For many people living in Asia, English is a secondary language that we learn to communicate with those around the world. It is not an easy language to master and for some of us, learning this language with all its particulars can be a lifelong task. Even then, there are several English words that can be easily confused and are often used erroneously in place of another. Here are some of the words that are easily confused. I have added some sentences as examples to show their correct usage. The trouble with these words is that they do not get caught in spell-checkers installed in our computers because the spellings may be correct but their wrong use can completely change the meaning of the sentence.
Its: This shows ‘belonging to it’. The dog ate its food. The mouse ran into its hole. It’s is short for it is.For example: It’s raining today. It’s my pencil. It’s none of your business etc. It is wrong to say…the dog ate it’s food because this becomes..The dog ate it is food…which does not make sense.
Confusing this pair of words can give rise to some funny moments. Loose means “not tight” or an animal that has escaped. The wire is loose. My clothes are loose. There was panic because a wild lion was loose. Lose means having lost something. It felt terrible to lose the match. Don’t lose your wallet. I plan to lose weight. It would be great to lose weight so that your clothes are loose but not so great to lose your clothes…
Your means belonging to you This is your pencil. Is this your dog I need your help You’re is short form of ‘you are’ You’re looking nice today. (You are looking nice today.) You’re late for the party. (You are late for the party.) So it is wrong to use “Your looking nice today”, nor it is correct to say “I need you’re help.”
There is nothing common between these two words and yet it is strange to see how easily these two are confused while writing. A desert is the place where is there is little rainfall and it is dry, barren and often sandy like Sahara Desert, Kalahari Desert, etc. A dessert is the sweet dish usually served as the last course of a meal. It can be ice-cream, cakes, brownies, pudding, cookies, cheesecakes or anything that makes your mouth water. So if you plan to hike across a desert, I won’t be joining you but if you are having a dessert, count me in:)
there, they’re, their
The spellings and pronunciation of these three words are a bit similar for those who do not speak perfect English so it is quite easy to use them wrongly within an article. Let’s see how to use them correctly. ‘There’ indicates a place that is far from you. Go over there. You can sit there. They’re is the short form of ‘they are’ My friends were here. They’re going home now. They’re late Their indicates”belonging to them” My friends left their coats in my house They cannot find their keys
I feel this one is very hard to learn. Affect means to make something different in some way. It is used as verb The rain affected our plans for picnic The high price of gasoline will affect us all. Laziness will affect your grades Effect is the result or consequence of something. It is used as noun. The effect of high price of gasoline was felt by us. Chemicals have harmful effect on environment. To check if you are using “effect” correctly replace it by the word “result” If it makes sense, you are on right track. So “ Chemicals have harmful effect (result) on environment” seems correct but “ The rain affected (resulted) our plans for picnic” does not sound right.
I hope this helps!
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