Misused words in the English Language.



Original poster
In the general knowledge of English misuse of words is rather common. My tutorial is for those who have the basic knowledge of words in English but are still uncertain of the actual meaning of the word.

Here are few examples of common words being misused in a sentence structure. The ones you wouldn't think would be a problem; but are a big problem when doing a project in English or any language or even teaching.

Accept vs Except = Accept means to receive something. Except means to exclude something.
Advise vs Advice = Incorrect: "I didn't ask for your advise."
Correct: "I didn't ask for your advice."
Advise is a verb. Advice is a noun. You can advise someone, but you can't advice him.

Affect vs. Effect
Incorrect: "The rain has a bad affect on my mood."
Correct: "The rain has a bad effect on my mood."

All Right vs. Alright
Sorry, but alright is incorrect. It's correctly spelled as two words: All right.

However, it could be argued that alright is appropriate for dialogue. It's closer to the way it sounds. Also, nobody should beat you up for writing alright in an online forum or chat room.

All right?

E.G. vs. I.E.
The difference between E.G. and I.E. is subtle, but let's look at their root meanings:

E.G. stands for the Latin exempli gratia, which means "for example." So you might use it like this: "I love many different kinds of desserts, e.g. apple pie or chocolate cake."

I.E. is Latin for id est, which stands for "that is" or "in other words." So you might use it like this: "My favorite dessert is pie, i.e. apple pie."

Hear vs. Here
Incorrect: "Here, here!"
Correct: "Hear, hear!"

Here is a location; it refers to wherever we happen to be right now.

Hear refers to one of your five senses, the ability to recognize sound.

People confuse these words. The issue mostly comes up with the phrase "Hear, hear!," which is meant to call attention to a speaker's words. It also implies fervent agreement. It evolved from phrases like "Hear him!" and "Hear ye!"

Its vs. It's
Incorrect: "Its mine."
Correct: "It's mine."

Its is possessive. It's is a contraction of it is. Whenever you see that apostrophe, always translate it's to it is.

Sound out the sentence in your head. If sounds dumb to say it is in the sentence, then it's is incorrect.

Lay vs. Lie
Incorrect: "Now lie me down to sleep."
Correct: "Now lay me down to sleep."

Lay is used when something is being acted upon. Lie is something you do without anyone or anything doing something to you. Example: "I decided to lie down on the floor."

Here's where things get more confusing: The past tense of lie is lay. The past tense of lay is laid. Examples:

"I laid down the piggy bank."
"The piggy bank lay there yesterday."

Even I have a hard time keeping these words straight. Mixing up lay and laid isn't likely to get you barbecued by grouchy grammarians.

Just remember that layed is a misspelling, which means it's flat out wrong no matter what!

Loose vs. Lose
Incorrect: "I just know I'm going to loose this race."
Correct: "I just know I'm going to lose this race."

You can't use these spellings interchangeably: Not only are the meanings subtly different, they also SOUND different. Lose has more of a Z sound, while loose has more of a hiss to it.

No One vs. Noone
Incorrect: "Noone visits my website."
Correct: "No one visits my website."

Noone is not a word. Unless it's a result of someone typing super fast, this one baffles me. By mushing no one together like this, you're creating a word that would be pronounced "noon-eh" or "noon."

Per Say vs. Per Se
Incorrect: "I didn't mean that, persay."
Correct: "I didn't mean that, per se."

Per se is Latin for "in and of itself."

Persay is the way it sounds, but it's not the correct way to spell it.

Then vs. Than
Incorrect: "I thought you knew better then that."
Correct: "I thought you knew better than that."

People get these mixed up all the time, driving the poor grammarians batty. These words should not be used interchangeably. Here's the difference:

Then refers to a point in time, usually after something has happened or some condition is met. "First we mix the flour and sugar, then we add the butter."

Than is used for comparing things, such as length, height, weight, etc. "I think this dog weighs more than me."

There vs. They're vs. Their
People get these mixed up all the time. Let's look at these words in their correct form:

"The book is over there."
"That's their book."
"They're getting the book."

Remember, their is possessive. You're talking about who owns what.

They're is a contraction. If the sentence sounds fine when you reword it with they are, you know you're using the right pronoun.

There refers to where someone or something is.

Weather vs. Whether
Incorrect: "I don't care weather you like it or not."
Correct: "I don't care whether you like it or not."

Weather refers to the state of the atmosphere, whether it's raining, snowing, windy, cold, etc.

Whether is a choice between two or more options.

Your vs. You're
Incorrect: "This land is you're land."
Correct: "This land is your land."

Your is possessive. There is no apostrophe in this possessive pronoun when you add an "s" at the end. Yours is correct, your's is wrong.

You're is a contraction of "you are." If you ever get confused with your and you're, try rewording the sentence with you are. If you are totally changes the meaning of the sentence and makes it sound stupid (like "This is you are book"), you know you should be using your instead.

Sense refers to your senses, such as smell, taste, sight, and touch. It can also mean detecting something: "I sense you're unhappy with me for not owning a phone."

Since refers to a time or past event. Specifically, from then till now. It can also be a substitute for the word because. "Since I don't have a phone, you might as well write to me more often."

I hope this tutorial will help you with future writings.


Can I transfer you to my manager?
Invitation Status
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
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Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
Adventure stories! They can be fantasy, modern, sci-fi, all kinds! Give me some good world travel stories and I'm all over it! I also enjoy romance stories and even though I tend to play females I love playing gay men.
I'm awful about then/than. This makes it make more sense!
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
Fantasy, Horror and Sci-fi. I'll try basically anything though. I also love strange and unusual RP genre concepts. Different is good!
Cool guide, I get caught up on some of these all the time.

Sir Basil

Original poster
Always good to have a brush-up on some of these common grammar errors. C:


Original poster
I get effect and affect wrong sometimes. Need to remember that affect means to influence, while effect is the result of something.

Thanks for you contribution, Astoni. :3


Original poster
Glad you guys like this. There will be more tutorials on stuff like this coming up next week.

Ike Sapphire

Original poster
This is more like a class session rather than a tutorial

Fel of the Eternal Forest

Original poster
I'm glad someone decided to post these tutorials. Thank you.


Original poster
I love all of these.
Did you hear that they are considering altering the dictionary meaning of "nauseous" because moronic Americans use it incorrectly so frequently that, as a living language, English evolves through that common usage? That make me so angry.

Jack Shade

Magical, Fantasy, Supernatural, Sci Fi, Steam Punk, Noir, HORROR, and I'm willing to try Romance.
The only way to stop them, Kitti, is to cut forth the tongue of he or she who offends thine language with their impurities.

But yes, lots of words that are used now were not back in the day...so to say.

In a hundred years, this language will be different. It may even be unrecognizable....Who knows.

Either which way, thanks for this guide. I'm sure many of us will find it a helpful, as we sometimes forget our words...and ourselves.


Original poster
I'll be posting weekly tutorials. So keep your eyes open for the new ones. The latest tutorial is the Adjectives and Adverbs. EVERYONE has troubles with these.