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Commonly Misused Words in the English Language

Updated on May 10, 2009

Misused Words: Is it Bear or Bare...?

Has anybody ever snapped at you for misusing a word? It's not nice to nitpick, but the truth is, you'll sound awfully funny if you use the wrong word. (I always want to giggle when I see "bear with me...")

If you're ever in doubt as to whether you're using the right word, you can always consult this list. I'll add to it as I think of more!

Accept vs. Except

Incorrect: "I except your gift."

Correct: "I accept your gift."

Accept means to receive something. Except means to exclude something.

Example: "I accept everything you're offering, except for the fruitcake."

Advice vs. Advise

Incorrect: "I didn't ask for your advise."

Correct: "I didn't ask for your advice."

Advise is a verb. Advice is a noun. You can advise someone, but you can't advice him.

Affect vs. Effect

Incorrect: "The rain has a bad affect on my mood."

Correct: "The rain has a bad effect on my mood."

The one that starts with an a, affect, is a verb. This is when something is ACTING upon something else. For example, "We don't know how the rising cost of pizza will affect the economy."

Effect is a noun. It's passive, not doing anything in particular; it's just there. For example, "The rising cost of pizza didn't have much effect."

Tip for remembering the difference: A is for Action! Action = Affect.

All Right vs. Alright

Sorry, but alright is incorrect. It's correctly spelled as two words: All right.

However, it could be argued that alright is appropriate for dialogue. It's closer to the way it sounds. Also, nobody should beat you up for writing alright in an online forum or chat room.

All right?

Alternately vs. Alternatively

Incorrect: "Alternately, we could buy a jet instead of a helicopter."

Correct: "Alternatively, we could buy a jet instead of a helicopter."

Alternatively is a word you use when you refer to an option, an alternative.

Alternately is where you do one thing after another in turn.

A Lot vs. A lot

A lot is correct. A lot, on the other hand, is NOT a real word.

Sorry, I can't even bring myself to defend a lot from a creative writing standpoint.

Assume vs. As Soon

Incorrect: "I'd just assume kiss a wookie."

Correct: "I'd just as soon kiss a wookie."

To assume means you're either making a supposition or taking possession of something. Example: "I assume she's kissing a wookie right now. By the way, I'm now assuming authority over the Falcon."

Bare vs. Bear

Incorrect: "Bare with me."

Correct: "Bear with me."

Hardly anyone chooses the wrong word if they're talking about grizzlies or teddy bears. But remember, the word bear has multiple meanings: It can refer to the animal, or it can mean carrying a burden. When you ask someone to bear with you, that means you're asking them to be patient.

Bare, on the other hand, means uncovered or naked. So when you write "Bare with me," you're really asking your readers to get naked. How embarrassing.

Bazaar vs. Bizarre

Incorrect: "There's something bazaar about that duck."

Correct: "There's something bizarre about that duck."

A bazaar is a marketplace.

Bizarre is another word to describe something that looks weird or outlandish.

Breach vs. Breech

Incorrect: "Failing to remove your shoes in a Japanese home is a serious breech of etiquette."

Correct: "Failing to remove your shoes in a Japanese home is a serious breach of etiquette."

Breech refers to your bottom, or to something that covers your bottom, i.e. a pair of pants.

Breach refers to an opening, a gap, or a vulnerability. It can also refer to infraction of some law or custom.

You could have a breach in your breeches, but not the other way around.

Censor vs. Censure

Incorrect: "The president was censored."

Correct: "The president was censured."

Censure is a strong, often formal reprimand.

Censor describes when something is suppressed or banned. It might also mean editing out things that people find offensive, such as swearing or racial slurs. Classic books such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn have been censored by schools.

Cheap vs. Cheep

Incorrect: "I bought this parrot for a cheep price."

Correct: "I bought this parrot for a cheap price."

Cheep is a chirp or a peeping noise, something you'd expect small birds to do.

Cheap means something that doesn't cost much. It can have negative meanings too, like miserly, shabby, of no value, etc.

