Commonly Misused Words

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People who are close to me know that I have a knack of correcting misused or mispronounced words during a conversation. Not that I am a grammar Nazi of some sort but I think it just came from having English as my favorite subject in school and the love of writing.

Most often, we use words we thought were right and then we find out that it has a different meaning. Awkward, right? I sometimes get into the same kind of situation when I thought I used the right words just because it sounded right. That is why it helps to double check if we are using the appropriate words.

Last year, I participated in an integrated business communication course facilitated by our conglomerate’s L&D team. It made me refresh my vocabulary and grammar knowledge. Today, I thought of sharing with you some commonly misused words that I have learned and would come in handy when we make written communication at work.

Advice / Advise

Advice is a noun which means a guidance or recommendation. When used in a sentence: “She is asking for your advice.” Advise is a verb which means to inform or recommend. In a sentence, “Please advise her.”

Effect / Affect

Effect is a noun which means a result or consequence. When used in a sentence: “It is the effect of Global Warming.” Affect is a verb which means to cause something to happen. The verb affect means to have an effect on something. It can also be used to mean to have an impact on someone. In a sentence, “It affects her badly.”

Assure / Ensure / Insure

To assure means telling someone something confidently or positively and dispelling any doubts about it. When used in a sentence: “I assure you, this too shall pass.” To ensure means to make sure or to guarantee that something will happen. In a sentence, “Please ensure that this memo gets posted. To insure something or someone is to cover it with an insurance policy.

Then / Than

Then means at that time or after that time. When used in a sentence, “I was working at a restaurant then.” or “I won the first and then the second game.” Than means to make comparisons – either one thing is more or less than another. In a sentence, “She is tougher than him.”

Who / Whom

Who refers to the subject being talked about or the doer of the action. In a sentence, “Who is that person standing in front of the class?” Whom refers to the object of a verb or the one that an action is being done unto. When used in a sentence: “To whom shall I address this letter?”

Everyday / Every day

Everyday is an adjective which most often describes the word after it. When used in a sentence: “This my everyday routine.” Every day is an adverb which refers to the activities we do every day. In a sentence, “I wake up at 6 AM every day.”


These are just some of the words I know that are commonly misused. I have more on my list and will share more again soon. I hope you learned something today!

Carpe diem,
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