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12 Words Even Smart People Get Wrong

Are you good at grammar? Even though we’re grammar nerds, we’ve still found ourselves googling “stationery vs. stationary” on the sly. Here are twelve words that many people get wrong…

1. Farther vs. Further
Farther refers to a physical distance.
Further refers to a metaphorical distance.
Example: That psychic lives farther away from me. But she can see further into the future.

2. Everyday vs. Every Day
Everyday describes a thing that is ordinary or normal.
Every day means “all of the days.”
Example: These are my everyday pants. I wear them every day.

3. Who’s vs. Whose
Who’s is a contraction that means “who is.”
Whose is a pronoun that shows possession.
Example: Who’s coming to your party tonight? Whose punch bowl did you borrow?

4. Stationary vs. Stationery
Stationary means fixed or standing still.
Stationery refers to paper goods, like notecards or letters.
Example: My weird neighbor writes her stationery while riding a stationary bicycle.

5. Affect vs. Effect
Affect is a verb that means to change something.
Effect is a noun that means the change that came as a result of something.
Example: Do you want to positively affect the world? Politeness can have a profound effect.

6. i.e. vs. e.g.
Use i.e. when you’re defining something.
Use e.g. when you’re giving an example.
Example: Yesterday my boyfriend finally acted his age, i.e., like a baby. I should have known because of his hobbies, e.g., comic books, toys and the ability to cry at the drop of a hat.

7. Lay vs. Lie
Lay means to set something down.
Lie means to rest your body.
Example: Why don’t you lay your toys on the floor and go lie down for a nap?

8. Complement vs. Compliment
A complement is a thing that completes something else.
A compliment is an expression of praise.
Example: You and your husband are such wonderful complements. I love how he always compliments you.

9. Accept vs. Except
Accept means to include or receive.
Except means to exclude.
Example: That restaurant accepts every credit card except the one in my wallet.

10. Disburse vs. Disperse
Disburse means to hand out or distribute.
Disperse means to scatter or spread in all directions.
Example: How shall I disburse the money from your bank accounts? Wait—why did that question make everyone disperse?

11. Everyone vs. Every One
Everyone is a pronoun that refers to a group of humans.
Every one refers to the individual humans within a group.
Example: Hi, everyone! I love every one of you.

BONUS WORD: Literally
We can’t pinpoint the exact moment when “literally” took over the modern lexicon, but it’s now everywhere. And it’s almost always incorrect. When used properly, the word literally means exactly as described. So, after biting into a hot slice of pizza, you could say that you are “literally in pain,” but not that your mouth is “literally on fire.” (Unless it was really, actually on fire. With flames.) Many times, people say literally when what they mean is figuratively or metaphorically. One friend, describing her recent breakup, said she was “literally beside herself.” This statement could not literally be true.

***

How many of these did you know? Do you have any grammar pet peeves?

P.S. The most annoying words, and the grammar police.

(Albert Einstein photo by Yousuf Karsh; graphic design by Rachel Ball)

  1. An easy way to remember the difference between stationery and stationary is as follows:
    Stationery is things like Pens and Pencils
    Stationary means to come to a stand still

    Be glad you don’t have the whole license/licence debacle in American English. I can never remember the difference

  2. These all wind me up so much when people get them wrong. Sorry but do smart people really get these wrong too?! I am 19, only did English language up to AS-Level and would consider myself smart, but not hella smart and I don’t get any of these wrong. There’s a difference between using slang in your typing and getting words like affect and effect mixed up and all these other examples you’ve mentioned. I honestly can’t see how “smart” people get them wrong. Saddens me how bad we are at our own language!!

  3. Oh and let’s not forget advice/advise

    I once saw, the message ‘we are happy to offer advise on all our items’ which was engraved into a jewellers window. Ouch.

  4. Have you noticed how many people write ‘loose’ now, when they are talking about, say, having to ‘loose weight’? Well, yes, if you ‘lose’ weight then your clothes might be ‘loose’, lol.

    Another favourite is, that’s a mute point. (Only if you’re not intending to say anything!)

    A classic from the office – bordereauxs (No, the x is the plural…oh never mind)

    Should of instead of should have…the list goes on and on.