Cite vs. Sight vs. Site

Incorrect: "You're a site for sore eyes."

Correct: "You're a sight for sore eyes."

Sight refers to either your vision or to something you see. For example, seeing the sights around town.

Site refers to a physical location, such as a house or a neighborhood. There are construction sites, for examples.

Cite means to quote something, usually something of authority. Citing can also be a case of mentioning supporting facts. Christians, for example, frequently cite the Bible as the foundation for their beliefs.

Climactic vs. Climatic

Incorrect: "Kind of anti-climatic."

Correct: "Kind of anti-climactic."

Climactic is the word you use to refer to a climax, the culmination, the high point.

Climatic refers to the climate, or weather conditions.

Coach vs. Couch

Incorrect: "Cinderella's fairy godmother turned the pumpkin into a couch."

Correct: "Cinderella's fairy godmother turned the pumpkin into a coach."

A couch is a large piece of furniture you lounge around on when you watch TV.

A coach is a horse-drawn carriage.

Compliment vs. Complement

Incorrect: "I complemented her on her good cooking."

Correct: "I complimented her on her good cooking."

When you pay someone a compliment, you are expressing admiration for something. You are complimenting someone when you tell him he gave a great speech, or when you tell him you like his Mickey Mouse watch.

However, a complement is something that enhances or completes something else. A nice tie complements a suit. A dessert of pumpkin pie complements a great turkey dinner.

Conceited vs. Concerted

Incorrect: "We have to make a conceited effort."

Correct: "We have to make a concerted effort."

Conceited means arrogant, full of yourself.

Concerted means doing something through cooperation. Many people working together for a common goal is a concerted effort.

Confidant vs. Confident

Incorrect: "I'm confidant this will work."

Correct: "I'm confident this will work."

You use the word confident when you're trying to say that you have a strong belief in something, or when you're feeling self-assured.

A confidant, on the other hand, is someone you confide in. You tell your confidant about your secrets and personal issues.

You just want to make sure you're confident that your confidant will keep your secrets.

Copyright vs. Copyright

Incorrect: "He writes for a living. I think he's a copyrighter."

Correct: "He writes for a living. I think he's a copywriter."

Copyright refers to legalities and exclusive rights. If something is copyrighted, that means you can't copy it or plagiarize it unless you want to risk getting in legal trouble.

A copywriter is someone who writes copy. Copy is written material, usually an ad of some kind.

Dessert vs. Desert

Incorrect: "We had chocolate cake for desert."

Correct: "We had chocolate cake for dessert."

Dessert refers to the scrumptious pies, cakes, and ice cream we get to eat if we finish dinner.

A desert is a dry, barren, often hot and sandy place.

It's easy to get the two mixed up, so here's how I remember the difference: Dessert comes AFTER dinner, so it's second. The word dessert has TWO S's.

E.G. vs. I.E.

The difference between E.G. and I.E. is subtle, but let's look at their root meanings:

E.G. stands for the Latin exempli gratia, which means "for example." So you might use it like this: "I love many different kinds of desserts, e.g. apple pie or chocolate cake."

I.E. is Latin for id est, which stands for "that is" or "in other words." So you might use it like this: "My favorite dessert is pie, i.e. apple pie."

Exercise vs. Exorcise

Incorrect: "We must exercise the demon!"

Correct: "We must exorcise the demon!"

Exercise is what you do on a treadmill. If you exercise a demon, it probably means you're taking him for a nice little jog.

Exorcise is when you banish or expel demons and ghosts, usually through a religious ceremony.

Fair vs. Fare

Incorrect: "Whoever said life was fare?"

Correct: "Whoever said life was fair?"

Fair refers to being free from bias or injustice. It can also mean pale or light-colored.

Fare refers to the price of a ticket for transportation (such as airfare), or it can refer to how something worked or played out. For example, "He fared well as a pirate."

Flair vs. Flare

Incorrect: "The dress had some flare."

Correct: "The dress had some flair."

Flair means a special talent or aptitude. It can also refer to elegance or style. You might have a flair for playing the piano, for example, or maybe that snappy tie gives your suit a certain flair.

