Some words to take care with

Before my exams my English teacher gave the class a list of words that are commonly mistaken when used. I was recently having a clean out and stumbled across the list and thought "Hey, this is actually quite useful" ,*1 and so I thought it was worth sharing.


  • Affect/effect, they're/there/their/ your/you're :
These are probably the most mistaken words, which in can proudly say that I'm able to distinguish between. 
Affect/effect for example is commonly confused. 'Affect' being a verb  can be replaced with another verb and still have the sentence make (partial) sense . And so, if you are unsure as to which one to use, replace it with a verb and see if the sentence makes sense. I personally use 'play' in times of doubt. Eg; the movie affected her / the movie played her. If a movie could play with something then the  sentence would make some sense. 'Effect' on the other hand is the aftermath or result of something. So when trialling your sentence, if you can replace 'effect' with 'aftermath/result of' them effect is your word.
'They're' and 'you're' = 'they are' & 'you are'. Break your sentence down and see if this is what you wanted. 

Something is over there, and is their belonging.'There' is for a place. Their is for an object that belongs to a subject. 
'Your' too is used for an object belonging to someone. 


  • Number/amount (much and many)

'Number' (and many) is used when you can count the number of the item you have. Eg the number of oranges.../ I had many oranges. Whilst amount ( and many) is used when the number isn't identifiable eg I had a large amount of orange rice, how much orange juice do you want?

Insure/ ensure
Insure is purely insurance based. So unless you're sorting out your car, ensure( make sure) that you use the correct term. 


  • Farther/further
'Farther' refers to a physical distance and would be used to describe something 'far-ther' than another thing. 'Further' is a less physical distance, so would be used in instances of time as distance here is more figurative than physical.


  • It's/ its 
This I some that I still haven't overcome completely, but according to this sheet it's is used in referral to it is and its in cases of ownership. It's sunny today makes sense. It is phone does not. Its is therefore used for ownership.

Some others include 'compliment/complement'. I compliment your outfit and dark lipsticks complement certain lips and skin tones.Girls have so many criteria for finding a guy but I have one criterion.*2
She walked around in a discreet(careful/cautious) manner, whilst taking very discrete ( individual/separate/distinct) steps.*3 There were very adverse weather conditions so in averse to going out we stayed indoors. She tried to elicit(bring out ) a response from the crowds about illicit (illegal/unlawful) drugs. Whose bag is that in the way? Who's ( who is) getting ready for school? A religious  person follows principles (fundamental) from religion. The principal (primary/first importance) value in a religion is belief in God.*4


Side notes and comments

*1 I did read over the list when it was given, I just never read into it properly. Reading over the list now was a little eye-opener for me.

*2 Recently the (unspoken,very hushed) topic amongst the youth has been weddings.Marriage and relationships are also always on my twitter feed; people are constantly talking about how " my man must be 6ft minimum" or "my girl must be this shape, this size" or something of the likes and so the idea spewed from there. I just felt like I needed to clear the air and make my thought-processes clear so it didn't sound like I was in in the talk or implying anything.

*3 I'm not sure if that actually makes sense. Does it make sense? Creating these sentences is more difficult than what it looks.

*4 Some are, some aren't. I just wanted to make aware the fact that info know that some religions do not believe in God. I am aware like that.

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