    And apologies to American users on here but, please, don’t say bring when you mean take. It’s like mentally biting into tinfoil ;o)

  5. Can I instead of May I !!!! It is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

  6. I love this list! I’m a bit of a grammar pedant and the one that annoys me the most (although I think it’s a UK based one – especially in the south east, in London and surrounding suburbs) is when people say brought instead of bought. ‘I brought it in the shop’ argh, I hear it all the time, it drives me crazy! Francesca

  7. Very good list. One thing that lead me to Google for commonly mis-used words which lead me to your site was the term Capital, referring to a country’s capital vs. Capitol meaning the building within which the government of that country was housed. I’m from Ottawa where we had the terrible shooting in the capital of our country, in the “Capitol” of our city which is called the Parliament Building

  8. I love to rant about grammar and spelling and English isn’t even my first language (so I’m bound to get things wrong myself).
    My biggest pet peeve is “then” and “than” – somehow I can’t believe people don’t get the difference.
    I think sometimes I notice wrong spelling even more because it’s not my first language – it probably confuses me more than native speakers.

  9. It drives me nuts when people say “I could care less” when they mean to say “I couldn’t care less”

  10. Wonderful! The disburse/disperse mixup is hard to avoid verbally, though: I’ll use the word ‘disburse’ and people will often mishear it as ‘disperse’. (Not as often the other way around, I find.)

  11. I love this! I’m a total grammar geek. Complement/compliment confuses me when it’s used in something like, “The potatoes were a great compliment/complement to the main dish.” I’m fairly certain you can use it both ways.

  12. English is my third language, so reading this is a bit.. Strange. I might be a grammar snob, but shouldn’t everyone be able to spell things correctly in their own language? Now, I mean everyday things like, they’re/their/ or passed/past (!?) should just be correct, always.

  13. Love stuff like this. I knew all of these ;) but I am a grammar nerd.

    Amy, I believe ‘boughten’ is actually a word. I remember reading it in one of the Little House on the Prairie books. Boughten vs homemade. So maybe Laura ate boughten cookies instead of ones that Ma baked from scratch. I like to use the word every now and then, just to be a little silly. Like I said: nerd.

  14. Thank you so much for this! Many of the sites that attempt to explain the usage of these words do a poor job at it. This is so easy to understand!

  15. Great post – unfortunately, the people who seem to need it the most never read these type of things. I have a few grammar pet peeves I see literally (haha- kidding) all the time:

    – Confusing plural with possessive. (The Smith’s instead of the Smiths)

    – Incorrect usage of “I” and “me” (I think some people are afraid to look stupid for using “me,” even when it’s correct.)

  16. An easy way to remember the difference between stationery and stationary is as follows:
    StationEry is things like pEns and pEncils
    StationAry means to come to a stAnd still

    Be glad you don’t have the whole license/licence debacle in American English. I can never remember the difference

  17. Agree with the rampant apostrophe abuse. It’s out of control! People see an “s” and they throw an apostrophe in, willy nilly. It’s banana’s. ;)

    I would add:

    Realtor – so many people (smart people!) pronounce it as if it has three syllables: re-LAH-tor. It’s real-tor, two syllables. No extra LAH in the middle.

    Also, the one word that I’ve noticed that smart people still misuse is nonplussed. It’s such a great word. People think it means unperturbed. But it actually means perplexed.

    And lastly, regardless. People say irregardless.

  18. I’m an ESL teacher and while teaching one day, I realized a nice spelling trick for remembering “stationary” and “stationery”. Stationary has stationary in it – stay– for things that stay still. And stationery has an er for paper.

  19. Alternate and alternative! It seems the latter has just disappeared from use and the former is just used incorrectly. Alternate= every other time. Alternative= another option. I liked this from a quick thinking student once: “alternate lifestyle: being a hippy every second day.”

  20. Love this! Here are mine – disinterested and uninterested. They are *literally* not the the same thing. Also don’t get me started on the rampant use of me as a subject – as in “Me and Janey are going to the beach.” Except, of course, in the song, “me and Julio down by the school yard.” Love that.

  21. “with flames” lol! love it.

  22. I mixed up farther and further. The other ones are under control :-)

  23. Someone pointed out that “octopuses” annoys them as being improper and it annoys me that they don’t realize that it is actually the proper plural form! Octopi would be incorrect, since octopus is a Latinized Greek word. However, common usage has given both plural forms equal standing in the OED, and even octopodes is in there since it would be the correct Greek plural. SO it’s actually impossible to be wrong when pluralizing octopus. Sorry about the octopus rant – English teachers can’t help but parse words. :)

  24. I may be in the minority here, but I think using literally incorrectly is oftentimes done for humorous effect (did I use that right??). Of course your mouth isn’t literally on fire, but the dramatization and imagery sure makes me giggle more than “I’m literally in pain”.

