Are you a grammer nerd? Did you notice I spelt grammar wrong in the previous sentence? Do you know the who wins: everyone vs every one ?? Have you ever turned down guys (or girls) who asked you out because they made such cringe-worthy grammar flubs in their texts? Have you had English teachers in school whose grammatical errors made you weep silently? My editor friend was just chatting with me about her workplace woes. She works for an online parenting magazine, and says she can never send in a piece without brutally editing it for typos, structure and factual content. It’s hard work. It seems to be near impossible to find (and hire) good writers. Before we think of becoming good writers, we should just aim to write simple content without grammatical errors. And we should know the which one is the right usage: everyone vs every one. She then proceeded to tell me that if I were writing for her, she would happily approve my work to be published with no changes. I had to wait till I left her office to do a happy dance. I got her chocolate fudge the next day.Then I sat down to write this post. I thought I’d put together a list of words and phrases like everyone vs every one that most people get wrong.
Everyday vs. Every Day
Everyday describes a thing that is ordinary or normal. Every day means “all of the days.” I have to wear pants every day. I wear my stupid pants and go to work everyday.
Who’s vs. Whose
Who’s is a contraction for “who is.” Whose is a pronoun that expresses possession of something. A girl whose pants don’t fit. Whose pants are those? Who’s she going to the party with? Whose pants did she borrow?
Farther vs. Further
Farther refers to a physical distance. Further refers to a metaphorical distance. That gypsy lady with the crystals who claims she can see further into your future? Yeah, you need to move farther away from her.
Stationary vs. Stationery
Stationary means fixed or standing still. Stationery refers to pens, pencils, and paper goods like notebooks, envelopes, post-its etc. I tried to push the envelope, but it was stationery. That’s a pun haha that doesn’t help. The sun? Stationary. Technically, the sun isn’t stationary. But for us non NASA people, it is. That bike in the gym? Stationary. The stuff you want to steal from your office? Stationery.
Affect vs. Effect
Affect is a verb that means to change something. Effect is a noun that means the change that came as a result of something. Do you want to positively affect people at the talk you’re giving? Free food can have a profound effect on the turnout.
Espresso vs. Expresso
Not many people in India know what an espresso is, let alone notice that there’s no x in there. There’s a joke (about exes) in here somewhere. They just order it because it’s the cheapest thing on the menu. If you order it at Starbucks, you will politely be reminded that an espresso, is a shot of black coffee. Don’t order it. It doesn’t have Instagram potential.
Giving someone free rein vs. Giving someone free reign
A rein is a leather strap that horse riders use to control their horse. In equestrian terminology, free rein means to give your horse freedom to move. A reign is something or other a king or some ruler type did for a period of time. Giving someone free rein does not mean letting them be the authority. It means giving them some freedom in what they do.
Accept vs. Except
Accept means to include or receive. Except means to exclude. This restaurant accepts all debit and credit cards. I could pay, except that I don’t have any money.
For all intents and purposes vs. For all intensive purposes
For all intents and purposes means in every practical sense. You’re covering all your bases. For all intensive purposes, used by so many uncles is a common eggcorn, often heard in speech, but it’s rare in published writing. Why, you ask? That’s because, for all intents and purposes, it will NOT pass through the editorial process.
I couldn’t care less vs. I could care less
If you say you could care less, there’s a possibility that you do care just a little bit, thereby making the phrase less meaningful. It’s okay, it’s the holiday season and it’s very late, you’re alone in the office looking at their Facebook profile, and OMG are they seriously engaged? You could, and should, care less. If you couldn’t care less, you mean that you do not and will not care. You care zero, and caring less than zero is negative. That’ll show ‘em.
Statute of Limitations vs. Statue of Limitations
A Statute is a written law passed by a legislative body. Trust me, I know, I used to be a lawyer. A statue of limitations would be some pretentious work of art in front of which cretins would take selfies.
