Whether you're writing a business memo, report, or presentation, make sure you avoid these very common writing mistakes:
1. It's and Its: - "It's" is a contraction meaning "it is." Example: It's hot today. "Its" is a possessive form. Example: I read the book with all of its 500 pages.
2. You, Your, and You're: While the previous example is a grammatical error, the confusion of you and your is often a typo. You're is the contraction of "you are" and some people confuse it with your. Examples: You're a good person. Your sincerity is admirable.
3. Lose and Loose: Loose can have several meanings in English and is used as an adjective, adverb, or a verb (although that's not very common). Here are some examples: Unattended children ran loose through the store. That person has a pretty loose reputation. But lose is always a verb: His boss told him to lose his negative attitude while serving customers.
4. Compliment and Complement: - If you like your colleague's way of expressing herself, you'll compliment her on her communication skills. Complement is most commonly used to indicate that something completes a set or matches it well. Example: His positive attitude complements his wide knowledge of the product, making him a very effective salesman.
5. Principal and Principle: A principle is a basic truth, policy or value. (The Ten Principles of Effective Management.) Principals are the key persons holding responsibilities in schools or organizations.
6. Affect and Effect: Affect is a verb: it acts upon something, someone, or an emotion, while effect is both a noun and a verb, and hence comes the confusion. Let's see examples. Affect (verb): Because I have allergy, the weather affects me badly. Effect (Noun): The weather has a terrible effect on me. Effect (Verb): We will implement a new internal communication strategy to effect change. In this sentence, "to effect change" means "to cause change to happen."
7. Assure, Insure and Ensure: Assure, ensure, and insure all mean "to make secure or certain." Only assure is used with reference to a person in the sense of "to set the mind at rest": I assured the customer of our refund policy. Although ensure and insure are generally interchangeable, only insure is now widely used in American English in the commercial sense of "to guarantee persons or property against risk."
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