  25. Haha! I just realized I have blundered complement to compliment sometimes in life. Ouch!

  26. Affect can also be a noun referring to someone’s demeanor, e.g., he has a flat affect. Merriam-Webster Online defines it as “the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion considered apart from bodily changes; also : a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion.”

    The way I remember stationery vs. stationary is this: “I get my stationery from the stationer.”

  27. How about reluctant versus reticent? Reticent means “reluctant to discuss something”, yet is constantly misused these days, especially by talking heads who should know better, to mean “reluctant generally.” Drives me bonkers!

  28. Hellooooo JOANNA! Could you please, please, please make the following PSA about a terribly common grammar mistake before the “holidaze” are upon us?

    Namely, when sending a holiday card with a photo of the family, you pluralize the family’s surname and DO NOT use a possessive apostrophe:

    WRONG: Love, the Smith’s
    CORRECT: Love, the Smiths

  29. HP says...

    oh man, ALL Of these!!

    Mine is more spelling related, but I can’t stand when people write definately instead of definitely. It almost always auto-corrects to defiantly and they STILL don’t seem to notice. grr.

  30. I’m constantly googling grammar and punctuation questions, especially at work! There is so much bad writing these days, and I’d rather not contribute to the decline of our civilization. :p

  31. The “literally” craze has driven me crazy, figuratively.

  32. Argh I’m such a grammar nerd! Love this post :-) I have a thing about apostrophes being used incorrectly – e.g. ‘it’s’ and ‘its’. It’s really not difficult, people!!

  33. These were all super!
    I have two:
    ensure/insure!
    and
    regard/regards
    it’s in regard to not in regards to … you give someone your regards!

  34. and then there’s “you’re” and “your” I mean the list can go on and on.

  35. Ooh my goodness I just found out I’ve been misusing stationary since forever. Embarrassing, because I’m setting up my own brand of stationery (did it right this time!) at the moment. I hope I’m forgiven, since I’m not a native speaker.

  36. My trick for i.e. vs. e.g. is:

    i.e. = In Essence
    e.g. = Example Given

  37. Awesome post! I think you can make a case that the contemporary use of the word “literally” is appropriate. Ironically, “literally” is now being used “figuratively.” It’s hyperbolic.

  38. nauseous vs. nauseated

    nauseous = to induce illness (e.g., That rotten lettuce is nauseous.)
    nauseated = to feel sick (e.g., That rotten lettuce made me nauseated.)

    Literally nobody uses nauseous correctly.

  39. This is amazing. I love grammar but always enjoy a refresher. There’s a great How I Met Your Mother episode where they talk about “literally”.. pretty entertaining!

  40. Have you watched Captain Literally on YouTube?

  41. Great post. I’m very bothered by casual and constant use of the phrase “you know.” Generally, I don’t know, which is why I’m talking about it to someone else. Its use is very irritating!

  42. Oh, I wish I had read this a week or so ago. I knew most of them. But I just recently made the disburse/disperse mistake. Love your blog!

  43. UGH! I have been using i.e. incorrectly! If one could die of embarrassment then I would literally die of it. Thank you for setting me straight on this one.

  44. I seriously needed this! Thanks!

  45. Mine:
    1. Au jus
    Actual meaning – “in its juices”
    Correct usage: Prime rib au jus
    Versus: The name of a sauce. “We serve this steak with an au jus sauce.”

    2. As per
    The word “per” means “in accordance with” so adding “as” in front of it, while not completely incorrect, is redundant! Just say “Per my email”

  46. Effect/affect is so tough because “effect” can also be a verb, meaning to produce, or effect, a change or result. I know several people who have lots of trouble with this one because you can’t really give a general noun/verb rule!

  47. With this generation, I honestly don’t think people say literally in the “literal” sense of the term but use it as hyperbole to exaggerate how they feel. The phrase, “I literally can’t even right now” comes to mind.