Flare is something that fire does when it gets stronger. You would also use this word to describe something that starts suddenly and violently, such as a bad argument.

Flaunt vs. Flout

Incorrect: "They flaunted the rules."

Correct: "They flouted the rules."

When you flaunt something, that means you're showing it off. Like a little girl parading around and flaunting her doll to everyone she meets.

Flout is very different. It means showing disdain or scorn for something. While there are very few cases where people flaunt the rules, I'm sure you can name many incidents where someone flouted the rules.

Foul vs. Fowl

Incorrect: "I suspect fowl play."

Correct: "I suspect foul play."

Foul means something very bad, filthy, or disgusting--like a foul stench. It can also refer to ill intent or dishonesty.

Fowl is a chicken. If you detect "fowl play," that must mean the chickens are up to something.

Hear vs. Here

Incorrect: "Here, here!"

Correct: "Hear, hear!"

Here is a location; it refers to wherever we happen to be right now.

Hear refers to one of your five senses, the ability to recognize sound.

People confuse these words. The issue mostly comes up with the phrase "Hear, hear!," which is meant to call attention to a speaker's words. It also implies fervent agreement. It evolved from phrases like "Hear him!" and "Hear ye!"

Its vs. It's

Incorrect: "Its mine."

Correct: "It's mine."

Its is possessive. It's is a contraction of it is. Whenever you see that apostrophe, always translate it's to it is.

Sound out the sentence in your head. If sounds dumb to say it is in the sentence, then it's is incorrect.

Lay vs. Lie

Incorrect: "Now lie me down to sleep."

Correct: "Now lay me down to sleep."

Lay is used when something is being acted upon. Lie is something you do without anyone or anything doing something to you. Example: "I decided to lie down on the floor."

Here's where things get more confusing: The past tense of lie is lay. The past tense of lay is laid. Examples:

"I laid down the piggy bank."

"The piggy bank lay there yesterday."

Even I have a hard time keeping these words straight. Mixing up lay and laid isn't likely to get you barbecued by grouchy grammarians.

Just remember that laid is a misspelling, which means it's flat out wrong no matter what!

Loose vs. Lose

Incorrect: "I just know I'm going to loose this race."

Correct: "I just know I'm going to lose this race."

You can't use these spellings interchangeably: Not only are the meanings subtly different, they also SOUND different. Lose has more of a Z sound, while loose has more of a hiss to it.

Me vs. I

Incorrect: "Bob, Bill and me are going to the lake."

Correct: "Bob, Bill and I are going to the lake."

The official explanation of I vs. me makes my head hurt, so just follow this trick to figure out if "I" or "me" is correct in the sentence: Rephrase the sentence.

Let's take "Me and Bill are going to the lake" as an example. It's incorrect. Why? Get rid of Bill from this sentence for a minute. Does "Me is going to the lake" sound right? Of course not! "Me" does not agree with the structure of the sentence. That's why "Bill and I are going to the lake" is correct.

What about "Bob loves fried chicken more than I?" You're saying that you don't love fried chicken as much as Bob does.

However, if you were to say, "Bob loves fried chicken more than me," you're implying that Bob loves fried chicken more than he loves you. Ouch.

Moot vs. Mute

Incorrect: "The point is mute."

Correct: "The point is moot."

When you say something is mute, that means it can't speak. Moot, on the other hand, refers to something that is debatable or has little practical value.

Naval vs. Navel

Incorrect: "It was a great navel battle."

Correct: "It was a great naval battle."

Naval refers to ships, especially warships, or anything having to do with the navy.

Navel refers to the part of your body that collects lint.

No One vs. No one

Incorrect: "No one visits my website."

Correct: "No one visits my website."

Noone is not a word. Unless it's a result of someone typing super fast, this one baffles me. By mushing no one together like this, you're creating a word that would be pronounced "noon-eh" or "noon."

Peak vs. Peek vs. Pique

Let's begin by going over what these three words mean:

Peak means the highest point of something, such as the peak of a mountain.

