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10 English Words Most People Mix Up

'Advise' or 'advice?'
PHOTO: Wadley

You're - Your

You're is the contraction (aka shorter version) of "you are." Your is a possessive word used to show ownership. The same goes for it's ("it is") and its, as well as they're ("they are") and their, with the former being contractions and the latter being possessive forms.

Then - Than

Then is used when you're referring to time: "Let's watch a movie, then grab a bite to eat." Than is used for comparison: "My current boyfriend is better than my ex."

Regardless - Irregardless

Regardless means "without regard or respect to." People use irregardless to convey the same thought but it is not a word.

Insure - Ensure

Ok, insure is used when you're talking about insurance. Ensure means "to make sure." Easy, right?

Affect - Effect

The basic thing you need to know is that in most cases, affect is a verb and effect is a noun: "The budget cut greatly affected the company and its effects on morale is worrisome." But in psychology, affect can also be used as a noun, to describe someone's emotional state. We don't think you'd need to spit that out for everyday use though.

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Compliment - Complement

To compliment someone means to say something nice, while to complement means to enhance or improve. "He gave me a compliment" vs. "You complement each other."

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Farther - Further

Farther refers to a physical distance, while further is used to determine a figurative distance or progression. "I live farther from work now." vs. "I'd like to move further along in my career."

Every day - Everyday

Every day means each and every day: "I take the train to work every day." Everyday can also be used as an adjective ("This is my everyday scent"), but it needs to describe a noun (in this case, "everyday" is describing "scent"). TBH, when in doubt, use "daily!"

Imply - Infer

To imply means "to suggest" and to infer means "to deduce." Usually, the speaker or writer implies and the reader or audience infers.

Advise - Advice

Advise is a verb and advice is a noun! "Thank you for the advise" is incorrect, and so is "I advice you to talk to your employer." Switch!

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Source: Inc.

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