Scot-Free vs. Scott-Free vs. Scotch-free
Getting off scot-free means getting to escape punishment or retribution for something that you know you deserved to get screwed for. Scott is the handsomely rugged Scottish guy in a kilt. You can never have him. Therefore, may you never be scotch-free.
Tongue-In-Cheek vs. Tongue-And-Cheek
Tongue in cheek is used to mean that a particular statement is funny, but not meant to be offensive. It comes form the facial expression you have when you are trying to stifle a laugh; you have your tongue in your cheek. Tongue and cheek is not a thing. Although, you never know right? It might be something to do with making out.
Mothers-in-law vs. Mother-in-laws (same for sisters, brothers, fathers and the rest of the people you have to please because you decided to get married) (A great place to explain everyone vs every one don’t you think?)
Hopefully you only have one mother-in-law. If you’re speaking of more than one brother, sister, you don’t pluralize law.
Home in not Hone in
To hone means to sharpen, enhance, improve or practice something. To home in means to get closer to something. You could be honing your flirting skills. It won’t really help though. Hone your spoken and written language skills. And once you home in, you could dazzle them with your newly acquired talents. 😉
Memento vs. Momento
A memento is something you keep to remind yourself of a person or event. Momento is a Spanish word meaning moment, permanently borrowed by the English language. Throw away the crap you’ve kept as mementos from that jerk. Yes. You’re better than that.
Return vs. Return back
To return means to give something back or go back. You don’t have to add back when you use return. We broke up, I want you to return my stuff. (Jerk!) I’m not coming back.
First come first served vs. First come first serve
If you’re the first one there, then you get served first. I mean, in an ideal world…
Regardless vs. Irregardless
Irregardless is not a word. That’s all.
Toward vs. Towards
The extra ‘s’ is unnecessary. The people who type ‘u’ instead of ‘you’, ‘ur’ instead ‘your’, what do they do in all the the time they saved? They use it to add an extra ‘s’ . They could be doing worse. This one is forgivable.
Anyway vs. Anyways
Same as above. Equally forgivable.
Lose vs. loose
Lose is when you misplace something. Like when you knew you shouldn’t have left your gold earrings by the sink and you lost them. Also, the opposite of not winning. Pretty sure Eminem did not mean to misplace himself in the music. Also, not the same as losing the plot. Also, not the same as that show you forced yourself to watch to impress a guy in college. See? It’s so hard to get lost in the many different meanings of lose. Loose, on the other hand, is what I wish my pants were.
Complement vs. Compliment
A complement is a thing that completes something else. A compliment is how you praise someone or something. The potatoes complement the meat so wonderfully well. My rabbit boyfriend has not once complimented my writing. I knew I should’ve gotten a cat.
Advise vs. Advice
Advice is a noun. It means a suggestion that is given to you because it will help you. Advise is a verb. It means to give advice. Take my dating advice. I know what not to do. I would advise you to not date in college. No one is rich yet.
i.e. vs. e.g.
i.e. is used when you’re defining something. It plainly means ‘in other words’. e.g. is used when you’re giving an example. Yesterday my rabbit boyfriend finally acted his age, i.e., like an eight year old rabbit. I should have known because of his areas of interest, e.g., carrots, lettuce, and other rabbits.
Nauseous vs. Nauseated
I told my rabbit boyfriend that his rotten lettuce is nauseous. We broke up. I mean… He died. The dead rabbit made me nauseated.
Exact revenge vs. Extract revenge
Exact is to demand and enforce while extract is to draw out or to remove forcibly from a fixed position. Dead rabbit’s family wants to exact revenge and I want to extract myself out of these pants.
Everyone vs Every One
Everyone is a pronoun that refers to a group of humans, or other creatures. Every one refers to the individual humans within a group. Hi, everyone! I’m sorry to inform you that rabbit is dead. I want to thank every one of you for coming.
Everyone vs every one vs rabbit.
everyone vs every one everyone vs every one everyone vs every one everyone vs every one everyone vs every one
How many of these did you know? Do you have any other ones? Do you know where I can get a rabbit?
Hugh Laurie photo by Buou; with the added thought bubble by me.