A few years ago our amazing founder Julianne wrote a blog post about words that are commonly mixed up in writing or conversation.
We were astounded at the high amount of positive responses we received for that particular post.
And as it's a message that is still as relevant (if not more relevant with the use of SMS!) today, we thought it was important to share with our new generation of subscribers.
Even as professional writers we still get some of these confused!
accept/except: Accept means to take willingly. Except means "other than." Use this phrase to remember "I will accept any jewellery except diamonds”. Yeah, right!
to/too: To can be used in numerous situations, however, too can only be used as an adverb meaning ”additionally” or “excessively”. It can replace “also” and “as well” in a sentence too. For example, “You can achieve a higher return from diversification as well” or “You too can achieve a higher return from diversification.”
bought/brought: We're astounded at how frequently these two words are confused more often in speech than writing. Bought is the past use of the verb ‘to buy’. For example, “I went to the jeweller and bought a diamond ring.” Brought is the past use of the verb ‘to bring’. “After I bought the diamond ring, I brought it home.”
stationary/stationery: Two entirely different meanings and there’s an easy way to remember the difference. Stationary is an adjective which describes something that is not moving. Stationery is what you buy from the stationer. Hint if you missed it: there’s an “e” in stationer and an “e” in stationery.
The joy of apostrophes...
it's/its: Most of us remember learning that an apostrophe means “possession”. It usually does, but not when it comes down to “it”. The apostrophe used in “it’s” is a contraction – meaning short for “it has” or “it is”. Simply remember this for possessions – his, hers or its (no apostrophes in any of these). By the way, MS Word spell checker often gets this wrong!
who’s/whose: “Who’s” is short for “who is” or “who has”. Whose is the possessive form of who. For example: Whose portfolios need reviewing? Who’s going to review them?
They’re, their and there: “They’re” is the contraction for “they are” – “they’re going to Paris this weekend”; “their” is the possessive pronoun – “in their new jet”; “there” means many things, to introduce a fact, truth or establish a position, “and they will arrive there in 15 hours”.
Big misconception - apostrophes are not used in plurals: Remember the 60’s? Right? Wrong! You’re talking about the nineteen-sixties, plural, not the nineteen-sixty’s. It’s 60s, no apostrophe. (It might look odd, but it’s correct.)
This one is a doozy and we see it everywhere!
A group of something is a collective single entity, (such as company, firm, practice, etc) but how many times do you see something like this: “ABC Financial Planning are a firm of professional advisers specialising in...” Wrong!
The firm is a single entity, the correct use is: “ABC Financial Planning is a firm of professional advisers specialising in...”
Or if you prefer, “The advisers of ABC Financial Planning are specialists in...”
The key to remember here is that although there may be many advisers in the company, there is only one company, so the verb that follows it is singular.
Don't forget, our English is different to US English in many ways. Most commonly, Australian spelling uses “s” not “z” in words such as realise and specialise. And another we see frequently misused - Australia has advisers. The US has advisors.
Would you believe that blond is used to describe the colour of a man’s hair and blonde to describe a woman’s? And that’s no joke!