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Write Right

Writing Tip of the Week

Use "the right words" whenever you write. Watch for the commonly misused words below:

accept, except

Please accept (receive) my apology.

Everyone has except (other than) you.

affect. effect

Ava's lateness affected the entire class. (Affect—a verb meaning "to influence")

The effect (result) was a class full of angry students.

already, all ready

I have already finished working on the car. (Already is an adverb telling when.)

Now I'm all ready to take it for a drive. (All ready is a phrase meaning "completely ready.")

alternate, alternative

Since the highway was blocked with snow, we took an alternate route (Alternate is an adjective meaning "other.")

We had no alternative but to take the back road. (Alternative is a noun meaning "choice.")

bare, bear

Although the temperature had dropped, he dipped his bare feet into the lake.

The bear was rummaging in the garbage cans at the campsite.

bring, take

Please bring me the bucket and mop so I can wash the floor. (Bring means "moving toward the speaker.")

Take the bucket and mop back to the storage closet. (Take means "to carry off.")

fewer, less

There are fewer cups than plates in the cupboard. (Fewer refers to something you can count.)

Since I started working, I get less and less time to exercise. (Less refers to something you can't count.)

hear, here

I couldn't hear you.

When I was over here, you were over there.

lay, lie

Please lay the books on the desk. (Lay means "to place.")

I must lie down for a few minutes. (Lie means "to recline.")

right, write

Is this the right place for a party?

I'll write a list of options.

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