Briana’s Writing Tips: Commonly Confused Words

We’ve all seen people mix up words when writing, so I figured I’d cover some of the really common ones as a way to help people out. I can’t help thinking of all the grammar pieces that The Oatmeal has done, but I’ll do this without the sarcasm.

You’re: Contraction of you are – Your: Belonging to you – Yore: A long time ago

Their: Belonging to them – There: Not here – They’re: Contraction of they are

Lose: To not win – Loose: Not tight

Affect: To cause change or display – Effect: The outcome or result

Then: A point in time – Than: A comparison

Altar: A place of worship – Alter: To change

Who’s: Contraction of who is – Whose: Of or relating to a person/thing

Past: At a previous time – Passed: Went by or succeeded at

Died: Stopped living – Dyed: Stained with color

Threw: Past tense of throw – Through: From one point to another

A Lot: Many, or a piece of land – Allot: To assign an amount – Alot: Alot isn’t a word

To: Toward or as far as – Too: Also or as well – Two: The number after one

The tricky one that breaks the possessive apostrophe rule:

It’s: A contraction of it is or it has – Its: Belonging to it

There are a lot more, but those are some top ones.  Your Dictionary and Santa Monica College have lists with even more.


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