  48. this is SO interesting! i always struggle with affect/effect and i never knew about lay/lie… great post

  49. I work at a recruiting firm and before seeing candidates we ask them to take a spelling/grammar quiz. some of the most missed include lend/loan, elicit/illicit, principle/principal. :)

  50. I love this! I always get Everyday & Every Day mixed up!

    My pet peeve is when people confuse, there, their and they’re :)

  51. My pet peeve is when people say they are “nonplussed,” thinking it means “don’t care”. it’s the OPPOSITE of that! it means you care very much!! i think even the dictionary is changing that one b/c so many ppl get it wrong!

  52. Ha! Love this list. I really dislike when people use “apropos” incorrectly. They think they are sounding so high-brow but it is NOT a synonym for “appropriate”! Any takers for “I could care less”? That’s one I hear almost daily… Think about it and say it with me, people: It’s COULDN’T! :-)

  53. The funny thing is, because I am not a native English speaker, I don’t make any of these mistakes.
    I make a LOT of different mistakes though!!
    It always amazed me how we relate differently to a language that we learn when we’re older rather than a native language.

  54. Lately I keep seeing discreet (meaning restrained, tactful) replaced everywhere by discrete (meaning separate, distinct). As in, “I don’t mind someone breastfeeding in public if they’re discrete about it.” It drives me crazy!

  55. Could someone do Principal and Principle? I always confuse those!

  56. Not quite what you’re asking for but if I see another person write wallah instead of voila I think I may go insane…

  57. First of all, I am a new reader to your blog and LOVE it. You are such a genuine and down-to-earth writer. I’m having so much fun reading both old and new posts :) You’re going to be added to my regular daily hour of blog reading.

    Thank you for this insightful grammar post! I like to think my grammar is on par most of the time, but I struggle with word choice more often than I’d like to admit. English can be tricky- so thanks for pointing out these common errors. I’m bookmarking the page as a helpful reminder!

  58. Great post! I can never get my head around lay vs lie, but I really want to, so this tim I’m going to repeat it to myself a few times. English is my second langugage and the language in which I write my blog, so I want my English to be as accurate as possible.

    I always remember the difference between i.e. and e.g., as I think that i.e. should logically be in example, but it isn’t!

    *Scurrying off to check the name of my Stationery Pinterest board*

    http://tallgirlsfashion.no

  59. I often wonder about the mostly USA usage in “It’s not that big of a deal” and similar phrases.
    As a speaker of Australian English I would say “Its not that big a deal”.
    What is the place of ‘of’ in the phrase? Does it stem from a usage in another language?

  60. it’s funny tht us people who have learned english as a second language n ever confuse these things. maybe there are words that are completely unknown, but the pairs that we know, we know the difference! :p
    I would never confuse who’s with whose or stationery with stationary! I had not even noticed the similatity in the last pair i’m mentioning until (i think) Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere posted about it!

  61. Absolutely: it may be a current British annoyance (or perhaps it has spread?) but it is used insted of “Yes” when you want to be emphatic. Example: Would you like another beer? Absolutely! (Add note of triumph to make it literally infuriating).
    What was wrong with: Yes, indeed.
    A Pedant Types

  62. Couldn’t help but mention this too: the funny, often creative and insightful ways that kids use words.

    My nephew went through a phase of asking “May you please…” instead of “Will you please.” He thought it sounded more polite, and I think he has a point!

  63. My personal language peeve: IRREGARDLESS. Also, “octopuses” as the plural of “octopus.”

    And the notion that just because a mistake is widespread, it is somehow acceptable!

    Yet, I love the way that language is truly dynamic and constantly evolving. There does seem to be a difference between careless speech and the natural evolution of language.

    I will never use “literally” to mean “figuratively.” THEY ARE OPPOSITES. Nothing can convince me otherwise.

  64. I have to agree with Anne about people saying/writing “would of” instead of “would have/would’ve”. It drives me crazy – maybe even literally crazy ;)
    Apple don’t seem to know this one either as my iPhone seems to think I’m making a spelling mistake every time I write “would’ve”, “could’ve” or “should’ve”. In fact, they came up with wiggly red lines under them right now!

  65. I’d add the word anxious. People so often to use it when they’re looking forward to something, when a more appropriate word might be eager. Anxious is only supposed to denote a negative anticipation.

  66. Great post! After owning a stationery store for 8 years, we found an easy way to remember station-er-y … pap-er is also spelled with an er.

  67. I absolutely love this post! Affect vs effect drives me crazy. I see it used incorrectly in both online and print publications.

  68. few vs. less would be a good addition to your list!

