Errors can mar one’s writing and this can be more embarrassing if one allows such errors get out without noticing them. Errors could detract a great deal from one’s writing and put off the audience from the message being portrayed. It also question the writer’s credibility, as regards the qualification he or she has in authoring the literary piece.
But for the sake of this write-up, we shall be considering a list of word pairs or triplets often mistaken for the other. Some words sound alike but spelt differently. Due attention should be drawn to them to avoid misrepresentation when writing.
- They’re, There, Their:
‘‘They’’ refers to third person plural pronoun, ‘‘there’’ refers to a place, while ‘‘their’’ is used to denote possession.
So one can say: They are going there with their bags.
- Your, You’re:
‘‘Your’’ is showing possession while ‘‘You’re’’ is expressing what someone is and it is also a contracted form of ‘‘you are’’.
- Its, It’s:
“Its’’ is possessive pronoun used for a non-personal subjects or objects. “It’s” is a contracted form of ‘It is’.
- Incomplete Comparison:
It could be detected in a hanging statement. The non-completion of grammatical expression lies in its non-communication of a complete sense. For example:
Your car is slower, cheaper, and dirtier.
The statement did not tell us what the car is compared with.
Better put: Your car is slower, cheaper, and dirtier than mine.
- Passive and Active Voice:
It is advisable writers use active voice, which makes writing alive and clear, in language expressions other the passive which makes the writing dull, and difficult to understand, especially if the sentence is any of a compound, complex or compound complex sentence.
- Dangling or Hanging Modifiers:
This occurs when a writer uses an adjective or adjectival phrase or clause, which does not relate to the noun it precedes.
E.g.:After declining for months, Jean tried a new tactic to increase ROL.
Better still, say: After declining for months in meeting his target, …
- Referring to a Brand or Entity as ‘They’:
This is a commonplace in some write-ups but it is wrong to describe a brand or entity(organization, government, society, etc) with ‘they’. E.g: Nigerian Airways says they are not opening for business
Correct: Nigerian Airways says it is not opening for business.
- Affect vs Effect:
These are often confused in usage. When one is referring to one thing changing the other, the cause of change, (noun), is followed by ‘effect’. But if it’s the action of change itself (verb), then ‘affect’ is appropriate.
Eg: The movie effected an unfamiliar mood in the audience.
The movie affected me greatly.
- Me and I:
These are often confused in normal usage. ‘Me’ is the objective form for the personal pronoun‘I’, and of course ‘I’ takes the subject position in a sentence.
Eg: When he comes, tell him to send it to Bola and I
Corrected: When he comes, tell him to send it to Bola and me.
- To and Too:
‘To’ is used before a noun or verb to depict a destination, recipient, or action.
Eg: I am going to Lagos Island (destination)
I will give it to him (recipient)
I want to eat (action)
While ‘Too’ is used in place of ‘as well’ or ‘also’ or express adjectives in extreme cases.
They, too, can do same.
They, as well, can do same.
We too have the pack of cards.
We also have the pack of cards.
It’s too cold for me. The sound is too loud. (extreme cases)