Peek means to take a quick, often sneaky look at something.

Pique means to excite interest, but it can also mean being irritated.

Example: "He piqued my interest in the princess who lives on top of the mountain, so I decided to climb to the peak and have a peek for myself."

Per Say vs. Per Se

Incorrect: "I didn't mean that, persay."

Correct: "I didn't mean that, per se."

Per se is Latin for "in and of itself."

Persay is the way it sounds, but it's not the correct way to spell it.

Raise vs. Rise

Incorrect: "That noisy cheerleader could rise the dead!"

Correct: "That noisy cheerleader could raise the dead!"

Raise is the word you use when something is being acted upon. Rise is something you do on your own without any assistance.

If the dead come to life on their own, it would be correct to say that the dead are rising from the graves.

However, if some necromancer (or cheerleader) brought the dead to life, it would be correct to say that she raised the dead.

By the way, the past tense of rise is rose.

Seam vs. Seem

Incorrect: "It just seams wrong."

Correct: "It just seems wrong."

A seam is where two pieces of cloth are stitched together. It can also refer to a long, thin mark.

Seem refers to how something looks or appears. "It seems the elephant put on a tutu this morning."

Sense vs. Since

Incorrect: "I haven't had a phone sense 1995."

Correct: "I haven't had a phone since 1995."

Sense refers to your senses, such as smell, taste, sight, and touch. It can also mean detecting something: "I sense you're unhappy with me for not owning a phone."

Since refers to a time or past event. Specifically, from then till now. It can also be a substitute for the word because. "Since I don't have a phone, you might as well write to me more often."

Taut vs. Tout

Incorrect: "Hold it tout..."

Correct: "Hold it taut..."

Tout means to promote or seek support for something.

Taut means tight or strained.

Then vs. Than

Incorrect: "I thought you knew better then that."

Correct: "I thought you knew better than that."

People get these mixed up all the time, driving the poor grammarians batty. These words should not be used interchangeably. Here's the difference:

Then refers to a point in time, usually after something has happened or some condition is met. "First we mix the flour and sugar, then we add the butter."

Than is used for comparing things, such as length, height, weight, etc. "I think this dog weighs more than me."

There vs. They're vs. Their

People get these mixed up all the time. Let's look at these words in their correct form:

"The book is over there."

"That's their book."

"They're getting the book."

Remember, there is possessive. You're talking about who owns what.

They're is a contraction. If the sentence sounds fine when you reword it with they are, you know you're using the right pronoun.

There refers to where someone or something is.

Vain vs. Vane vs. Vein

Incorrect: "I need to adjust the weather vane."

Correct: "I need to adjust the weather vane."

Vain, or vanity, is when you have an excessive amount of pride in yourself.

A vane refers to a weather vane, or any similar device with spinning blades that's powered by wind, steam, water, etc.

Veins are those things that transport blood throughout your body.

Wary vs. Weary

Just remember that wary is the word to describe suspicion or caution. Weary, on the other hand, is the state of being tired or worn-out.

Weather vs. Whether

Incorrect: "I don't care weather you like it or not."

Correct: "I don't care whether you like it or not."

Weather refers to the state of the atmosphere, whether it's raining, snowing, windy, cold, etc.

Whether is a choice between two or more options.

Who vs. Which vs. That

Incorrect: "I saw a boy that was playing a video game."

Correct: "I saw a boy who was playing a video game."

You would use that when you're referring to a thing, although it's acceptable to use it when you're referring to a group of people. Use who when you're referring to a person.

Which is a little more tricky, but it's generally used for a secondary thought or clause. For example, "The video game, which was bloody and violent, was popular with kids."

Whose vs. Who's

Incorrect: "Whose the angry octopus guy?"

Correct: "Who's the angry octopus guy?"

Whose is possessive. We're talking about something that belongs to someone else. Sometimes it can also refer to which rather than whom. For example, you might ask, "Whose angry octopus is this?"

