How to Use Commonly Confused Words Correctly

Some words create trouble everywhere they appear, but this list will help you understand these commonly confused words and how to use them correctly:

  • Affect: Generally a verb meaning "to influence." Effect: Usually a noun meaning "result."

  • Good: Describes a person, place, thing, or idea. Well: Describes an action.

  • Lie: As a verb, "to rest or recline." Lay: As a verb, "to place in a certain position."

  • Its: Shows possession. It's: Contraction of "it is."

  • There: Indicates a position or place. Their: Shows possession. They're: Contraction of "they are."

  • Like: As a preposition, means "similar to." As: Precedes a subject/verb statement.

  • Because: Introduces a reason. Since: Makes a statement about time.

  • If: Indicates a possibility. Whether: Introduces two choices (whether or not).

  • That: Preceding a subject/verb statement, usually introduces essential information and isn't preceded by a comma. Which: Preceding a subject/verb statement, indicates extra information and is preceded by a comma.

  • Between: For two choices. Among: For a group of three or more.

  • Farther: Use for distance. Further: Used for time or intensity.

  • Different from: The correct expression! Different than: Not correct in Standard English.

  • Healthy: Refers to physical or mental well-being. Healthful: Refers to habits or food that contribute to good health.

  • Who's: A contraction meaning "who is." Whose: A possessive pronoun (belonging to whom).

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