Top 20 Misused (and Mistreated) Words
to receive; to answer positively
not including; everything but
eager: excited/looking forward to
to pretend; to influence
assure: to make certain (such as with a person)
ensure: to make sure (such as with a thing)
insure: to provide or obtain insurance
at the side of
in addition to
between: two items that are related
among: three or more things related
a decision or an option
to make a decision
past tense of choose
compliment: to praise
complement: something that completes
literal or physical distance
to a greater extent
fewer: comparative with plural items
less: items that are singular
its: possessive form of it
it�s: contraction for it is or it has
to place, which is always followed by an object
**For present tense only. Tip: If you can replace the word in question with put, then use lay.
nauseated: not feeling well
per Merriam Webster: nauseous = causing nausea or disgust.
Nauseated means �experiencing nausea,� whereas nauseous means �causing nausea��in other words, offensive or loathsome. If you feel a queasy sensation in your stomach,
you are nauseated; only if you cause other people to be ill are you nauseous.
set vs. sit:
In general, set refers to an object
("Set the materials down on the table") and sit does not ("She sat for an hour, waiting for the bus").
that vs. which
is frequently used to introduce a nonrestrictive clause, a phrase that isn�t necessary or supplies additional information and is usually set off by commas.
example: The burned
CD, which she received from a friend, wasn�t as great of quality as the original from a music store.
is used for introducing restrictive clauses that refer to things, phrases that ARE essential to the meaning of the rest of
For example: The
CD that consists of all of the band�s top-ten singles is her favorite.
that vs. who/whom
In most cases, "who/whom"
is the standard form when referring to human beings, especially in regards to an individual person. "That" is used
when referring back to a class, species, or type. "Which" should never be used in reference to humans.
correct example with "who": She
goes to the hairstylist who is the best.
A correct example with "that": He is the type of hairstylist that should charge
more because he is the best.
their: possessive form of they
there: in or at that place
they�re: contraction for they are
form of which, who
who�s: contraction for who is
your: possessive form of you; belonging
you�re: contraction for you are
1. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
3. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
It is wrong to ever split an infinitive
5. Avoid clich�like the plague.
6. Also, always avoid annoying
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however
relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
Kill all exclamation points!!!!
13. Don't use no double negatives.
14. Use the apostrophe in it's
proper place and omit it when its not needed.
15. The passive voice is to be ignored.
commas, that are, not necessary.
17. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth great ideas.
Never use a big word when substituting a diminutive one would suffice.
19. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings,
it should be derailed.
should NEVER generalize.
(taken from Dan Rosenbaum: "Rules for Writers")
Prepositions usually are short words that
link parts of sentences.
change nouns or pronouns (and their modifiers) or any
word group functioning as a noun into prepositional phrases.
Examples of nouns: cat, table, book
Examples of prepositional phrases (preposition + noun):
OF the cat
bowl ON the table
pages IN the book
Prepositions that are used to form
two-word verbs are called
Joseph RAN AWAY from the problem. ("ran" = verb
+ "away" =
Gerald TURNED IN his essay. ("turned" = verb + "in"
examples of two-word verbs using prepositions which function as That bowl [on
the table] is cracked.
phrases often serve as modifiers within a sentence:
The whiskers [of the cat] began to twitch.
The underlined pages [in the book] are smudged.