Who's is a contraction. We could transform it into who is or who has. For example, the sentences "Who's feeding the angry squid?" and "Who is feeding the angry squid?" are both correct.

Yay vs. Yea vs. Yeah

Incorrect: "How do you vote, yay or nay?"

Correct: "How do you vote, yea or nay?"

Yea is an archaic word that is rarely used any more. It rhymes with "nay," and the only time you'd really want to use it is when you're voting. Or when you want to say "yea verily" or something like that.

Yeah is that casual version of "yes" that we use all the time.

Yay is an exclamation of joy or excitement.

Your vs. You're

Incorrect: "This land is you're land."

Correct: "This land is your land."

Your is possessive. There is no apostrophe in this possessive pronoun when you add an "s" at the end. Yours is correct, your's is wrong.

You're is a contraction of "you are." If you ever get confused with your and you're, try rewording the sentence with you are. If you are totally changes the meaning of the sentence and makes it sound stupid (like "This is you are book"), you know you should be using your instead.

Clipart from the Wizard of Draws

The cartoons you see on this lens were created by Jeff Bucchino, "The Wizard of Draws." If you'd like to see more of his work, be sure to visit his website: Free Cartoon Clipart by the Wizard of Draws!

Did you learn something new? Do you know of a commonly misused word you'd like to see added to this list? Comments are welcome!

Your Turn!

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    • profile image

      staceycolbert 5 years ago

      This site was very useful. I found several words that I have been using incorrectly. I think that we all get caught up with using text lingo that we use it in our daily writing without even realizing that we are using the words incorrectly.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I learned that I'm going to add this link to a future grammar lesson on my lens. Thanks!

    • SusanRDavis profile image

      Susan R. Davis 5 years ago from Vancouver

      Thank you! Lots of my pet peeves here.

    • joyceosborn profile image

      joyceosborn 5 years ago

      Good list. I'm going to bookmark this one! Thanks!

    • Sher Ritchie profile image

      Sher Ritchie 5 years ago

      Thankyou for this great list - and your explanations. I used to confuse dessert with desert, until I invented a mnemonic: DeSSert is Sugary Sweet (to remind me that the word has two 's's); a deSert has Sand (one S). And one way of remembering the difference between lose and loose is to think of the old song "Foot Loose" - two 'o's in fOOt and two 'o's in lOOse. This is a great lens, thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      judith-a-clayton-3 5 years ago

      wrote vs. written

    • profile image

      judith-a-clayton-3 5 years ago

      Perhaps it's a southern U.S. thing, but these are two I hear quite often: curb vs. curve and calm down vs. come down.

    • PositiveChristi1 profile image

      PositiveChristi1 6 years ago

      Yes, I did learn something. i.e. Effect vs Affect. I hope I was right using "i.e." there :-)

      Such a lot of information here. This lens is worthy of study and I shall be reading it a few more times so that I can learn and remember all that you are teaching me.

      Worthy of my Angel blessing.

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      "There is no rest for the weary" is one of my favorite sayings. Excellent list of commonly misused words and phrases.

    • AdeleW profile image

      AdeleW 6 years ago

      Now I know why English is a difficult language to learn! Great lens 5*

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 6 years ago

      Very helpful list.

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 6 years ago

      Very helpful list.

    • profile image

      Pirocapl 7 years ago

      As for "that" being used with people, that also depends whether you're using a defining or non-defining relative clause. In NON-DEFINING relative clauses, "that" isn't accepted, but it is when you are using a defining relative clause, which is the case in the author's examples -- therefore, I beg to differ.

    • VictoriaNeely1 profile image

      VictoriaNeely1 7 years ago

      @Pirocapl: That's very informative. However, since the word "towards" wasn't mentioned in the first place, I'm not sure why this is being presented as an argument.

    • profile image

      Pirocapl 7 years ago

      According to Cambridge Dictionary "towards" (with S) is a British variation of "toward", which they say is "mainly US English". Therefore, it is not wrong!

      towards /tÉwÉdz/ /tÊwÉrdz/ preposition mainly UK ( mainly US toward ) MOVEMENT

      1. in the direction of, or closer to someone or something

      She stood up and walked towards him.

