English is a confusing language, many people say. However, English is also the universal language and decent command over it is very important.
Speaking is considerably easier than writing because when you write, you have to be very careful about the spellings. A letter misplaced or a letter gone wrong can change the entire meaning of the word and effectively, the sentence. When this happens, your business writing will make you look bad. Some people may skip over these errors but there are others who will laugh at you for your spelling errors. If you are a job seeker, your application might get rejected because you used “who” instead of “whom” or “affect” instead of “effect.”
Let’s look at a few commonly confused words that can impact your message negatively and leave the reader with the wrong impression:
Criterion and Criteria
This is probably the most common mistake people make. Criterion is the singular form of criteria. If this is extremely confusing to you, you can just use “factor(s)” instead of criterion/a and be on the safe side.
Affect and Effect
Affect is a verb while effect is a noun. Memorize this sentence if you have to but do not interchange these words.
Affect means to influence while effect is an accomplishment of a certain act. Effect is the result. It is THE influence.
Compliment and Complement
When you compliment someone, you say something nice to him or her. When you complement, you add something or you enhance something. “You are looking beautiful today,” is a compliment. “Complementary nachos!” are add-ons.
Infer and Imply
A speaker implies something. When the listener understands, he infers it. This means that inferring is the act of understanding or deducing while implying is the act of suggesting.
Number and Amount
While these may seem like synonyms, there are certain rules to using them. You should use “number” when you are referring to countable items. You should use “amount” when you refer to uncountable items.
It’s and Its
This is another glaring error that many people make. “It’s” is short for it is. “Its” shows possession. If you find yourself confused between them, simply use the “it is” or “its” in the sentence. See what makes sense and use accordingly.
Learn the basic usage of these words so that you convey the right message and avoid miscommunication.
Avoid common spelling mistakes in the English language and you will save yourself of a lot of embarrassment and miscommunication. The reader may take things negatively because of one spelling error.