More Commonly Misused Words

On Tuesday, we looked at a few commonly misused words that we’ve seen pop up again and again in our essays.  Just one blog post isn’t nearly enough to cover the most common misused words, however, so we’re back for a sequel.  Here are three more commonly misused and confused words to try to avoid to improve the quality of your essays.

A lot, a lot, allot

“A lot” is an informal way of saying “many”; it’s often too casual to be using in an essay setting, but it’s perfectly fine English.  “Alot” isn’t a word—the best way I’ve found to remember it is to think how silly it would sound to say “alittle” all as one word rather than “a little”.  Sometimes, writers will try to “fix” it by typing “Allot”—spell check will say that’s a word, but it’s not the word you’re looking for.  “Allot” means to distribute something, and is not correct when you’re trying to explain how much of something you have.

Breath and Breathe

Breath is a noun—that’s the actual air that you inhale and exhale from your lungs.  Add an “e” to the end, however, and you have a verb; the act of inhaling and exhaling.  So you “take three breaths in order to breathe deeply”.

Cite, Sight and Site

These three words are homonyms in English, but all have very different meaning.  To “cite” something is to quote it, or list it as a source.  A “site” is a location, while a “sight” is something that you see.  While they all sound the same, they have very different meanings and should not be confused.

Right: “Make sure you cite the page number in your essay”; “The church was built on this site;” “Chicago’s skyline is an amazing sight.”
Wrong: “Be careful at the construction sight”; “Site the book in your paper”; “I can’t see the building because I don’t have line-of-cite.”

These are just a few commonly mixed up words—Wordsmith Essays’ editors will help correct these, and many more.  Stop by our order page today to see what we can do for you.

 

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