By Jen Rugani
Certain words are very commonly confused for each other; this is by design. Here’s a core content piece you’d find in our course.
The preposition among takes an object made up of more than two items, while the preposition between takes an object make up of exactly two items.
- We divided our winnings among the three of us.
- I cannot choose between the cake and the pie.
As and like can both be used to suggest similarity between two words or word groups. However, certain situations require the use of like, and others require the use of as.
Like draws a comparison between two nouns and functions as a preposition meaning “similar to.”
- Joe felt like a fool when he answered the question incorrectly.
- There is nothing like biking on a warm autumn day.
As indicates a similarity between clauses, two phrases containing both a subject and a verb. As also introduces an adjective that is used in a comparison or a noun that indicates status.
- The cod was marinated in white wine, as a proper seafood dish should be.
- The teacher is very lenient, but the principal will not be as kind.
- I work as a librarian.
The adjective fewer properly modifies nouns that express quantities that can be counted; lessmodifies nouns that express quantities that cannot be counted.
- Fewer people are living in the city.
- Please put less sugar in my tea.
Effect is most commonly used as a noun meaning “result,” but may also function as a verb meaning “bring about.” Affect is most commonly used as a verb meaning “change.”
- The weather affected the outcome of the football game.
- The failure of the major bank had a major effect on the stock market.
There are several other pairs and sets of words that are commonly confused. The following list is not exhaustive, but it is a good starting point.
- Another, the other
- Accept, except
- Adapt, adopt
- Allusion, illusion, delusion
- Assure, ensure, insure
- Beside, besides
- Each other, one another
- Eminent, imminent
- Had, would have
- If, whether
- Imply, infer
- Ingenious, ingenuous
- More, greater
- Much, many
- Since, after