We all do it. If you blog, you are going to use an incorrect word now and then. If you do it once in a while, your readers may overlook it. We’re only human after all. But if you have grammar issues running rampant throughout your blog, chances are you are turning more than a few customers off with your errors.
The best way to overcome it is to have an editor run through your posts. When you’re the writer, it’s hard to find the mistakes. But a fresh set of eyes can find things almost immediately if they are there.
Here are a few words I find used incorrectly when I’m out surfing and reading other posts … do you use these correctly?
Who and Whom
Who is the subject of the sentence – he or she
Who went to lunch? She did.
Who has the book? He does.
Whom is the object of the verb – him or her
Whom did she visit? Her.
To whom should I address this? Him.
Always ask yourself whether you could substitute who or whom with he or him. If it sounds better with he, use who. If him works better, use whom. (Remember they both end in “m”.)
Affect and Effect
These are a tricky pair. Use affect when influencing, and effect when accomplishing something. Affect is best when you’re having an impact on something that someone else has a hand in, and effect when you’re taking center role in making it happen.
Bring and Take
Both words describe moving objects. The difference is in the point of reference. You can bring things here, but you will take them over there. You can ask someone to bring something to you, but you must take something somewhere else.
So when you’re friend asks you, “Can you bring your camera with you on our vacation?” The correct answer is no. You can take it, however.
Compliment and Complement
I see this a lot in service businesses that offer complementary consultations.
A compliment means someone has something nice to say about you. Complement means to add to, enhance, improve or bring to perfection. It also means quantity, number or assortment required to make a thing complete.
Farther and Further
Farther is a physical distance; further is a figurative distance.
You may hiked farther into the forest than anyone else on the team, but as a group you can go no further.
Insure and Ensure
Insure refers to insurance; ensure means to make sure.
So if you are mailing a package for the holidays, you should ensure that you mail it out early enough so it will arrive in time. You may need to insure it if the contents are valuable.
Principal and Principle
Principle refers to a fundamental law or doctrine. It can only be used as a noun, “Our community is built on a set of guiding principles.”
Principal can take several roles.
Principal can be the head of a school (an easy way to remember it is he is your “pal”). It also refers to the person taking a starring role, as in “Jon Doe is the principal of the corporation”.
Principal can also be highest in rank or importance, such as, “My principal complaint is about the way the survey was handled.”