Friday, July 20, 2012

Getting it right

I just hate it when I'm proofing a manuscript, just about ready to hit the "send" button, and spot an incorrectly used word. Or worse -- I spot it after I hit the send button.

There are a few pretty common words that I have to look up every time I want to use them. They taunt me. I don't know why my brain refuses to admit them to my vocabulary.

Here are a few of the little tormentors:

accept, except: Accept is a verb, meaning "receive." Except is usually a preposition or conjunction meaning "but for" or "other than;" when it is used as a verb, it means to "leave out."

anxious, eager: Anxious means "nervous" or "worried" and is usually followed by about. Eager means "looking forward" and is usually followed by to.

farther, further: Farther refers to additional distance, and further refers to additional time, amount, or other abstract matters.

its, it's: Its is the pronoun it in the possessive case; it's is a contraction for "it is."

lose, loose: Lose means "mislay;" loose means "unrestrained" and "not tight."

sensual, senuous: Sensual suggests sexuality; sensuous means "pleasing to the senses."

your, you're: Your is the possessive form of you; you're is the contraction of you are.

How about you? Are there any annoying little words that like to trip you up?

(Examples and definitions are from The Little, Brown Handbook -- a fabulous albeit expensive -- grammar and usage resource.)


Carla Swafford said...

Effect and affect.

Effect is the result, POWER to influence. Affect is the influence. Anyway, that's how I remember it.

Lexi said...

Blond and blonde. Blond is an adjective and blonde is a noun . . . or is it the other way around?

M.V.Freeman said...

Oh, there are soooo many for me. You've listed some (and blond/blonde is the very devil)

No wonder English is a class III language--we have all these contradictions and minute changes.

Then there is punctuation...lets not even start on that...

Suzanne Johnson said...

Ugh. So many. Plus, I have to use Associated Press style at work, and Chicago in my fiction writing and I am forever confusing them. I still can't put in that serial comma without cringing.