Blogging · First World Problems · Ridiculousness

Words I Misuse

I’m writing this in the hopes that someone out there has a genius way in helping me remember which word to use and when. I’ve had relatives correct my grammar and blogging friends, and I welcome the advice. Here are my troublemakers:

  • Your vs. You’re
  • Course vs. Coarse
  • Are vs. Is
  • Lie vs. Lay
  • Effect vs. Affect (I thought I had a handle on this till someone made me question my confidence)
  • Then vs. Than

And when I Google this stuff, and click on a website, the definition might as well be in Russian. I say Russian because the definition is like “this means it’s the second person possessive adjective” or “present participle blah, blah, blah”. I don’t understand all of that and in order to understand how to use a specific word, I would have to relearn all of the grammar rules and definitions. That’s a huge commitment and honestly, I don’t know if I find it that important to sit down and learn. All of you teachers and grammar nazis can close your mouth now,  because I just felt a collective gasp that came from around the world when I said it.

I’m not a big fan of GIFs in blog posts (super distracting), but when I saw this one, I couldn’t resist. Enjoy!




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13 thoughts on “Words I Misuse

  1. Most of these I don’t have simple tricks to remember – their technical explanations explain them! -says my English major self. But for two of them I do.

    Your vs. You’re – Replace “you’re” with the two words that make up the contraction: you are. If those two words don’t fit in the sentence, it’s the wrong one, and vice versa (the same goes for “its” and “it’s”): “What time is you’re party?” Wrong! “Is your party tonight?” Correct!

    Effect vs. Affect – Effect is the noun, Affect is the verb (A for Action!).

    Have you ever heard of Grammar Girl? She/the website is a great reference for quick and [usually] simple explanations for grammar.

    1. Thank you Kelsey! I have heard of Grammar Girl and trust me, I’ve been on her site more than once when I Google a grammar issue. Thank you for the tips. I think I need to print them out and keep them close when I’m writing. I will however continue to misuse some of the above words and for that, apologies! LOL! Have a great day!

  2. I actually just went to a grammar workshop for work to brush up on my grammar and business writing skills! You wanna feel like a complete idiot, I suggest you go to one of them.

    Affect=to influence. All the other times its effect.

    Coarse= dog fur (rough texture). All other times its course

    Than= comparison (greater than, less than). Then is associated with time (and then, and then…)

    Lie is to recline. Lay is to put/place. I don’t really have a trick for that one.

    I use the same rule of thumb that Kelsey does with your/you’re. When I read it in my head, I always say you are and figure out if its right.

    Are/Is is a tough one. When you are talking about one noun (person, animal, place, thing, object, time, idea, feeling, et al), then you use is. The dog is cute. When you are talking about more than one noun, then you use are. The dogs are cute. When you are talking about a group with a singular title, you typically use is. The pack (of dogs) is cute.

    Did you know that its improper grammar for grocery store signs to read ’10 items or less?’ Its supposed to read ’10 items or fewer’ for proper English.

    Hope this helps!

    1. Wow this does! Thank you! I think I’m going to copy and paste this to a word document and keep it nearbye when I write. Now I have 0 excuse to get anything wrong. Gulp! That’s a big responsibility!

  3. I’m going to send you a picture on FB later for the “your and you’re” But I like to think of it as your boys say you’re their mom (possession and you are”

    then is what happens next, than is comparison.

    effect is the end of result, affect is the action

    “there IS one apple. there ARE three apples”


    1. Thank you for this! I haven’t opened it yet on Facebook! I had one hell of a day at work, then had to return soccer shoes then had to cook and no joke, I went to bed at 8 PM last night. It was that awful, rainy, cloudy weather and I think that had a lot to do with my early bedtime.

  4. has full explanations that are what you don’t like, but then there are examples!

    I still look up lay vs lie and affect vs effect every time, and more often than not I click on Grammar Girl when I look up anything because she explains things in a relatable way that makes me feel less stupid for questioning myself. Again. Because what happens to me is, I know my shit but then I remind myself so hard that it’s this way that I start to think, “yeah, I used to think it was this, but it’s actually that” and I’m right back where I started: wrong.

    1. YES! YES! AND YES! It’s so true! It’s like we think about it too hard and make it more difficult than what (and I’m literally typing and retyping then vs than….ugh!!) it needs to be. Why isn’t WordPress and Word smart enough to know EXACTLY what we mean and just fix it? How else are robots going to take over if they can’t even fix our grammar now?

  5. Then goes with when. It’s about time (Nice reminder rhyme)
    Than is a compari-saaaan (you can make it rhyme if it helps) it’s about one being ‘different than the other’

    1. Sa-weet! Thank you for this! I’m going to add this to the word document I’m going to make with bexoxo’s recommendations. All of this is so helpful from you guys and I really do appreciate it!

  6. Have you ever thought of having someone edit your blog posts for you? When I first started, a good friend of mine edited all of my posts, because I was paranoid that I’d make a really common grammar mistake. Not only did she ensure I’d rarely publish a post with a glaring error, I learned A LOT from her, specifically about comma usage.

    Effect and affect get me every time, and I concur with everyone in regards to Grammar Girl.

    The best way to remember when to use the correct word is to learn more about them. It sounds crazy, but relearn what a verb, noun, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, etc. is. Ask yourself what it is you’re trying to convey and what makes most sense. Take a grammar course.

    As I tell my students- practice makes perfect. The more you immerse yourself in learning and practicing them, the better you’ll get.

    As someone who enjoys to write, it’s a worthwhile venture.

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