Everday or every day? Two, too or to? Lay or lie? Set or sit? Suppose or supposed to? Which do you choose? This article contains some of the top ten most commonly confused words and offers examples and easy to remember tips for using the words
1. Everyday vs every day:
Every day when written as two words means something that happens each day. It refers to time. Example: I see her every day at school. (Refers to time = I see them each day of the week)
Example: He goes to work every day.
Everyday when written as one word is an adjective meaning something common (but does not literally mean something that happens every day.) Example: She wears her everday clothes to play, but wears dress clothes to church. (She wears common clothes to play. She does not literally wear the clothes every day)
Example: Going to work is an everday activity for him.
2. All together vs altogether:
All together refers to everyone or everything. If you can use the words at separate places in the sentence, then all together is correct.
Example: The children sang all together. They all sang together. (all and together can be separated)
Example: They rode all together in the same car. They all rode together.
Altogether is an adverb meaning all in all or completely. If you can replace the word altogether with all in all or completely, then it's the right word.
Example: The second song was altogether different from the first. (The second song was completely different from the first)
Example: Our vacation to Italy was altogether a great trip. (Our vacation to Italy was all in all a great trip)
3. To, two and too:
To is a word that makes a noun relate to the rest of the sentence, also known as a preposition. Examples are "with", "at", "for" and "beneath". To is often used when you are saying you are going TO go somewhere or TO do something. It's usually followed by a verb. Example: I am going to the store.
Example: I want to tell you something.
Two is the number 2. Example: I have two eyes.
Example: The number one comes before the number two.
Too means also or an excessive or greater than what's needed (ie: too much, too many). If you could use also or excessive, the word too is the correct word. Example: I want to go to the circus too. (I want to go also)
Example: You paid too much. (You paid an excessive amount.)
4. Set and sit:
Set means to put something down. It always takes an object.
Example: Set the book on the table. She set her bag on the floor. * Notice both sentences have an object (book and bag).
Sit means to place your body down. It does not take an object.
Example: Sit down on the couch.
5. Lay vs Lie:
Lay means to put something down. It always takes an object. Example: Lay that book down. Lay your head down. Notice both sentences have an object (book and head)
Example: Lay that book down.
Lie means to recline or to be sedentary and does not take an object.
Example: Lie down on the couch.
Example: Lie on the ground.
6. Use vs used to:
Use is the present tense of the word.
Example: Please use my pen.
Example: I will use the car.
Used is the part tense of use, and is often heard as used to. Notice that 'use to' is not correct. Example: I used to work there.
Example: I used to know the words.
Example: I can't get used to this new car.
7. Suppose vs supposed to:
Suppose is a verb similar in meaning to think or presume. You think something is true but you're not entirely sure.
Example: I suppose that is true. It has the same meaning as I believe that is true.
Supposed to means something that you should do or ought to do. Notice that 'suppose to' is not correct.
Example: I am supposed to go to the store.
Example: She is supposed to call me.
8. Who or whom:
Who is the subject of the sentence. Who refers to the main person in the sentence.
Example: Who are you?
Example: Do you know who is coming?
Whom refers to the object of a sentence. It is often used with the words "to", "for" or "of" or could be used with those words. The word whom usually means that something is being done to or for that person.
Example: For whom is the phone?
Example: It that the man of whom you were speaking?
9. All ready vs already:
All ready means that something is completely done or entirely prepared. If you can separate the words all and ready, then all ready is the correct usage. Example: The reports are all ready. (All the reports are ready.)
Example: Is the food all ready for the guests? (Is all the food ready for the guests?)
Already refers to something that happened in the past or to indicate something has been accomplished. If you could us ethe word yet in the sentence, than already is correct.
Example: Did you already talk to him? (Did you talk to him yet?)
Example: Is the food prepared already? (Is the food ready yet?)
10. Farther vs further:
Farther always refers to distance. If you could flip the sentence around and use closer than, farther is the right word.
Example: My car is parked farther from the store than yours. (Your car is parked closer to the store than mine).
Example: The earth is farther than Mercury from the sun. (Mercury is closer than earth to the sun.)
Further refers to either more time or an amount or when you could say, 'in addition'. It is used to talk about things that are more theoretical in nature.
Example: I'm further along in the video game than my sister.
Example: Do we need to buy further supplies? (Do we need to buy more supplies?)
Example: Further to your point, we should discuss these facts. (In addition, we should discuss these points.)
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