We all do it from time to time, get a word mixed up with another. We type fast. Our minds are processing so fast. Our fingers have a mind of their own. I've done it. I've seen WAY too many examples of it on the Internet. Especially in all those posters people pass around on Facebook.
Now, that's a place to screw up. There are so many grammar cops on Facebook, they come out of the Internet woodwork just to point out how you made a mistake and how you should never make that mistake again and how awful you are to have made the mistake. Yeah, I've seen them.
Well, I'm going to help you with distinguishing between the right word and the wrong word and how to use the proper word when writing. There are many words out there that can confuse you. I offered you a few ways to misspell words in my last post. Let's see which ones are most commonly confused and we'll go from there.
The past form of the verb is led.
I led the race in the marathon on Tuesday.
The present form is lead, which rhymes with bead. (Don't confuse it with the metal lead, which rhymes with dead.)
I will lead the race today.
Loose means "not tight".
The screw is too loose for me to tighten it properly.
The other one, lose, has a "z" sound.
We are going to lose the game.
Moral has to do with right and wrong. Morale means "the spirit of a group or an individual". Pronounce them correctly and you won't confuse them. Moral is a short sounding word. With the emphasis on "Mor-" while Morale is a long sounding word with the emphasis on "-ale".
That was an interesting moral question.
The morale of the troops needed improvement.
Passed is a verb.
He passed the house he was supposed to visit.
Use past when it's not a verb.
He walked past the house he was supposed to visit. (It's the same as "He walked by the house...", so you know it isn't a verb.)
John is living in the past.
Don't rely on your past reputation.
Remember "piece of pie". The one meaning "a piece of something" always begins with pie.
I gave him a piece of my mind.
The last piece to the puzzle is missing.
The other one, peace, is the opposite of war.
They signed the peace treaty.
Wanda attempted to keep the peace in the loud house.
Pronounce these two correctly, and you won't confuse them -- Personal is emphasizing "Per-", while Personnel is emphasizing "-nel".
Personal has to do with emotions or feelings, or belonging to someone, while Personnel has to do with people.
He had a personal interest in the story in the paper.
She was in charge of personnel at her company.
Can you find the correct word for each of the following ten sentences?
1. We wanted to go for a walk (threw through) the woods but couldn't decide (were where) to start.
2. Finally we went (passed past) the university to a good trail I (knew, new) about.
3. It's not (to too) far from the university in a (peace piece) of virgin timber where it's always (quiet quite.)
4. Since (it's its) the (principal, principle) trail in the University Preserve, it's impossible to (loose lose) one's way.
5. The path is made of (coarse course) wood chips and is easy to walk on in any (weather whether).
6. It was a cool day, and before long we were (conscience conscious) that we should (have of) brought sweaters.
7. (There They're) are more birds (there their) (than then) in most woods.
8. We looked at (quiet quite) a number through (are our) binoculars.
9. The path (lead led) us a long way into the woods and (than then) back.
10. We were away only for (a an) hour -- exactly the (right write) length of time.
Be careful when finding the correct word. I've added some zingers in here that we didn't discuss. Can you still choose the correct word to complete the sentences?
--Your Writing Coach!