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Writing Science: Common Errors

Word Confusion

Review these commonly confused words and their meanings

  1. Effect Vs. Affect Vs. Impact
    • Effect = noun
      • Can be preceded by an article (the/a/an effect)
    • Affect = verb
      • Meaning: To influence something
      • Verbs are action words, affect starts with a…action = affect!
    • Impact – refers to a strong effect or influence - should be used judiciously as not all effects are strong ones.
  2. Its Vs. It’s
    • It’s = It is
    • Its = possessive adjective
      • The duck preened its feathers
      • Compare to writing her’s (incorrect) rather than hers
  1. Than Vs. Then
    • Than = comparison
      • Squirrels are bigger than shrews
    • Then = sequential in time
      • We took measurements then released the squirrels
  2. Between Vs. Among
    • Between = comparison of only two items
    • Among = comparison of more than two items

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