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Writing & Citing: Vocabulary & Usage

Welcome to the Writing and Citing Guide! Here, you'll find resources for enhancing your writing and correctly formatting your citations.

Commonly Misused Words

Below are some of the most commonly misused homonyms (words that sound the same, but have different spellings and meanings).

EFFECT v. AFFECT:
To affect means to influence. An effect is a result. Example: Antihistamines affect people in different ways; one effect is drowsiness.

ITS v. IT'S:
"Its" is the possessive form of "it." "It's" is a contraction of "it is." Example: The ball lost its bounce. It's flat now.

THAN v. THEN:
Than indicates a comparison. Then indicates a point in time. Example: Rather than call a locksmith after forgetting his keys, Roger then broke the back window to get into his house.

THERE v. THEIR v. THEY'RE:
"There"
indicates a place. "Their" is a possessive pronoun. They're is a contraction of "they are." Example: The ecologists are over at the lake. They're compiling their data over there.

YOUR v. YOU'RE:
"Your" is a possessive pronoun. "You're" is a contraction of "you are."  Example: You're certain that this your bike?

TO, TOO, TWO:
"To" is a preposition. "Too" is an adverb. "Two" is a number. Example: When you go to Jen's house, bring the fruit salad. And don't forget to bring two serving spoons, too

Vocabulary & Usage

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