The transition from spoken to written language can often be a bumpy one because the way we talk tends to be a lot less formal than the way we write. When we try to translate spoken ideas into writing, it is often hard to remember correct grammar. Also, we hear incorrect grammar used so often that correct grammar might sound odd or even wrong to us… [via]
Accept vs Except
-Accept is a verb meaning to receive.
-Except is usually a preposition meaning excluding.
Affect vs Effect
-Affect is usually a verb meaning to influence.
-Effect is usually a noun meaning result.
Allusion vs Illusion
-An Allusion is an indirect reference. (to allude/reference something)
-An illusion is a misconception or false impression.
Capital vs Capitol
-Capital refers to a city, capitol to a building where lawmakers meet.
(Capital also refers to wealth or resources.)
Climactic vs Climatic
-Climactic is derived from climax, the point of greatest intensity in a series or progression of events.
-Climatic is derived from climate; it refers to meteorological conditions.
Elicit vs Illicit
-Elicit is a verb meaning to bring out or to evoke.
-Illicit is an adjective meaning unlawful.
Emigrate from vs Immigrate to
-Emigrate means to leave one country or region to settle in another. In 1900, my grandfather emigrated from Russia.
-Immigrate means to enter another country and reside there. Many Mexicans immigrate to the U.S. to find work.
Emigrate begins with the letter E, as does Exit. When you emigrate, you exit a country.
Immigrate begins with the letter I, as does In. When you immigrate, you go into a country
Principle vs Principal
-Principal is a noun meaning the head of a school or an organization or a sum of money.
-Principle is a noun meaning a basic truth or law. The principal taught us many important life principles.
To recognize the spelling of Principal first think of yourself as a greedy opportunist. You definitely would want to be a pal of anyone who is in a position of power or anything to do with money. This principal has pal in it.
Than vs Then
-Than is a conjunction used in comparisons
-Then is an adverb denoting time.
(That pizza is more than I can eat. Tom laughed, and then we recognized him.)
There vs Their vs They’re
-There is an adverb specifying place; it is also an expletive. Adverb: Sylvia is lying there unconscious. Expletive: There are two plums left.
-Their is a possessive pronoun.
-They’re is a contraction of they are. Fred and Jane finally washed their car. They’re later than usual today.
-If you are using there to tell the reader where, both words have h-e-r-e. Here is also a place.
-If you are using their as a possessive pronoun, you are telling the reader what ”they own. Their has h-e-i-r, which also means heir, as in someone who inherits something. Both words have to do with ownership.
-They’re is a contraction of they are. Sound out they are in the sentence and see if it works. If it does not, it must be one of the previous versions.
To vs Too vs Two
-To is a preposition; too is an adverb; two is a number.
-Too many of your shots slice to the left, but the last two were right on the mark.
Your vs You’re
-Your is a possessive pronoun; you’re is a contraction of you are.
(You’re going to catch a cold if you don’t wear your coat.)
Lie is an intransitive verb meaning to recline or rest on a surface. Its principal parts are lie, lay, lain. Lay is a transitive verb meaning to put or place. Its principal parts are lay, laid.
Hint: Chickens lay eggs. I lie down when I am tired.
Set is a transitive verb meaning to put or to place. Its principal parts are set, set, set. Sit is an intransitive verb meaning to be seated. Its principal parts are sit, sat, sat. She set the dough in a warm corner of the kitchen. The cat sat in the warmest part of the room.
Who, Which, That
Do not use which to refer to persons. Use who instead. That, though generally used to refer to things, may be used to refer to a group or class of people. I just saw a boy who was wearing a yellow banana costume. I have to go to math next, which is my hardest class. Where is the book that I was reading?
Supposed to: Do not omit the d. Suppose to is incorrect.
Used to: Same as above. Do not write use to.
Toward: There is no s at the end of the word.
Anyway: Also has no ending s. Anyways is nonstandard.
Couldn’t care less: Be sure to make it negative. (Not I could care less.)
All walks of life: Not woks of life. This phrase does not apply to oriental cooking.
Chest of drawers: Not chester drawers.
For all intents and purposes: Not intensive purposes.