal side effect of the drug is drowsiness.
My principal objection to smoking is its danger to health.
quiet, quite. Quite means "completely." Do not use quite instead of very, rather, or somewhat.
Wrong : The apartment is quite expensive.
Right : The apartment is very (rather, somewhat) expensive.
Right : We must be quiet inside the library.
Right : You are quite wrong.
raise, rise. The verb rise does not have an object. The verb raise has an object. The principal parts of the verb rise are: rise (present), rose (past), risen (past participle), and rising (present participle). The principal pars of the verb raise are: raise (present), raised (past), raised (past participle), and raising (present participle).
He raised his hand before asking the question. (past tense)
Some questions were raised about income taxes. (past participle)
Should a gentleman rise when a lady enters the room? (present tense)
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. (present tense)
After finishing dinner, he rose from the table. (past tense)
God has risen from the dead. (past participle)
The sun is rising high in the sky. (present participle)
reason ..... because is not correct. Say reason ..... that
Wrong : The reason I came late was because I overslept.
Right : The reason I came late was that I overslept.
Wrong : The reason that he makes poor grades is because of his poor study habits.
Right : The reason that (or why) he makes poor grades is his poor study habits.
says, said. Said is the past tense.
Wrong : John ran into the room and says, "There is a stranger outside."
Right : John ran into the room and said, "There is a stranger outside."
seldom ever, seldom or ever are incorrect. Use seldom if ever or hardly ever.
Wrong : He seldom ever plays tennis.
Right : He seldom if ever (or hardly ever) plays tennis.
sit, set. Sit does not take an object; set takes an object.
The principal parts of the verb sit are: sit (present), sat (past), sat (past participle), and sitting (present participle). The principal parts of the verb set are: set (present), set (past), set (past participle), and setting (present participle).
The old man is sitting under the tree. (present participle)
She set the chair beside the window. ( past tense )
He sat down to rest. (past tense)
They set a date for the meeting. (past tense)
Sit here. (present tense)
The guests are sitting at the table. (present participle)
so that. So that refers to "purpose." Do not omit "that."
Wrong : He came here so he could study English.
Right : He came here so that he could study English.
such. Do not use such to mean "very." In a result clause; such should be followed by that.
Wrong : New York is such a crowded city.
Right : New York is a very crowded city.
Right : New York is such a crowded city that I wouldn't like to live there.
superior is followed by the preposition to ( not than ).
Wrong : My toothpaste is superior than the other brands on the market.
Right : My toothpaste is superior to the other brands on the market.
sure and try are not followed by and.
Wrong : Be sure and study for the test.
Right : Be sure to study for the test.
Wrong : Try and get some rest.
Right : Try to get some rest.
that. Do not omit that in noun clause.
Wrong : My objective to smoking is it is dangerous to health.
Right : My objective to smoking is that it is dangerous to health.
Wrong : He assured me he understood my problem and he would try to help me.
Right : He assured me that he understood my problem and that he would try to help me.
their, there, they're.
They're over there beside the cabinet.
I am not interested in their motives.
There was nothing left to do.
There are several reasons for his actions.
They're coming later this afternoon.
to, too, two
It isn't urgent to write a report.
The actress was too nervous to go on stage.
There were two cars involved in the accident.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
type of. Do not omit "of."
Wrong : That type movie depresses me.
Right : That type of movie depresses me.
used to, supposed to. Do not omit the -d.
Wrong : He is suppose to be here by six.
Right : He is supposed to be here by six.
wait on means " =to serve." Do not confuse with wait for.
Wrong : She waited on me for half an hour.
Right : She waited for me for half an hour.
Right : The clerk waited on several customers during the morning.
want is not followed by a clause.
Wrong : She wants that I help her.
Right : She wants me to help her.
Wrong : If I was taller, I could play basketball.
Right : If I were taller, I could play basketball.
Right : I was a basketball player when I was in college.
when refers to "time."Do not use when to introduce a noun clause.
Wrong : When I miss my bus causes me to be late.
Right : When I miss my bus, I am late.
where refers to "place." Do not use where meaning that.
Wrong : I read in the newspaper where the President is going to veto the proposed law.
Right : I read in the newspaper that the President is going to veto the proposed law.
while refers to "time." Do not use while meaning but or and.
Wrong : My brother is a pilot while my sister is a teacher..
Right : My brother is a pilot, and my sister is a teacher.
Wrong : While my family is not rich, we have many advantages.
Right : My family is not rich, but we have many advantages.
Right : While you were out, someone called and left a message.
who's, whose. Who's means who is. Whose is a possessive.
Wrong : She is a woman who's advice is easy to follow.
Right : She is a woman whose advice is easy to follow.
Right : Do you know who's giving the party ?