The English language has several similar-sounding words that are easy to mix up: our editors here at Write My Site often find themselves correcting the following common copywriting errors:
1. Compliment vs complement
Wrong: That dress really compliments your skin tone
Right: That dress really complements your skin tone
‘Compliment’ means to offer polite praise, while ‘complement’ means adding to something in a way that enhances or improves.
2. Practise vs practice
Wrong: I have a law practise
Right: I have a law practice
‘Practise’ the verb is spelled with an ‘s’; whereas ‘practice’ the noun is spelled with a ‘c’. A lawyer practises law, but operates a law practice.
3. Effect vs affect
Wrong: This will effect her enormously
Right: This will affect her enormously
‘Effect’ is a noun that refers to a change resulting from another action or cause, e.g. “the argument had a big effect on her”. ‘Affect’ is most commonly used as a transitive verb, meaning to make a difference, e.g. “the argument affected her plans for the evening”.
4. Everyday vs every day
Wrong: I go to the gym everyday
Right: I go to the gym every day
‘Everyday’ is an adjective, while ‘every day’ is a noun phrase consisting of the adjective ‘every’ and the noun ‘day’. For example: “Tight deadlines are an everyday occurrence. We struggle every day to finish everything on time.”
5. Its vs it’s
Wrong: Its not fair
Right: It’s not fair
‘It’s’ is a contraction of the words ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. ‘Its’ is a one-word third-person singular possessive adjective, like ‘hers’ or ‘his’.
6. There vs their
Wrong: The meeting is at there office.
Right: The meeting is at their office.
‘There’ refers to a place or concept, whereas ‘their’ is possessive, meaning it owns something.