Accept vs except
Accept is a verb, which means to agree to take something .
For example: “I always accept good advice.”
Except is usually used as a preposition or conjunction, which means not including.
For example: “I teach every day except Sunday(s).”
!Note – except is usually a preposition and accept a verb. In rare circumstances except can be used as a verb.
For example: On a road sign: “No entry, buses excepted.”
Advice vs advise
Advice is a noun, which means an opinion that someone offers you about what you should do or how you should act in a particular situation.
For example: “I need someone to give me some advice.”
Advise is a verb, which means to give information and suggest types of action.
For example: “I advise everybody to be nice to their teacher.”
!Note – In British English the noun form often ends in …ice and the verb in …ise.
Affect vs effect
Affect and effect are two words that are commonly confused.
affect is usually a verb (action) – effect is usually a noun (thing)
Hint: If it’s something you’re going to do, use “affect.” If it’s something you’ve already done, use “effect.”
To affect something or someone.
Meaning: to influence, act upon, or change something or someone.
For example: The noise outside affected my performance.
To have an effect on something or someone
!Note: effect is followed by the preposition on and preceded by an article (an, the)
Meaning: to have an impact on something or someone.
For example: His smile had a strange effect on me.
!Effect can also mean “the end result”.
For example: The drug has many adverse side effects.
All right vs right
All right has multiple meanings. It can mean ok, acceptable, unhurt.
The single word spelling alright has never been accepted as standard.
However in a search on Google you’ll get around 68,700,000 hits for alright and 163,000,000 for “all right”. So, it might become a respected alternative spelling. Personally I have no problem with it, but what do other people think:-
Kingsley Amis The King’s English 1997: “I still feel that to inscribe alright is gross, crass, coarse and to be avoided, and I now say so. Its interdiction is as pure an example as possible of a rule without a reason, and in my case may well show nothing but how tenacious a hold early training can take.”
Bill Bryson Troublesome Words 1997: “A good case could be made for shortening all right to alright. … English, however, is a fickle tongue and alright continues to be looked on as illiterate and unacceptable and consequently it ought never to appear in serious writing.”
Robert Burchfield The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage 1997: “Alright … is the demotic form. It is preferred, to judge from the evidence I have assembled, by popular sources like the British magazines The Face … New Musical Express and Sounds, the American magazine Black World, the Australian journal Southerly, the Socialist Worker, by popular singers … and hardly ever by writers of standing … It is commonplace in private correspondence, especially in that of the moderately educated young. Almost all other printed works in Britain and abroad use the more traditional form … “
(At which point in there did you first get the urge to smack him?)
Graham King The Times Writer’s Guide 2001: If we accept already, altogether and almost, why not alright? Although it carries with it the whiff of grammatical illegitimacy it is and has been in common use for a century …”
Alone, can be used as an adjective or adverb. Either use means without other people or on your own.
For example: “He likes living alone.”
“I think we’re alone now.” = There are just the two of us here.
Lonely is an adjective which means you are unhappy because you are not with other people.
For example: “The house feels lonely now that all the children have left home.”
!Note – Just because you’re alone, doesn’t mean you’re lonely.
“I need a lot of time to develop this web site.”
It can also be used as an adverb, meaning very much or very often.
“I look a lot like my sister.”
It has become a common term in speech; and is increasingly used in writing.
Alot does not exist! There is no such word in the English language. If you write it this way – imagine me shouting at you – “No Such Word!”
Allot is a verb, which means to give (especially a share of something) for a particular purpose:-
For example: “We were allotted a desk each.”
All ready vs already
All ready means “completely ready”.
For example: “Are you all ready for the test?”
Alreadyis an adverb that means before the present time or earlier than the time expected.
For example: “I asked him to come to the cinema but he’d already seen the film.”
“Are you buying Christmas cards already? It’s only September!”
altogether vs all together
All together (adv) means “together in a single group.”
For example: The waiter asked if we were all together.
Altogether (adv) means “completely” or “in total “.
For example: She wrote less and less often, and eventually she stopped altogether.
!To be in the altogether is an old-fashioned term for being naked!
Any one vs anyone
Any one means any single person or thing out of a group of people or things.
I can recommend any one of the books on this site.
Anyone means any person. It’s always written as one word.
Did anyone see that UFO?
Any vs some
Any and some are both determiners. They are used to talk about indefinite quantities or numbers, when the exact quantity or number is not important. As a general rule we use some for positive statements, and any for questions and negative statements,
I asked the barman if he could get me some sparkling water. I said, “Excuse me, have you got any sparkling water?”Unfortunately they didn’t have any.
!Note – You will sometimes see some in questions and any in positive statements. When making an offer, or a request, in order to encourage the person we are speaking to to say “Yes”, you can use some in a question:
For example: Would you mind fetching some gummy bears while you’re at the shops?
You can also use any in a positive statement if it comes after a word whose meaning is negative or limiting:
A. She gave me some bad advice.
B. Really? She rarely gives any bad advice.