Correct Word Usage 2


Say / Tell

Say is a transitive verb meaning to express in words
Ex: I said that she should stay home tonight.

Tell is an intransitive verb also meaning to express in words
I told him to stay home but he didn't listen.
(NEVER told to him)

Sit / Set

Sit is an intransitive verb meaning to rest on something.
Ex: Sit on the bench and not on the grass.

Set is a transitive verb meaning to place something.
Ex: She set the soup and spoons on the table.

Speak / Speech

Speak is a verb meaning 'to say out loud'
Ex: Speak louder. I can't hear you!

Speech is a noun meaning 'what is said aloud'
Politicians give the same boring speech over and over again when running for political office.

Than / Then

Than is a conjunction used in comparisons
Ex: She is taller than her sister.

Then as an adjective or adverbial conjunction relates to time
Ex: First we will work; then we will go out for lunch.

Watch / See

Watch is a transitive verb meaning 'to look at or observe carefully'
Ex: He watched his grand children playing in the yard

See is a transitive verb meaning 'to perceive with the eye'
Ex: He saw the children go into the house.

Accept / Except / Expect

Accept is a verb that means to receive or take or to give a positive answer to a proposition or offer.
Ex: Do you accept travelers checks (receive, take)
Susan accepted his offer of a job. (gave a positive answer)
The club accepted three new members. (received)
Except as a preposition, meaning with the exception of. (Commonly used)
Everybody except John went to the party. (John didn't go)
Except as a verb means, to exclude, to keep out. (Rarely used)
The boys excepted Frank from their club.(They did not accept him)

Expect is a verb that means, waiting for something to happen or 'believed to be the state of something'
Ex: She expected her husband home from work at any minute.
I expect you are hungry after such a long trip

Advice / Advise

(note spelling differences between British English and American English)
Advise is a verb.
Ex: The doctor advised her to quit smoking.

Advice is a noun.
Ex: She gave me some good advice.

All ready / Already

All ready is an adjective phrase meaning completely ready.
Ex: We were all ready to leave at eight o'clock.

Already is an adverb of time meaning by or before a specific time.
Ex: They had already left by three o'clock.
He had already eaten when I arrived. (before I arrived)

Altogether / All Together

Altogether is an adverb meaning completely.
Ex: I am altogether upset with you.

All together is an adjective phrase meaning in a group.
Ex: The children sang a song all together.

Besides / Beside

The preposition besides means except.
Ex: Everyone besides Jane went to the party.

The preposition beside means next to.
EX: Jane was standing beside me. (NOT: besides me)

Cloth / Clothes

Cloth is a noun (usually as a non-count noun) that means material or fabric.
Ex: She bought some cloth to make a new dress.

Clothes is a plural count noun meaning 'garments used to cover the body.'
Ex: She bought a lot of clothes in Paris.
I feel nice when I wear new clothes.

Desert / Dessert

A desert is 'a dry area with little vegetation and rainfall.'
Ex: The Sahara desert in Africa is the largest in the world.

A dessert is 'sweet food usually eaten after a meal.'
We had chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert.

Differ from / Differ with

To differ from is 'to be dissimilar.'
Ex: Men differ from women physically.

To differ with is 'to disagree with.'
Ex: I differ with you on this issue. (I disagree with you)

Emigrate / Immigrate

To emigrate means, 'to leave one country to live in another.'
Ex: My grandfather emigrated from Europe to the USA in 1864.

To immigrate means, 'to move to a new country'
Many countries are facing difficulties due to the increased number of immigrants living in them.
*It's probably easiest to remember that to emigrate means to leave a country while immigrate means to enter to live.

Farther / Further

Farther means 'towards a more distant point in space' (actual distance)
The beach is a few miles farther away.

Further means towards a more distant point in time, degree, or quantity. (figurative distance)
Ex: Let us consider this problem a bit further. (time)
We should do further research on this matter. (quantity)
Be careful not to excite the children any further. (degree)

Formally / Formerly

Formally means in a formal way.
Ex: He was formally charged with the crime.