      He leaned towards his wife and whispered, "Can we go home soon?"

      She kept glancing towards the telephone.

      The country seems to be drifting towards war.

      There is a trend towards healthier eating among all sectors of the population.

    • profile image

      LottaTroublemaker 7 years ago

      Hmmm... Isn't the word "lens" as used on Squidoo, an example of misuse of a word? Really? I mean, when I saw: "Lens of the day", I was thinking of "Lens Reviews" (I love those, photography is my "thing"!)... ;) A lens is a "piece of glass" as e.g. in spectacles/glasses or a magnification glass or a collection of lenses as in a photographic lens on a camera... A lens sure is not something you write...

      Re this list. Loved it! :) English is not my mother tongue. I have to look up words in English articles etc. online (most often US/American) all the time, only to discover that the word I looked up was used wrongly, what I thought it should have been, is correct. Funny, as I would expect that I should be the one making all the errors, not these people having English as their daily language... ;) I saw a new mix-up today... A guy wrote something like: "Wasn't he just a porn for...", meaning "Wasn't he just a pawn for...". So even "pawn" and "porn" can get mixed up! Never thought of the fact that many pronounce "porn" almost exactly like "pawn" before, so I learned something new today. It's obvious that English pronunciation isn't always all that logical, I guess that is why some people have a hard time with it. Not all are lucky to be born with the ability to see or hear what will be correct spelling in your own language (or a good memory once you've seen the correct spelling once)... Many English words must be very difficult for those with dyslexia...

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      stationery and stationary - a real pet peeve

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens! All of these make me cringe. A misuse that I've noticed is whether to use "myself" or "me". People will say "If you need more information, contact John or myself" It's me, contact John or ME. The only one who can do anything to "myself" is me, e.g. "I hurt myself. Liked and favorited.

    • Padaneis profile image

      Padaneis 7 years ago

      Great list! ...and advice. I specially liked the bare bear. Bye.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 7 years ago

      Great stuff - lensrolled to Grumpy Grammar

    • profile image

      GrinningFool 7 years ago

      That was a great list. I picked up a few that I do a lot! put it up on Facebook for my grammar loving girlfriend to check out too!

    • profile image

      websiteverification 7 years ago

      Great information!

    • TheGoodSource101 profile image

      TheGoodSource101 7 years ago

      Never Ending in the World of Words!

    • CozyKitty profile image

      CozyKitty 8 years ago

      What a great resource! Hope people start using it :-))

      Can't think of any to add - your list is quite comprehensive.

      The misuse of language has long been a pet peeve of mine, so I'm thrilled that I stumbled upon this lens. Another pet peeve is the mispronunciation of "nuclear" (often pronounced "nucular" - argh!)

      Thanks for a great lens ... 5*

    • profile image

      sheepdogs 8 years ago

      I am amazed at the numer of young people who write " I could of gone to the show." , instead of "I could have gone to the show". There also seems to be a determined effort by many journalist to write "This was an entirely different game to his previous game", instead of "a different game from his previous game". Now I am on my soapbox may I also say that the letter "T" seems to have disappeared from the English language and I shudder when I hear many sportsmen, celebrities, school teachers and even media presenters, speak without clearly pronouncing the letter "t". Some examples are as follows; He is a great figher (fighter). I would like to thank the Welsh public for their continuing suppor (support); I think the recent CSE results were a grea (great) reflection on the school. I am amazed that some school teachers put forward the theory that phonetic spelling might be acceptable in future examinations??????

    • profile image

      NearTheBlueRidge 8 years ago

      Great! Nice work, and I'm linking to it frequently. Now you need to add these:

      site vs. sight vs. cite

      rite vs. right

      Keep up the good work!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      My biggest problems are affect and effect, and lose and loose. I make a point of stopping and thinking about them whenever they pop up in my writing. My grammar and spelling are not what they should be. I'm improving...slowly.

