1. (Any one, Anyone) of these dresses would be appropriate for the wedding.
Answer: Any one
Why: Generally use any one when it is followed by of. Notice that you would pause between any and one in this particular sentence. Here is the correct use of anyone: Anyone can go to the party
2 They (emigrated, immigrated) to the United States from Italy.
Why: To emigrate is to go away from; to immigrate is to come to. The sentence says that they came to the United States. Therefore, they immigrated to the United States, but they emigrated from Italy.
3. Boston is the (capital,capitol) of Massachusetts.
Why: The only time you use capitol with the –ol is when you are referring to the actual capitol building. Letters are capital and so are cities.
4. The weather really (affects, effects) my mood.
Why: The difference between effect and affect is each’s part of speech. Affect is a verb, an action. Effect is a noun, or a thing. For example: The weather affects my mood, but the weather has an effect on me.
5. I live (farther, further) away from the office than you do.
Why: Farther has to do with distance. Further means “any more” or “any longer.” For example: I cannot discuss this any further today.
6. My husband is (disinterested, uninterested) in all sports except baseball.
Why: These two words are often confused. Uninterested means “not interested.” Disinterested, on the other hand, means “impartial.” For example, you would want a disinterested judge in a competition. You certainly wouldn’t want the judge to be uninterested, but you would certainly want him or her to be disinterested, or taking no sides in who wins.
7. Turn your car (in to, into) the third driveway on the left.
Anwser: in to
Why: Because it isn’t magic? Turning your car into the driveway means that your car has suddenly been made into a driveway! Use the two separate words in this case. What you really mean is that you are turning in, to the driveway.
8. Is it (alright, all right) if I borrow your dress for the evening?
Answer: all right
Why: Alright is likely in the dictionary, but it is slang and not really a word at all. So, especially for formal writing, always use the two words.
9. There are (fewer, less) girls in the class than boys.
Why: Fewer is used for things that can be counted (girls, for example); less is used for things that cannot be counted, and usually for words that appear to be singular: less salt, less time, less paper, but fewer pieces of paper.
10. The tailgate party (precedes, proceeds) the game.
Why: These two words are often both confused and misspelled, since one has a double e and the other doesn’t. Precede has the prefix pre, which means “before.” To precede means to come before something. Proceed has the prefix pro, which means forward. To proceed means to go forward: The parade proceeded down Main Street.
11. (Almost, Most) everyone is ready to go.
Why: If almost makes sense in the sentence, use it. For example, almost doesn’t make sense in these sentences, so use most: Most of us are going. Most people like chocolate.
12. Please (bring, take) these books back to the library.
Why: You take things away and you bring them back. So you might bring some books home from the library.
13. This blue dress really (complements, compliments) your green eyes.
Why: To compliment with the pli means to say something nice: She complimented my new dress. Complement with the ple means to go together well.
14. From the look on her face, I (implied, inferred) that she was upset about something.
Why: to imply is to hint at something without coming out and saying it. To infer is to make an educated guess, possibly from someone’s implication. Imply goes outward, imply comes inward.
15. On our way to the movies, we (passed, past) my old coach’s house.
Why: Passed is a verb, the past tense of pass. Past is a preposition that belongs in a prepositional phrase: We walked past the house, but we passed the mall.
16. He (lead, led) the parade when he was the drum major.
Why: The only lead that is pronounced led is the kind in your pencil, which is graphite anyway! The past tense of the verb lead is led.
17. Please be (discrete, discreet) when you talk to him tomorrow.
Why: Most of us don’t even realize there are two spellings of this word. They are both adjectives. To be discreet means to keep a secret. The other discrete means “separate”: Please sort these papers into three discrete piles by color.
18. Kale is a very (healthful, healthy) food, but I don’t like it.
Why: Kale is full of health benefits, so it is healthful. Healthy describes people. He is healthy, but his breakfast is healthful.
19. The food at that restaurant tasted (bad, badly).
Why: Bad is an adjective; badly is an adverb. Adverbs describe action verbs. Adjectives describe nouns and other adjectives, but they also appear after verbs of emotion or sense. The food has no tongue; it is not tasting anything, so it is not an action. It is a sense verb. The food tasted bad and it also looked and smelled bad, not badly.
20 (Lay, Lie) that blanket in the sun.
Why: Lay always takes an object; you must lay something. I lie, and so does my dog, my horse, and the rocks on the beach. Howelver, I lay my blanket down, and my dog lays his treat in the yard. The problem really comes to light in the past tense, since the past tense of lie is lay. I lie down today, but I lay down yesterday. (And I have lain down every day.) I lay my blanket on the grass today, but yesterday I laid it down.
21. My (principal, principle) plan is to leave work early and set up for the surprise party, but I have other plans in case that fails.
Why: There are four uses of this word. Three of them are spelled principal. The only one spelled principle is the one that means “rule” or “ethic.” It is against my principles to eat meat. The other three are spelled principal: 1. the person who runs the school, 2. the money one, for example principal and interest, and 3. the adjective that means the main one,” for example, the principal role in the play.
22. Can you (lend, loan) me some money until I get paid?
Why: Lend is a verb. Loan should be used only as a noun: I gave him a loan. I lent him money.
23. He is the (sole, soul) person in the group who isn’t coming with us.
Why: Sole means “alone, the only one.” It is also a fish, of course. Soul is the part of you we can’t see.
24. I (only) have (only) five dollars to spend at the candy store. Which place is best for “only”?
Answer: I have only five dollars.
Why: You can throw only anywhere in a sentence and watch the meaning of the sentence change. Only should be placed near the word it describes. Here we are talking about only five dollars. Not only have.
25. You should come and visit me (some time, sometime).
Answer: Some time
Why: Sometimes we have some time to visit someone who asked us to visit sometime! Sometimes indicates a frequency with which something happens: Sometimes I skip breakfast. Some time is two separate words with some describing time: I have some time to help you with the project. Sometime indicates an indefinite time in the future: I hope you will come visit me at my new house sometime.
Having taken off a little time for my beautiful daughter’s wedding, I will now be back at work on The Best Grammar Workbook Ever, as well as some other books I have waiting! The workbook should be out within a few months.
I would love to hear from you! Do you have any ideas of things I can write about in this blog? Is there something you would like to know about grammar, writing, self-publishing, words?? Do YOU have something to say, and would you like to write a guest blog? Do YOU have a blog with some information my readers might like (I will give you full credit and a link if I steal!). Do you know of someone who would be interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know!!!!