  69. The one that drives me crazy is when people say “I’s”. For example, “This car is Jon’s and I’s.” No. “This car is mine and Jon’s” would be so much better. I’s is not even a proper word! (Also, I don’t like it when people use ‘me’ and ‘I’ in the wrong way.)

  70. I think my biggest pet peeve is seeing “literally” misused. The lie/lay confusion bugs me, too. I am surprised at how many people get that one wrong.

  71. My skin crawls when people confuse less/fewer or amount/number. Less is used with singular items, whereas fewer is used with plural items. Amount refers to items that can be measured in bulk, and number refers to things that can be counted individually.

  72. I’m a 9th grade English teacher and my students constantly write “alot” instead of “a lot.” Where do they pick this up???

  73. I lol’d at all these sentences!

  74. grammar pet peeve is when people refer to something they ‘bought’ as something they ‘brought’ drives me crazy! haha. also referring to coffee as ‘expresso’ rather than ‘espresso’. i’m the first to admit i’m a grammar nerd!

  75. nauseated vs nauseating
    and
    bring vs take
    misuse of the latter two words drives my husband especially crazy
    :)

  76. Oh you forgot … Their & there !!

  77. According to my grammar snob… oh I’m sorry, creative writing minor (eye roll) husband, I always mess up eaten vs ate.

  78. Jewellery!! I always hear it pronounced Jewl-ry?! Is that correct?

  79. Misspelling stationery is my pet peeve!

  80. Oh no! I love stationery, but I’ve been spelling it as “stationary” for my whole entire life and nobody has ever pointed it out to me! I didn’t even know that the word “stationery” existed! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  81. Lie/lay still confuses me – also their different tenses.

    I always remember stationery because it has an “ER” in it just like paper.

    One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when people say that they “could care less.”

  82. I had to look up conscious vs. conscience a couple of days ago…

    So many grammar pet peeves…then vs. than… they’re vs. there vs. their…how about our vs. are (I see these two misused on Facebook all the time)?

    PS. I hope this post was immediately shared on Facebook ;)-

  83. Love this!! My parents were both English teachers, so grammar and spelling are big with me. Huge pet peeve is when people say Valentime’s with an “m” instead of “n’ (grrr) and supposably instead of supposedly. I’m sure it would slide off some people’s backs but I get annoyed!!

  84. Thank you for the post! The common misuse of “literally” quite annoys me, as does the misuse of “peruse.”

  85. LOVED THIS SO MUCH.

  86. I love these examples! My biggest grammar pet peeve is the misuse of “less” and “fewer” i.e. “less calories”. It’s FEWER calories. This comes up all the time with friends, family, and at work and I’ve just learned to bite my tongue.

    Also, as infinitething.com mentioned, fulsome is another widely misused word in the corporate world that drives me nuts!

  87. I recently saw a comment on an article that was written: “It’s assign of the times that we live in when…”

    *sigh* :-/

  88. LOVE IT!

  89. I’m going to sound insufferable (I promise all of you that I’m not. Really.); but, perhaps because I speak other languages, too, I just cannot stand poor grammar. Number and gender mistakes are a big pet-peeve of mine, as well as when ppl answer that they’re ‘good’ or doing ‘good’…no, no, no. You, me, she, he, it – we are *well*. We, me, you, she, he – it does *well*. It’s the same in Spanish and Italian: Estoy ‘bien’; sono ‘bene’ not ‘bueno’ or ‘buono’. Same in French: bien, not ‘bon’!!

    “There’s” grapes…no!!! There *are* grapes. More than one. Oh, the bane of my existence, the infamous ‘your’ in place of ‘you’re’.

    Joanna, have you read “Eats, shoots and leaves” by Lynne Truss? It’s hilarious.

  90. Oh, and it also drives me NUTS when people use apostrophes to make words plural. No. Just no.

  91. I’m a proofreader, and one thing people always get wrong is compose vs. comprise! They think comprise makes them sound smarter.
    A whole comprises its parts, e.g., the team comprises four people, not the team is comprised of four people; and the parts compose the whole, e.g., four people compose the team, or the team is composed of four people.
    Ugh. Thanks for clarifying lay and lie though–I get that wrong sometimes. :)

  92. I LOVE LOVE LOVE This :)))

    I hate when people use insure vs ensure and apart vs a part..gah drives me mad!

    love this :)

  93. Love this! I am an absolute grammar Nazi. :) Figuratively!!!

  94. Geeez, don’t get me started! The one that drives me nuts is the abuse of the apostrophe. The new rule seems to be to chuck in an apostrophe wherever there is an ‘s’. So my local butchery proudly advertises ‘Sausage’s on special’!! I also had to boycott an educational supplies store, even though the signage implored ‘Teachers’, get your book’s here’. I have also noticed you Americans are fond of saying ‘tad bit’. Surely only one or the other is necessary?