      Thanks for sharing


    • Karicor profile image

      Karicor 9 years ago

      My personal "favorite" is the evergreen "definitely". It's so common there are entire websites dedicated to this phenomenon. ^:)^

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Nifty little course, and very important! I see these mistakes all the time, including in my Thanks, Victoria! 5*s and a hearty SquidAngel Blessing. :-)

    • profile image

      momof7 9 years ago

      This isn't common, but I know someone who drives me nuts when he pronounces "ruin" as "run." Not that they make a mistake as to the meaning, but still I wonder what quirk in the brain causes the substitution. Oh, and the one about "no one" and "no one" reminds me of an English teacher I had in high school. At least once a month she would make fun of it by using it in a sentence and pronoucing "no one" as noon-nee. We all thought it was funny, and it's a mistake I never make now.

    • papawu profile image

      papawu 9 years ago

      I can say with some confidence that I rarely ever make these mistakes, but I guess it can happen to the best of us from time to time when we are not paying attention. Since English was my second language, I was truly forced to learn textbook English and so it has become something of a pet peeve of mine. I oftentimes find myself correcting people although I know it is not very polite to do so. Really enjoyed your lens.

    • profile image

      keli1 9 years ago

      Breath vs. Breathe

    • profile image

      pdqfoxx 9 years ago


    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great lens. Very comprehensive list of common mistakes. If only people had paid more attention in school!

    • Czarque profile image

      Czarque 9 years ago

      Love this lens. What a great resource!

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 9 years ago

      What a simply SPLENDID resource! Can I give you 10 stars? Great idea for a lens!

    • profile image

      GenieS 9 years ago

      Two other candidates:

      "Rein" vs. "Reign" (I could add "Rain," but hardly anyone confuses that one with th

    • profile image

      GenieS 9 years ago

      Great column!

      Glad you listed "I" v. "me," but I think a more common misuse (especially by people whose English is normally quite good) is saying things like "Give it to John or I" or "For my wife and I ... ." If most people would try your suggestion of leaving out the other noun or pronoun -- e.g., saying "Give it to I" or "For I ... , " I'm pretty sure they'd realize their mistake.

      Also, while the difference between "e.g." and "i.e." may be subtle, it can make a huge difference if taken literally. Say you're asking people to bring a gift for a gift exchange. If you say "Bring an inexpensive gift, i.e., under $10," that means "don't spend more than $10." If you say, "... e.g., under $10," that means it's just a suggestion and it's OK to spend, say, $25 if that's your idea of "inexpensive."

    • profile image

      spark3 9 years ago

      This list is very informative, I still don't understand the "Bill and I are going to the lake" vs. "Me and Bill are going to the lake". I've tried the rule every since elementary school and I'm still puzzled. I are going to the lake doesn't sound right either, so....I just won't say anything about me and Bill.

    • Kit-Kitty profile image

      Kit-Kitty 9 years ago

      Wow, this lense is very informative!

      Well, I knew most of these, I do have to say that I have used "Bare with me" on several occasions... now I know better and will use "Bear with me"

      5 stars and a favorite!

    • profile image

      poutine 9 years ago

      Very helpful list.

      I can't stand when people use their instead of there.

    • profile image

      middle_kingdom 9 years ago

      This is a great lens. There's a lot of very helpful information here. I'd love for you to visit my lens and say hello when you have the chance.

    • SaraMu LM profile image

      SaraMu LM 9 years ago

      A is for Action. That really helps!

    • Lizblueberry profile image

      Lizblueberry 9 years ago

      Super lens. Kids are not taught the way they were when I was in school. This lens should be a must for students:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      great lens..It's very interesting..good job..

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 9 years ago

      Wow Bare is one of my big ones. I often avoid using the word at all!

      THIS goes to my squidoo library lens

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 9 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I like this page. I probably have not used than and then correctly all my life. Also which, that and who.

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 9 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Great Lens! I run into this one all the time: "comprised of" and "composed of" ... the folks want to use "comprise" incorrectly. I hope you don't mind, but I've linked to this lens at my Grammar and Parts of Speech lens! Definitely 5 stars for you!

