If something doesn’t sit well with you, will you be able to set aside your feelings?
If your brother turned into a frog, should you turn him in to your parents? Does the principal establish the principle of the thing? And frankly, is every supermarket Express Line wrong?
We’re back again with the next 5 most commonly misused words in the English language and we’re tackling some tough phrases that can be incredibly confusing. Without further delay, here they are!
Fewer vs. Less
fewer – Used with count nouns (nouns that can be pluralized when needed), fewer is a quantifier indicating “a smaller number of.”
Incorrect: Yellow Express Lane: 10 Items or Less
Correct: Yellow Express Lane: 10 Items or Fewer
less – Used with non-count nouns or mass nouns (a noun that indicates both plural and non plural when appropriate), less indicates a “smaller amount of” or “not as much.”
Incorrect: The rabid mongoose would do fewer harm if it were given ping pong paddles.
Correct: The rabid mongoose would do less harm if it were given ping pong paddles.
Into vs. In to
into – Expressing movement or action with the result that someone or something makes physical contact with, becomes enclosed, or is surrounded by something else. Combined with the word “turn,” into also indicates changing someone or something into someone or something else.
Incorrect: She imagined turning her boss in to a newt.
Correct: She imagined turning her boss into a newt.
in to – The adverb “in” (expressing movement with the result that someone or something becomes enclosed or surrounded by something else) is followed by preposition “to” (expressing motion in the direction). Combined with the word “turn,” in to also indicates giving, passing, or exchanging someone or something to someone or something else.
Incorrect: She turned her report into her boss.
Correct: She turned her report in to her boss.
Past vs. Passed
past – Reference to a distance or a period of time before now.
Incorrect: The tourists drove passed the large dark aardvark in the park.
Correct: The tourists drove past the large dark aardvark in the park.
passed – The action of passing; i.e., to move or cause to move in a specified direction to go past or across or to leave behind.
Incorrect: The aardvark past the time burrowing.
Correct: The aardvark passed the time burrowing.
Principle vs. Principal
principle – A fundamental source or basis of something.
Incorrect: “Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principal is always a vice.” – Thomas Paine
Correct: “Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.” – Thomas Paine
principal – First in order of importance main, denoting an original sum invest or lent (money), or the person with the highest authority.
Incorrect: The winners are paid from the interest without even touching the principle.
Correct: The winners are paid from the interest without even touching the principal.
Set vs. Sit
set – To put, lay, or stand (something) in a specified place or position.
Incorrect: Sit the fence post into a bed of concrete for added stability.
Correct: Set the fence post into a bed of concrete for added stability.
sit – To adopt or rest with the torso vertical and the body supported on the buttocks; to remain inactive or unused; to be engaged in business; or the way in which an item of clothing fits someone.
Incorrect: The idea didn’t set well with Fernado.
Correct: The idea didn’t sit well with Fernado.
Maintain your credibility with your audience by proofreading your articles for these misused words and making any necessary revisions. Do you have any misused words you’d like to see added to the Top Misused Words series? Share them in the comments section below – we’d love to hear from you!