by Katy White
Like so many writers, I'm a grammarian at heart (and a staunch one, at that), with an editor who is rather more outer than inner. So here are a few common mistakes to avoid when writing:
A lot vs. Alot
This is a common mistake, but also an easy one to remember. Alot isn't a word. Think about it this way: there's no such thing as afew. (Allot, on the other hand, is a word and means something completely different.)
Affect vs. Effect
Affect is a verb meaning to influence or to impact. Effect is nearly always used as a noun meaning a result or consequence. When using effect as a verb, use it when you mean "to bring to pass."
All right vs. Alright
This is another easy one. Although spellcheck won't tell you this because it's been beaten into submission, alright isn't a word. After all, alwrong isn't a word, either.
Anyway vs. Anyways
The right word here is anyway (anyways is considered informal dialect). Save yourself the time typing that extra letter.
Blond vs. Blonde
The difference here comes from the french words for a male and female with yellow hair. Blond refers to men. Blonde refers to women.
E.g. vs. I.e.
E.g. is short for "exe mpli gratia," a latin term meaning "for example." I.e., on the other hand, means "id est," which is short for, "that is to say." Use them accordingly.
Lay vs. Lie
In present tense, lie means to be in a resting/horizontal position. Lay means to put something down in that same state. So you lie down or you lay your head down. The past and past participle are where it gets tricky. So follow this chart:
These are just a few words and tricks to remember. What common mistakes do you see in writing?