Formerly means previously, or at an earlier time.
She was formerly a dancer in a club.

Healthful / Healthy

Healthful means good for ones health.
Ex: Vegetables and fruits are healthful foods.

Healthy means in a good condition of health.
Ex: Due to their outdoor lifestyle, all of his children are healthy.

Illusion / Allusion

An illusion is a false idea or unreal image.
Ex: The magician's illusion convinced the crowd that he was flying.

An allusion is an indirect reference.
Ex: The professor made an allusion to modern art.

Imply / Infer

To imply is to suggest without saying directly.
A speaker or writer can imply.
Susan implied that she was not happy with her studies.

To infer is to to make a conclusion based on evidence not stated.
Only a listener or reader can infer.
I inferred from the report that our taxes would be raised again.

Its / It's

Its is the singular possessive pronoun for things.
The car had its tires stolen last night.

It's is the contraction for it is.
It's a nice day today. (It is a nice day today.)

Leave / Let

To leave means, to go away from.
Ex: He leaves work at five o'clock every day.

To let means, to permit.
Ex: Jane let me borrow her bike.

Loose / Lose

The adjective loose means not tight.
Ex: This shirt is too loose. I need a smaller size.

To lose is a verb meaning to leave (forget) behind by accident.
Ex: I often lose my house keys.

Most / Almost

The adjective most is the superlative form of many or much meaning the largest number or amount.
Ex: Most coffee comes from Brazil.

Almost is an adverb meaning not quite, or very nearly or nearly all.
Ex: Almost all the students are here.
He is almost ready to leave.
He almost won the race.

Plane / Plain

The noun plane usually means airplane.
Ex: His plane arrives in New York at 9:00am.

The adjective plain means simple,not fancy.
Ex: Her dress was very plain.

Principal / Principle

The adjective principal means chief or very important.
The noun principal means chief official.

The principal reason for his failure was lack of support.
I am the principal of this school.
The noun principle means fundamental truth.
He is studying the principles of accounting.

Quiet / Quite

Quiet is an adjective meaning not noisy.
Ex: It was a very quite party.

Quite is an adverb meaning completely or to a degree.
Ex: He is quite upset today.
He is quite short.

Respectfully / Respectively

Respectfully means with respect.
Ex: The audience rose respectfully when the President entered.

Respectively means in the order given.
Ex: The Suttons lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York respectively.

So / So that

So is a conjunction joining a clause of result to a main clause.
Ex: It rained a lot last year, so there were lots of wildflowers to enjoy.

So that joins a clause of purpose to a main clause.
We wore raincoats so that we would not get our clothes wet.

Stationary / Stationery

Stationary means in a fixed position.
Ex: The car was stationary parked in the driveway.

Stationery refers to writing supplies.
Ex: That stationery store sells writing paper, envelopes and office supplies.

Their / There / They're

Their is the third-person plural possessive pronoun.
Ex: They sold their car last week.

There is (1) an adverb of place or (2) an expletive that tells of existence.
Ex: Your package is there on the counter.
There are fifty states in United States.

There're is the contraction of they are.
Ex: They're ready to see you now.

To / Too / Two

To is (1) part of the infinitive form or (2) a preposition.
Ex: I like to walk in the snow.
I walked to the park on Saturday.

Too is an adverb indicating an excess.
Ex: It is too cold to go swimming.

Two is a number (2).
Ex: I have two cats kitty and whiskers.

Weather / Whether

Weather is a noun meaning atmospheric conditions.
Ex: The weather was not nice enough to go out.

Whether is a conjunction meaning if.
Ex: I don't know whether he will stay at home or not.

Who's / Whose

Who's is the contraction for who is.
Ex: I don't know who's coming tonight.

Whose is (1) a question word or (2) a possessive relative pronoun.
Whose pen is this
I met the man whose child scored the winning goal.

Sponsered Links

All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2006-10