Thursday, 21 June 2007

Affect vs Effect

To this day I have to pause and mentally sort this one out in order to get it right. As with any of the other common mistakes people make when writing, it’s taking that moment to get it right that makes the difference.

“Affect” is a verb, as in “Your ability to communicate clearly will affect your income immensely.” “Effect” is a noun, as in “The effect of a parent’s low income on a child’s future is well documented.” By thinking in terms of “the effect,” you can usually sort out which is which, because you can’t stick a “the” in front of a verb. While some people do use “effect” as a verb (“a strategy to effect a settlement”), they are usually lawyers, and you should therefore ignore them if you want to write like a human.

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I vs Me

One of my (and my Evil Twin Katherine's) pet peeves.
Xena and me are going to Athens. --> INCORRECT

This horse belongs to Xena and I. --> INCORRECT

"I" is a pronoun that must be the subject, never the object, of a verb. "Me" is a pronoun that must be the object, never the subject. (The same is true for he/him, she/her, we/us, etc.)

As a simple test, try removing Xena from the sentence. You wouldn't say "Me is going to Athens." You'd say "I am going," so say "Xena and I are going." You wouldn't say "This horse belongs to I," you'd say "This horse belongs to me," so say "This horse belongs to Xena and me."

Contrary to the belief of Katherine's friend John, "Xena and I" is not always correct.

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Practice vs Practise

In the United Kingdom, “practice” is the noun, “practise” the verb; but in the U.S. the spelling “practice” is commonly used for both, though the distinction is sometimes observed. “Practise” as a noun is, however, always wrong in both places: a doctor always has a “practice,” never a “practise.”

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We may compare with the following explanation :

Practice is a noun
For example: We need to put these ideas into practice.

Practise is a verb
For example: To learn English well you have to practise.

Both of them is correct. We have to know when we use practice and practise

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Maybe vs May be

“Maybe” is an adverb meaning “perhaps,” so if you are uncertain whether to use this word or the phrase “may be,” try substituting “perhaps”: “Maybe she forgot I said I’d meet her at six o’clock” becomes “Perhaps she forgot. . . .” When the substitution makes sense, go with one word: “maybe.” When you are wondering whether you may be waiting in the wrong cafe, you’re dealing with a verb and its auxiliary: “may be.” Two words.

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Help the problem vs Help solve the problem


People say they want to help the problem of poverty when what they really mean is that they want to help solve the problem of poverty. Poverty flourishes without any extra help, thank you. I guess I know what a “suicide help line” is, but I’d rather it were a “suicide prevention help line.” I suppose it’s too late to ask people to rename alcoholism support groups as sobriety support groups, but it’s a shoddy use of language.

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For Sale vs On Sale

If you’re selling something, it’s for sale; but if you lower the price, it goes on sale.

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Xmas vs Christmas

“Xmas” is not originally an attempt to exclude Christ from Christmas, but uses an abbreviation of the Greek spelling of the word “Christ” with the “X” representing the Greek letter chi. However, so few people know this that it is probably better not to use this popular abbreviation in religious contexts.

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Compare to vs Compate with

These are sometimes interchangeable, but when you are stressing similarities between the items compared, the most common word is “to”: “She compared his home-made wine to toxic waste.”

If you are examining both similarities and differences, use “with”: “The teacher compared Steve’s exam with Robert’s to see whether they had cheated.”

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Besides vs Beside

“Besides” can mean “in addition to” as in “besides the puppy chow, Spot scarfed up the filet mignon I was going to serve for dinner.”

“Beside,” in contrast, usually means “next to.” “I sat beside Cheryl all evening, but she kept talking to Jerry instead.” Using “beside” for “besides,” won’t usually get you in trouble; but using “besides” when you mean "next to” will.

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How to use "however"?

"We were supposed to go to the dance last night, however, it was cancelled because of lack of interest." This is INCORRECT.

A semicolon, rather than a comma, should be used to link these two complete sentences:
* "We were supposed to go to the dance last night; however, it was cancelled because of lack of interest." This is CORRECT.

It should be noted that there ARE situations in which you can use a comma instead of a semi-colon:
* "The match at Wimbledon, however, continued despite the bad weather." This is CORRECT.

There is only one complete sentence in this example. It is not a compound sentence.

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Few vs Less

Sign at the checkout of a supermarket: “Ten items or less”. This is INCORRECT.

You can count the items, so you need to use the number word “fewer”. These nouns are countable.
e.g. : "Ten items or fewer." This is CORRECT.

If you can’t count the substance, then you should use “less”. These nouns are uncountable.
e.g. : "You should eat less meat." This is CORRECT.

Original idea from

Bring vs Take

How to use bring and take in the should be English? Let's see the below sentences.

"When we go to the party on Saturday, let’s bring a bottle of wine." This is INCORRECT.

When you are viewing the movement of something from the point of arrival, use “bring”:
* "When you come to the party, please bring a bottle of wine." This is CORRECT.

When you are viewing the movement of something from the point of departure, use “take”:
* "When we go to the party, let’s take a bottle of wine." This is CORRECT.

Idea from

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Every day vs Everyday

Every day - here every is a determiner and day is a noun.
When you say every day you mean each day without exception.
For example: You have been late for school every day this week.

Everyday is an adjective.
When you say everyday you mean ordinary, unremarkable.
For example: My culture pages offer an insight into the everyday life of Britain.

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Monday, 11 June 2007

How's about vs What's about

The correct sentence is what's about not how's about.
You have to say what's about this proposal instead of saying how's about this proposal.
What's about actually means how's about.
So the correct one should be WHAT'S ABOUT.

Thank's vs Thanks

We often find this word our daily email communication. What's wrong with the words? Which one is the correct one according to "The should be English" grammar?

People use this word to express thanks a lot. The correct word to express thanks a lot is "THANKS". "Thank's" is not correct because thank is a singular noun. For plural noun is no need to use single apostrophe before ‘s’. So the correct one is THANKS not THANK’S. We can not say book’s but books for many books

Advise vs Advice

If we are working in the office environment which using email for internal communication. I believe you will frequently find words like “Please advise” and “Please advice”. Now the question? Which one is the correct one? How to say it based on “The should be English” grammar? Let’s analyze.
Based on the dictionary, “advise” is a verb and “advice” is a noun. Based on the normal sentence, it should be Subject + Verb. So the correct one should be please advise not please advice. If you want to use advice, you may say “please give advice”.