30 March 2014

Righting the Write Words - Part 1

I've been running into plenty of these situations lately where writers are ignoring the rules of grammar or just not proofing their work as diligently as they should. I've made these same mistakes, so don't go all whiny on me about my being some sort of snot for posting this. Grammar is very important to me, and as a reader, if we're going to have an intimate relationship, please learn to keep it clean.

It's okay with our drafts, because our spellcheckers don't always alert on these commonly mistaken words. This is more a simple reminder for myself. The more I preach it, the more likely I am to pay attention when selecting my words. I'll start with the obvious, and I'm providing some more words toward the end of this post, those I had to look up to remind myself of the meanings.

So here they are!

Contractions examples:

Who's is the contraction of who and is and shouldn't be confused with the other.

Whose is the same as asking who will take ownership of something.

"So, whose idea was it to put the goldfish in the toilet?"

It's is the contraction of it and is and shouldn't be confused with the other.

Its is actually the possessive pronoun like his and hers and indicates belonging.

"When were you going to tell me about the new dog and its seven puppies I found in the garage?"

There, their, and they're examples:

  1. I ran like hell and I left my keys over there.
  2. The looks on their faces tell me I shouldn't go back.
  3. They're bound to come after me at some point.

To, two, and too examples:

  1. I'm heading to the store.
  2. I'm buying two loaves of bread.
  3. Would you like to come, too?

And more confusing words

Whether - used to introduce an alternative.

"I didn't know whether to laugh or cry."

Weather - it's what two boring people talk about when they have nothing interesting to say.

"Yep, looks like rain. Been some nasty weather around lately."

Affect - is a verb meaning to have an influence on.

"Her stupidity is affecting my ability to do my job."

Effect - is a noun meaning a cause of change brought about by an agent.

"He had a major effect on the outcome of that game."

Loose - is an adjective meaning not fastened, contained or restrained.

"Your dress is too loose. Maybe try a smaller size?"

Lose - is a verb and has many meanings such as not to win, to mislay, etc.

"Check mate, you lose."

Accept - is a verb and has many meanings among which are to receive something.

"I accept your apology."

Except - is a preposition meaning 'with the exclusion of'.

"You can have all the Eagles albums except their greatest hits."

Elicit - is a verb meaning to bring or draw out/gather information.

"Don't try to elicit a confession from me. I told you already, I didn't do it."

Illicit - is an adjective meaning not sanctioned by custom or law.

"She performed illicit sexual acts on the stage."

Passed - this is the past tense of the verb to pass.

"He passed me the ball and I ran it in for the touch down."

Past - the time before the present, no longer current.

"In the past, we would just draw straws and the person with the short straw was shit out of luck."

Complement - to complete, make whole, or bring to perfection.

"That blue color complements your eyes."

Compliment - an expression of praise, admiration, or congratulation.

"She's always fishing for compliments."

Dependent - relying on or requiring the aid of another.

"My schedule next week is dependent upon my mother's arrival."

Dependant - one who relies on another, especially for financial support.

"As my dependant, my daughter will remain enrolled in my health care program until she finishes college."

And, to avoid any confusion in the future, remember this:

A councillor is a member of a council (noun), which is a deliberate body of people.

A counsellor is a person who counsels (verb) others.

Are there other words you find yourself looking up to ensure you're using the write one? Affect and effect are my problem ones. I look them up every time I want to use one or the other, because I never remember which is witch.

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