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Common Mistakes in English Usage

January 22nd, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized

Whether you like it or not, any management entrance examination like CAT, XAT, SNAP, etc. will judge you by your quality of using right word in right context. The first thing you should do is to avoid the most common spelling mistakes. Below you’ll find 10 such mistakes to get you started.

10 common spelling mistakes

1. accept / except

INCORRECT: Please except this gift.
CORRECT: Please accept this gift.

Except, as a verb, means to exclude or leave out. As a preposition it means “with the exception of.” Accept means “to receive willingly.” For example: We visited every landmark except the Eiffel Tower. The school is accepting only those students who have had their shots; all others are excepted.

2. advice / advise

INCORRECT: He refused to take my advise.
CORRECT: He refused to take my advice.

Advise is a verb. The s has the sound of “z.” Advice is a noun. The c has the sound of “s.”

3. all right / alright

INCORRECT: He’s alright after his fall.
CORRECT: He’s all right after his fall.

Although arguments are advanced for the acceptance of the spelling, alright is still widely regarded as nonstandard. Careful writers avoid it.

4. effect / affect

INCORRECT: His death really effected me.
CORRECT: His death really affected me.

The most common use of effect is as a noun meaning “something produced by a cause.” The most common use of affect is as a transitive verb meaning “to act upon.” For example: The disease had a lasting effect on the child. The family’s lack of money affected his plans.

5. every day / everyday

INCORRECT: Dan walks the dog everyday at six p.m.
CORRECT: Dan walks the dog every day at six p.m.

Everyday is an adjective that means “daily.” Every day is a phrase that combines the adjective every with the noun day. For example: Walking the dog is an everyday occurrence. I practice the flute every day.

6. its / it’s

INCORRECT: Put the saw back in it’s place.
CORRECT: Put the saw back in its place.

It’s is a contraction that represents two words: it is. Its is a one-word third-person singular possessive adjective, like his. For example: The man lost his hat. The dog wagged its tail.

7. passed / past

INCORRECT: The car past the train.
CORRECT: The car passed the train.

Past is used as an adverb of place, or as a preposition. Passed is the past tense of the verb to pass. For example: The past few days have been hectic. The deadline has passed. He passed her the biscuits. The boys ran past the gate. As we stood in the doorway, the cat ran past.

8. quiet / quite

INCORRECT: We spent a quite evening reading.
CORRECT: We spent a quiet evening reading.

Quiet is an adjective meaning “marked by little or no activity.” Quite is an adverb meaning “to a considerable extent.” For example: The children are quite amiable today. Quiet can also be used as a noun. For example: We enjoyed the quiet by the lake. (The suffix “ness” should never be added to the abstract nouns quiet and calm.)

9. then / than

INCORRECT: I have more eggs then you.
CORRECT: I have more eggs than you.

Then is an adverb that indicates time. It can go anywhere in a sentence. For example: The man paused by the door and then entered. Then the noise started. As conjunction or preposition, than will always be followed by a noun or a pronoun. For example: I like Melville better than Hawthorne.

10. who’s / whose

INCORRECT: I don’t know who’s dog you’re talking about.
CORRECT: I don’t know whose dog you’re talking about.

Who’s is the contracted form of “who is.” Whose is the possessive adjective form of who. For example: Who’s your daddy? Whose car are we going in?

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