Here is a list of ten common word usage mistakes with explanations and examples of proper use:
1. There vs. Their vs. They’re
There is an indication of location.
Example: I want to see that book over there.
Their is a possessive version of they.
Example: They took their dog to the groomer.
They’re is a contraction, short for they are.
Example: They’re going to the theatre tonight.
2. A lot vs. Allot vs. Alot
A lot is an indication of amount.
Example: I have a lot of laundry to do.
Allot means to distribute.
Example: I will allot you two cookies.
Alot is not a word.
3. I.e. vs. E.g.
I.e. means “in other words.”
Example: Writing more articles increases your website traffic. I.e., it will bring you more exposure.
E.g. means “for example.”
Example: I have a lot of chores to do. E.g., laundry, dishes, vacuuming, dusting, etc.
4. To vs. Too vs. Two
To is a function word to indicate relative position.
Example: We took the dog to the vet.
Too can indicate excessiveness or in addition to.
Example: The chili was too spicy.
Example: I would like to go too.
Two is the number 2.
Example: I want two cookies.
5. Its vs. It’s
Its is the possessive version of it.
Example: Its door came off the hinges.
It’s is a contraction, short for “it is.”
Example: It’s a beautiful day.
6. You’re vs. Your
You’re is a contraction, short for “you are.”
Example: You’re the nicest person I’ve ever met.
Your describes the possessor as someone else.
Example: Your shirt is very wrinkled.
7. Loose vs. Lose
Loose is an adjective, the opposite of tight or contained.
Example: I have loose change in my pocket.
Lose is a verb that means “to suffer the loss of.”
Example: I hope I don’t lose my car keys.
8. Choose vs. Chose
Choose is a present tense verb meaning “to select.”
Example: I choose to eat healthy foods.
Chose is a past tense verb meaning “to select.”
Example: I chose to eat healthy foods.
9. Effect vs. Affect
Effect is usually a noun meaning “result.”
Example: The effect of increased traffic to your website is directly related to the number of articles you produce for syndication.
Affect is usually a verb meaning “to influence.”
Example: I hope this training series will affect you in a positive way.
10. Know vs. No vs. Now
Know is usually a verb meaning “to understand.”
Example: I know you are not coming to the movie.
No is a negative reply, refusal or disagreement.
Example: There is no problem with the car.
Now is usually an adverb meaning “at the present time or moment.”
Example: Now I can easily write and market my articles.