My English teacher once told me that everybody has a word that annoys them, a word whose meaning they keep forgetting or a word whose spelling they just aren’t able to learn. My thoughts on this were “That’s impossible! Once you know what your mistake is you can correct it and never make it again.” But, there he was, an amazing teacher, knowledge passer and a tutor who had troubles at spelling the word necessary, never knowing how many Cs or how many Ss there were. Some of the words we misuse are interesting; most of the time word misusage creates a funny situation marking a birthday party, a going out or a lunch break; however, there are those that will get us in an uncomfortable situation, not purposely offending someone or just being inappropriate.
Lose Vs. Loose
A very common mistake is to spell “lose” with “oo”. This might be due to the fact that “lose” sounds like as it should be spelled with “oo” as it is the case with “tooth”, “roof”, “proof” etc. It is easy to get confused, especially if your spellchecker is Microsoft Office Word; Ginger doesn’t do much better either. They simply love to change it for you, so stay alert.
Not actually misspelled often but used in a wrong sense. I’ve got your back used literally would get you into trouble, wouldn’t it? People just literally love to exaggerate.
We all love them, don’t we? Easy to speak, easy to write, so what’s the catch? When having a foreign client or when writing for broader audience it is wise to avoid contracted forms. The reason is that you can’t guess you reader’s level, or your correspondent for that matter, and those not so good at English will have difficulties figuring out is your we’d actually would or had, and she’s is or has.
Affect and Effect
Clarifications for this one are all over the Internet; from going into the grammar, syntax and pragmatics of the English language to defining the words. The easiest solution would maybe be to remember example sentences and apply them when in need.
Your actions affect others. What you’re doing has no effect.
Who vs. Whom.
The Oatmeal comics have an excellent poster for explaining this one. The rule of the thumb comes down to the usage being:
he = who
him = whom
why: find here.
Espresso vs. Expresso
There is no doubt you got goose bumps hearing someone ordering their coffee saying the magic word “Expresso” . There is a way you can teach people how to pronounce it right and never forget it.
Conversate, enormity and bemused vs. amused
My friend, even though she hasn’t got a clue about language use, should know that conversate is not a word and that enormity means evil, not enormous.
And what seems even worse, on one occasion I kept hearing people saying how bemused they were about something where conversation context had nothing to do with confusion. The only one bemused was me. A sense of relief followed when I found out that they are actually expressing their amusement but with a completely wrong word. It still worries me though that this is a growing trend.
Hopefully, this text will make you wonder or make you remember if you have any of the words that bug you or maybe you didn’t even know you used or spelled incorrectly.