    • profile image

      seedplanter 9 years ago

      Hey Victoria, I've linked to your lens in my new Wordaholics Anonymous lens:

      Word slips are hilarious! Sometimes it's hard to not crack a smile when I hear them.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      Excellent! I will lensroll this to my lens on good writing tips. Congratulations on making the Giant Squid 100 Club. I'm featuring this on my Squid Angel Diary.

    • Lewister profile image

      Susan 9 years ago from Texas

      Annoyed today because the Wall Street Journal misused the word "peak" in taking a peek through the iPhone store. Aaggh!! (Left a comment with your site URL listed. Hope they come over and learn something.)

    • profile image

      Pamela2Heaven 9 years ago

      Great job. I don't have a problem with any of these but I sure see a lot of people who do. It cracks me up!

    • profile image

      lifelongfitness 9 years ago

      There vs. They're vs. Their....< that one gets me. Tons of people don't know the difference and it frustrates me sometimes no matter how many times you tell them what the correct use is.

    • profile image

      totalhealth 9 years ago

      thanks for a quick grammar lesson. nice and helpful lens

    • Piksychick profile image

      Piksychick 9 years ago

      Wonderful lens. I was trying to explain, to a non native English speaker, the difference between lay and lie, I think this will do the trick! Thanks.

    • profile image

      cherangelry lm 9 years ago

      Thank you SO MUCH for this lens! Some of these common mistakes are at the top of my pet peeve list and I love that you found a creative way to bring awareness to the tragic treatment some of the words in the English language receive. 5*!

    • Twmarsh profile image

      Twmarsh 10 years ago

      Great work! I love this kind of thing. I have it saved in my favorites for future refererence, not that I would ever need it, ha ha!

    • VictoriaNeely1 profile image

      VictoriaNeely1 10 years ago

      Rookie, thanks for the tip! I'm always looking for new words to add.

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      Love it, voted it 5, I'd like to suggest Cheep/Cheap as well.

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 10 years ago from Minnesota

      Just a wonderful lens. It should be required reading for all. Great job.

    • profile image

      lukafer2 10 years ago

      Great lens! i didn't realize how many words I was using wrong...5 stars

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 10 years ago

      I've always had trouble with Affect and Effect. I know the difference but when I'm on a roll...

      Great lens

      5 Stars


    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 10 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      I/me and affect/effect are my most common errors...nice hints! (others are usually typos)

    • profile image

      Grasshoppa 10 years ago

      If I had a buck for every time I've seen the word 'looser' misused online in just the last two years... you get the picture.

      Ugh. I might start posting links to this page. Nice job!

    • Amanda Blue profile image

      Amanda Blue 10 years ago

      Victoria, What an important lens, in this age of disregard for language well-spoken; I'll be back to read it more thoroughly. I saw this written about a week ago: "She had quiet a story to tell." ?? And yes the bare and bear confusion can be hilarious. 5 stars, naturally.

    • beeobrien lm profile image

      beeobrien lm 10 years ago

      The me and I thing drives me nuts.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 10 years ago from USA

      This is a truly helpful lens and I imagine you will be seeing a lot of traffic! Nice work!

    • TriviaChamp profile image

      TriviaChamp 10 years ago

      Nice lens. Have you ever noticed how people incorrectly use the words “me” and “I”? You hear it all the time.


    • profile image

      animal_lover79 10 years ago

      More people should read this lens! You make useful information so much fun. Five stars!

    • LaurenMarie LM profile image

      LaurenMarie LM 10 years ago

      I also remember that dessert has two s's because you always want more dessert, but less desert!

      And what about its and it's, who's and whose? Lay or lie? Rise or raise? I've heard that people get sit and set confused, too. Great list here!

    • DogWhisperWoman1 profile image

      DogWhisperWoman1 10 years ago

      What makes me angry is that many people do not speak correctly and treat you as though you are a snob if you do speak well. Since when is it cool to speak in slang? You have earned 5* from someone who works rvry day to speak correctly.


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