10 August 2017

10 bad English errors to avoid

Gareth Quinn

1. Which vs. That
THAT is a restrictive pronoun, and WHICH is a relative pronoun that implies the options to use. So, WHICH defines, THAT limits.

I don't trust fruits and vegetables that aren't organic. = I trust ONLY organic fruits and vegetables.
I eat only organic fruits and vegetables, which are available in area grocery stores. = I choose from organic fruits and vegetables in my store, and I do not need to go to a special shop for that.

2. Who vs. Whom
WHO is a subjective pronoun along with "he", "she", "it", "we" and "they". This word is used when a pronoun acts as a subject of a sentence. WHOM applies to objective pronouns along with "him", "her", "its", "us" and "them". This word is used when a pronoun acts as an object of a sentence.

Who = she, he, it, we, they
Whom = him, her, its, us, them

3. Fewer vs. Less
LESS is used for hypothetical quantities, while FEW and FEWER are used for things you can count.

The firm has fewer than ten employees.
The firm is less successful now that we have only ten employees.

Since vs. Because
SINCE refers to time, BECAUSE refers to causality.

4. Bring vs. Take
To use the words BRING and TAKE correctly, an author should know whether the object moves toward or away from the subject. If toward - use BRING, if from - use TAKE.

A husband says to his wife: take your clothes to the cleaners.
A cleaner says to this woman: bring your clothes to the cleaners.

5. Affect vs. Effect
To cope with this problem, a simple hint can be used: AFFECT is almost always a verb, and EFFECT is a noun.

Affect = influence or create an impression
effect = result.

Facebook affects people's attention spans.
Facebook's effects can also be positive.

6. Insure vs. Ensure
Ensure = to guarantee, to persuade
Insure = a verb for "insurance"

One of the most fundamental acts of civilization is to ensure people can get enough food.
I would bet many more of you insure your iPhone.

7. It's vs. Its
ITS is a possessive pronoun, while IT'S is a shortcut of "it is". English learners often forget using an apostrophe here, making a huge grammar mistake in result.

It's a great day! = It is a great day.
Its day was great! = (Whose/Which) day was great.

8. Farther vs. Further
FARTHER means a distance that can be measured. FURTHER refers to some abstract length that can not always be measured.

I threw the ball ten feet farther than Bill.
The financial crisis caused further implications.

9. Historic vs. Historical
Use HISTORIC when you speak about an important event. HISTORICAL refers to something that happened in the past.

It's gonna be a historic party!
So that was the phage phi X 174, which was chosen for historical reasons.

10. Good vs. Well
GOOD is an adjective while WELL is an adverb answering the question how. Sometimes well also functions as an adjective pertaining to health.

You did a good job. Good describes job, which is a noun, so good is an adjective.

You did the job well. Well is an adverb describing how the job was performed.