Several years ago I was dubbed the “Comma Queen” by some of my closest friends and colleagues (who shall remain nameless for now :-)). I do happen to love them dearly.
The reason for this interesting nickname was due to the fact that they would always ask me to proof-read (one of my favorite things to do) documents, letters, fliers, etc., and invariably I would add the needed commas, as well as fix the misspelled words and such.
I love to read, and while I have never claimed to be an English major (as my teachers would attest), it bothers me when I come across poorly written English. Now, with that being said, there are a lot of great writers…I love to read their stuff…and yet even they misuse punctuation and sometimes make common word usage mistakes.
So, while I don’t claim to be an expert writer (okay, I don’t claim to be a writer period!), there are some word usage mistakes that truly make me cringe!
There vs. Their
This totally gets me in a dither when I see a sentence talking about people’s stuff and it’s referred to as ‘there’ stuff. The word there means - reference to the existence of something; a place or position. The word their means – possessive adjective indicating a particular noun belongs to them.
So, the correct usage of each of these words in a sentence would be:
You will find an interesting post over there.
You will find an interesting post on their blog.
Your vs. You’re
Now this one really gets to me. LOL The word your refers to something that belongs to you. It is the possessive form of you and is typically used before a noun. The word you’re is a contraction of you are.
Here’s how they should be used in a sentence:
I truly enjoyed reading your blog post.
You’re very good at keeping readers engaged.
To vs. Too
You know, this is probably one of the most abused word usage mistakes in the world today. Okay, maybe I’m over-exaggerating a little, but seriously! The word to means – in the direction of or at; used with the base form of a verb to show the verb is in the infinitive. The word too means - very, as well, also.
The correct way to use these words would be:
Why don’t you head on over to check out this website.
We would love to share it with you too.
Last, but not least…
Lose vs. Loose
These words are used so interchangeably that I don’t think people truly realize they are making this word usage mistake most of the time. The word lose means - to be deprived of or cease to have; to cause someone to fail to gain or retain something. The word loose means - not firmly or tightly fixed in place; to release or set free.
So, the correct way to use these words are:
Please don’t lose the changes I just made to this post!
Make sure your boat doesn’t come loose from its mooring.
While the title says there are four, I decided to give you a bonus word usage mistake that is also sorely abused and really makes my “Comma Queen” neck hairs stand on end!
Affect vs. Effect
The word affect means - to have an effect on; make a difference to; an emotion or desire. The word effect means - to bring about; to cause something to happen; a change that is a result of an action or cause.
Here’s how to use these correctly:
The Empower Network has had a profound affect on our lives.
In effect, it has completely changed our focus.
As stated previously, I do not claim to be a writer, and I’m sure that if you look real close you just might catch me in a mistake or two on this blog. It happens to the best (or worst) of us! But, I do like to have fun, and my hope would be that you’ve taken this in the way it’s intended.
What are some of your word usage mistake pet peeves?
We would love to hear about them, so please share in the comments below!