GOOD TO GREAT
WORDS SPEAK LOUDER THAN ACTIONS
Proper grammar and word usage will strengthen communication
IS A SEASONED
Our aBility tO cOMMunicate,
BOth in BeinG understOOd and
in understandinG Others is
directly related tO Our chOice
OF WOrds. The wrong choice of words,
or punctuation when writing, can alter your
intent; furthermore, it can alter the response
you hoped to achieve. A lose/lose for all parties
The thought of grammar and its usage takes
us back to our school days—the dusty chalkboards where stern teachers made unsuspecting children diagram sentences and conjugate
verbs. After leaving school, you may have
thought grammar study was behind you, but
alas, some things never go away.
Rather than go back to the chalkboard,
take time to learn the most misused words
and usage. It won’t be long until you are back
on your own fast track. Here are some brief
descriptions of 10 commonly misused words to
help you along.
1 affect/effect: Affect is a verb, as in, “You
affected the outcome.” Effect is the outcome;
the result. Or you can get real tricky and say
you affected the effect.
2 assure/ensure/insure: You comfort some-
one when you assure them. You make sure
something happens when you ensure it. And
when you pay that premium, you’re paying to
3 Between/among: Between relates to two
things. Among applies to three or more.
4 continual/continuously: Continually has
breaks in the action, such as a drippy faucet.
Continuously is the main water pipe that
breaks and the water never stops running out.
5 Farther/Further: Farther is for distances that
can be measured, such as in miles. Further
cannot be measured, such as further into the
discussion, or further in time.
6 imply/infer: Finally, an easy one to remem-
ber. When you suggest something, you imply.
When you infer something, you take in the
information. Luckily, in is part of the word. I
inferred from his implication that the meeting
starts at noon.
7 lie/lay: People lie, as in telling an untruth or
reclining. Chickens lay eggs and you lay your
body down to nap.
8 lend/loan: Lend is a verb—something you
do—such as lend me a hand. A loan is a noun,
except a verb when there are physical transac-
tions, such as loaning you my book or money.
9 regardless/irregardless: Irregardless is not a
word. If it were, it would mean, “without, with-
out regard” which actually means “with regard.”
The correct word is regardless.
10 Who/Whom: Here’s the easiest way to get
past this quagmire. If, when you ask a question,
you answer, “he,” use who. If you answer him,
use whom. Example: With who/whom will you
be traveling? I will be traveling with him, there-
fore use whom, e.g., “With whom will you be
traveling?” Another example is, “Who/whom
completed the report?” He completed the
report; therefore the question is “Who com-
pleted the report?”
Are there more? You ‘betcha! Do an Internet
search for misused words and you’ll be busy
for weeks. Check out fewer/less and everyone/
everybody just to name two more. n