Not to embarrass anyone on this distribution list, but I came across this in a client’s guest column the other day. He was a big proponent of AI, Grammarly and SpellChecker, by the way:
“In principal, the judge’s decision should not effect the outcome.”
Affect vs. Effect: These homophones confuse many, especially when writing quickly. “Affect” is typically a verb meaning to influence, while “effect” is typically a noun meaning the result or consequence of an action.
Principal vs. Principle: Many financial folks trip over this one because “Principal” refers to an initial amount of money or investment, or to a person with controlling authority. “Principle,” on the other hand, pertains to a fundamental truth or belief.
So, if you’re keeping score at home, the correct version of this sentence should be: “In principle, the judge’s decision should not affect the outcome.”
Speaking of judging, we often see “Judgement” and “judgment” confused. I know it seems logical to use judgement (with an “e”), but in the U.S. we always drop the “e.” In the U.K. and Australia, both are used, judgement (with an “e”) is predominant. Same goes for “judgmental” vs. “judgemental.” Play it smart and drop the “e.”
Compliment vs. Complement: These words sound alike but have different meanings. “Compliment” refers to a courteous expression of praise or admiration, while “complement” denotes something that completes or enhances another thing.
“The color of your outfit complements your eyes.”
“Receive a complimentary cup of coffee with any purchase!”
Login vs. Log in: When spelled as one word, “login” only functions as a noun or an adjective. However, when spelled as two words, “log in” functions as a verb. The word with a hyphen (log-in) has generally faded from use.
“You can log in using your password.”
“Don’t forget your login information.”
Site vs. Cite: Not to be confused with someone’s ability to see (i.e., sight), a “site” refers to a place where something is located, such as a jobsite or website. On the other hand, “cite” is used as a verb whenever you reference something as an example or source.
“You can find that information on our site’s homepage.”
“Whenever you use data from a report, make sure you cite your sources.”
Their vs. They’re vs. There: These homophones often trip up even seasoned professionals.
Their (pronoun). A form of they that shows possession as in The dog walker feeds their dogs everyday at two o’clock.
They’re (contraction). Joins the words they and are. They’re the sweetest dogs in the neighborhood.
There (adverb). Indicates a particular place. The dogs’ bowls are over there, next to the pantry.
There (pronoun). Indicates the presence of something. There are more treats if the dogs behave.
Further vs. Farther: Use “Farther” when you’re referring to physical distance, as in someplace that is far away. (Think “A” for actual distance). Use “further” for metaphorical or figurative distance.
“The drive to the client’s office was much farther than I anticipated.”
“I didn’t feel I needed to take the conversation any further.”
Ensure vs. Insure:
Ensure: To make sure or safe. The company will ensure that all affected employees receive compensation.
Insure: To obtain insurance. The new office is insured against any damage caused by fire.
Stationary vs. Stationery: One letter makes all the difference. “Stationary” means unmoving or not changing position, while “stationery” refers to writing materials.
Everyday vs. Every day: When businesses try to communicate the value of their brands, there’s a big difference between “everyday low prices” and “low prices every day.” When spelled as one word, everyday is an adjective used to describe things that are common or occur daily. When spelled as two words, every is an adjective that modifies the noun day, and the phrase functions adverbially.
“The corner grocery store is known for its everyday low prices.”
“Bill stays active by going for a walk every day on his lunch break.”
“I Couldn’t Care Less” vs. “I Could Care Less”:
If you say you “couldn’t care less” about something, it means you don’t care about it at all.
Sometimes you will hear people say “I could care less” in the same way such as: “I could care less of that stock drops. I don’t own it anymore.”
Grammarians will say that “could care less” is wrong because it should mean the opposite of “couldn’t care less.” Logically, if you could care less, it means you do care some, so always go with “couldn’t care less” to make your point.
Not to be your high school English teacher, but having a solid command of the English language matters if you want to be taken seriously. After all, You’re an Elite Professional; Don’t Sound Like a Jamoke
#grammar; #businesscommunication; #thoughtleadership