  95. I’m not sure that it’s a grammar thing, but it really drives me CRAZY when people refer to ATM machines or PIN numbers! You would never say, “I need to use the automated teller machine machine but I’ve forgotten my personal identification number number”!

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  97. In high school i.e. and e.g. confused me until someone made it very clear:

    i.e. – in essence (definition)
    e.g. – example given

    So now when I type i.e. or e.g I can actually say the words in my head instead of just the initials. Love it.

  98. I love this post! I recently learned that “peruse” actually means to read something in a thorough or careful way, which is the opposite of how most people (including me!) use it.

  99. I adore that you had to make this a post simply because 90% of Americans don’t understand….literally. As always, your posts are fantastic.

  100. Ironically!! Often people say ironically when really what they mean is coincidentally.

  101. best post ever!!!!!! lay vs lie confounded me.

  102. es says...

    how about adverse and averse??!!!

  103. Was just talking about i.e./e.g. today! “i.e.” stands for id est, or “that is;” e.g. for . . . well, something in Latin, but basically “example given.” I find it easy to remember the difference by thinking of “e.g.” as “example given” and “i.e.” as “id est/that is.”

  104. My pet peeve is “would of” instead of “would’ve” – it seems like it should be so obvious!

  105. love it :)

    I’m confused about “peruse” because I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it used correctly.

    The definition is “read in a thorough or careful way” e.g. “Hermione perused the history book in the library for hours” But I often hear it as a replacement for “skim” – like, “I perused the magazine while waiting to get a haircut.” or “Can you peruse this document before I send it to the VP?”

    That’s one that always makes me scratch my head!

    Joyce

  106. It is so common these days for people to misuse the word “myself” and it drives me crazy! They will say something like, “if you have a question, you can ask Sarah or myself.” But if you remove the other person from the sentence, it doesn’t make any sense! You would never say to someone, “if you have a question, you can ask myself.”

  107. I can’t stand it when someone says “boughten” when they mean to say “bought”…like “I bought my shirt at the store today”. Boughten isn’t even a word!

  108. Oh my gosh, Meadow, I was ust about to mention “a part” and “apart”! I see so many people saying things like “I’m so glad she’s apart of my family”. Really?

  109. “Its” versus “It’s”. The first is possessive, the second is for “It is”. My hometown newspaper even got it wrong! The “literally” one was discussed on How I Met Your Mother.

  110. English is my second language but these were easy for me for some reason. I never confuse similarly sounding words but I almost always get “borrow” vs. “lend” wrong (as in “will you borrow me your car?”). Funny, isn’t it?

  111. Caroline, I love your writing!

  112. Know most of these – yay lol. I get annoyed when people get “a part” and “apart” wrong. I see it frequently. Like “I am apart of the band” when they mean “I am a part of the band”. “Apart” means separated.

  113. One that confuses me is opaque. People always seem to use it to mean transparent, which is wrong.

  114. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say “weary” when they mean “wary.”

    Also, literally was changed in the Oxford English Dictionary to also mean figuratively. Literally.

  115. Oh my gosh – yes! And it’s even more so confusing for me as English is my second language! Oy!

  116. Don’t forget though, “effect” can also be a verb, such as in “to effect change.”

  117. My biggest is “fulsome” to mean “thorough” or “comprehensive”. I hear it misused constantly in the workplace.

  118. mortified vs. horrified. Mortified means very embarrassed but it is often used in place of horrified.

  119. I recently found myself looking up let’s vs lets.

  120. I recently had to look up let’s vs lets.

  121. i always have to remember that stationery is paper goods because it has an “E” like envelope!

  122. love these! what’s so interesting about the “literally v. figuratively” postscript, though, is that definition reflects usage, not meaning. That’s why words can change their meaning over time (think about the word “bully” for instance, when is the last time someone said “bully for you!” and meant “good job”?). Words don’t have inherent meanings. So. All that is to say that literally CAN also mean figuratively, if you mean to use it that way. See the usage discussion on M-W: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literally

    http://www.mathesca.wordpress.com