…and when did we stop teaching basic spelling, grammar, and reading skills to our children?
Or is this just a rite of passage you are trying to get through, and it does not matter if you are right, or wrong?
Because I can write about these (not)interchangeable words all day long, but that does not mean I am right.
Oh. My. Goodness. I am not right-handed, I like to write in my journal, and I have never had to do a rite of passage. And if you would like to get technical, we always have the Wright Brothers. But usually you will see this one as part of a word; such as playwright.
I wish I could give you some great cheats and hints to keep these words straight, but I really have nothing.
If you are writing something, think “W”. If you are correct about something, think “R”.
These seriously have to be some of my least favorite words in the English language.
There is a third “ware”, but is generally not used any longer, so I just decided to leave it out of this post. But back in the day, before retail stores were on every corner, people used to go door-to-door to sell their wares.
Now, I have also seen people use we’re when they should have used where, but since that is so far beyond even being related to where, I will discuss that in another post as well.
So what exactly are these two words? One is a verb, and one is an adverb. You can wear something, which is an action, or verb. You can wear a frown, you can wear a jacket, and you can wear your hat.
But you cannot where you hat. Unless if you lost your hat. Then you need to know where your hat is. Where is an adverb. Where is a destination, a place, or somewhere you want to be.
I am sure you have already had a good laugh from this image. Unfortunately, it is one of many examples of people trying to make points about how they are in control of their education, and know what is going on, yet they cannot spell simple words.
Unfortunately, this embarrassment will follow this hopefully-not-teaching-your-children person for the rest of her life.
I am pretty sure I know what your test score is going to be…
So, my whole point here, was than versus then.
As I like to not get into the rules-and-regulations of my AP English classes eons ago when I was in high school, or the APA and Purdue formatting rules. I am going to keep this simple.
Then = next, after, also, as well
Than = instead of, in place of, not to be confused with.
Confused? Me too. Some examples…
I would rather sleep in than get up early to go fishing.
I am going to go fishing, and then come home and have breakfast.
I will fix the sink for you, then I am going out.
I would rather eat dirt than have this conversation with you.
Do these two words get you caught up? What words get you caught up that drive you mad?
Let me know, and I will post some solutions!
Happy writing, and happy reading!
I reviewed a book a few months ago that every single time the main character smelled something (which oddly, for any story, was a lot), he smelt it.
The first time I saw it, I chuckled…the 6th time I saw it, I knew this writer had no idea how to find and hire an editor.
The story was great; but I could not get past the smelt-situation. There were other spelling and sentence errors, but they seemed like nothing compared to this.
This, my friends, is why you should not trust your spell-checker 100%.
You can smell something (verb), or something can smell. You can never smelt something, because it is a fish, and I am not a veterinarian, but I believe the sense of smell in a fish has something to do with the gills, and amount of oxygen in the water. Honestly, I am not even sure if they can “smell” anything.
Just save yourself the hassle, and your readers the pain, and find a great editor. We really are nice people who only want to help 🙂
This is another set of words that I see misused often. In news media, magazines, and yes, even in print. Your editor really is your best friend!
Instead of explaining the ridiculous English rules, I try to find ways to help you, and me, remember how to use these words correctly. They are not interchangeable.
Accept means you allow something; you agree; you take it as it is.
Except means “only if”; it is a type of condition you set upon someone or something.
I accept your proposal. I cannot accept this gift.
(If you said “I cannot except this gift”, it would make no sense).
You can either accept, or not accept, something.
I agree, except for the part where I do not get paid.
Everything looks good, except for your references.
Most of this looks good, but there is an exception. There is a part I do not agree with.
Accept means to agree (mostly), and except means you agree, but for one part.
Unfortunately, they both seem to be interchangeable. The best way I remember is accept means yes, and except means no. It will not work in every situation, but it will work in most.
Now that is a mouthful! This is also one of those spelling errors that makes me want to scratch my eyes out every time I see it.
Two. It is a number. That is it. Nothing more, and nothing less. It is Two. Not one, or three.
Too means in addition to, or also. “We will go too.” “I want to see it too.” If more than one person is involved, you can likely use “too”, and not make me scratch my eyes out. Think many people. Or think just overwhelmed. Too tired, too stressed, too busy. It is too much.
To is nothing more than a preposition that sets up a sentence. It can be before a noun, or a verb. “I want to go to Chicago.” I want to dance.” “I want to not ever see the words to, too, and two misused in public.”