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Word Choice

Lay vs. Lie – You lay an object down on the table, but you lie down on your bed.

Its vs. It’s – The dog chased its own tail, but don’t worry -- it’s not a crazy animal.
(it’s = “it is” or “it has”; its = possessive)

Here vs. Hear – Come here and see what I found! I know you can hear me; you’re just not listening.

Lose vs. Loose – I don’t want to lose my hubcap, but I think it’s loose.

Chose vs. Choose – I chose her yesterday, but today I’ll choose you.

Accept vs. Except – I will accept any poems except unfinished ones.

Advise vs. Advice – I would advise you not to trust a psychic’s advice.

Their vs. There vs. They’reTheir ball rolled over there, behind that tree, and now they’re going to go get it.    
(their = possessive; there = adverb showing location; they’re = “they are”)

You’re vs. Your You’re going to go visit your grandmother, aren’t you?

Two vs. To vs. Too – Only two people have signed up to go on the field trip, but you’re welcome to go, too.

Principal vs. Principle – The principal at my elementary school had one guiding principle: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Led vs. Lead – I led you out of the tunnel yesterday; today it’s your turn to lead me.
(Also: plumbing pipes used to be made of lead.)

Between vs. AmongBetween the two of us, I don’t think there’s a fair way to divide the money among the ten grandchildren.
(Between is used when discussing only two subjects; among is used with at least three subjects.)

Cite vs. Sight vs. Site – Can you cite three passages of Shakespeare? I’m angry at you--get out of my sight! Is the construction site muddy from the storm?

Breath vs. Breathe – Take a deep breath. Breathe deeply. (Breath is a noun; breathe is an active verb.)

Effect vs. Affect – Did the tornado have a devastating effect on your town? It didn’t affect us at all.
(Effect is almost always used as a noun; affect is almost always used as a verb.)

Well vs. Good – He sang well. He was a good singer.
(Well describes how an action happened or was performed, and is an adverb.)
(Good modifies a noun, and is an adjective.)

Fewer vs. less – He is carrying fewer bags, but he has less time to do his errands.
(Use fewer with items that can be counted [bags].)
(Use less with items that cannot be counted [time].)

Quiet vs. quite – Be quiet! You’re becoming quite annoying.

I vs. me – [Tommy and] I went to the store. My mother gave some money to [Tommy and] me.

 

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