Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Common mistakes that make our eyes pop!!

English can be a perilous language, fraught with traps people regularly fall into, whether they are native English speakers or not. Trying to tackle this problem here is a list of (some of) the most common mistakes committed (in random order):

1. it's / its
    "it's" is a contracted form of "it is" or "it has". "its" is a possessive pronoun.
    It's the truth. The coffee machine packaging included its operation manual.

2. there / their
    "there" refers to location and is definitely not here :) . "their" is a possessive pronoun.
    I will meet you there. The children washed their hands.

3. loose / lose
    "loose" is an adjective and is the opposite of tight. "lose" is a verb that means to cease to have.
    You might lose your bracelet if it is too loose on your wrist.

4. fewer / less
    This is a classic case of countable versus uncountable. If you can count it, use "fewer". If you can not count it, use "less". 
    There is less pollution in the countryside than in the cities. Ben has fewer toy cars than Peter.

5. Literally
    The incorrect use of "literally" is literally killing me. NOT!!! 
    You can only use the word if EXACTLY what you say is true- no room for analogies or metaphors.
    During the explosion a chair literally flew out of the window.

6. two/ too
    I didn't expect this duo to make it on the list, yet here it is. (I do hope that this mistake occurs due to typos and misspellings). "two" is a number, also known as "2". "too" means "also" or refers to quantity.
    I bought two bottles of wine. Kim bought a bottle, too. There is too much violence nowadays.

7. dessert / desert
    A "dessert" is something sweet that we eat as part of a meal. A "desert" is a large stretch of sand. In addition, when someone leaves the army without permission, we also use "desert". 
    We had fruit as dessert since everyone was on a diet. There are extreme heat conditions in the desert. Soldiers are severely punished in case they desert their position.
    *please note that the first and third word may have different spelling, but they are pronounced in the same way.

8. choose / chose
    "choose" and "chose" are actually from the same verb. "choose' is the infinitive and it is used to form the simple present tense, whereas "chose" is the simple past tense. Do not forget: the past participle, (used for example when forming the passive voice) is "chosen".
You should choose your friends wisely. She chose to buy the green carpet, instead of the blue one.

9. dryer / drier
    "dryer" is a noun. "drier" is the adjective "dry" in the comparative degree. 
    If you have wet hair, you should use a dryer to make it drier.

10. bought /  brought
    "bought" is the past tense and past participle of the verb "buy"
    "brought" is the past tense and past participle of the verb "bring"
They bought a new flat last year. His father brought him a glass of water.

bookworm BONUS!
e.g. VS i.e.
We use e.g. to provide an example. (e.g. = example). It stands for the Latin phrase "exempli gratia".
We use i.e. to offer additional information or to restate something more clearly. It stands for the Latin phrase "id est".
There are many species in the zoo, e.g. elephants, monkeys and lions.
The zoo has a wide variety of species, i.e. one can find are all kinds of animals there.


Some of these mistakes may seem easily avoidable, but, trust me, almost every document a proofreader works on includes at least one of the ten. This is why, using the services of a professional proofreader will ensure the clarity of your text and eliminate any mistakes or typos, thus giving you the certainty that your finalized document is error-free and ready to be used.

For more information on proofreading and copy-editing services you can visit simplyproofread.com

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