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From the Copy Desk: 10 Common Words That You Should Never Mix Up

Updated: Feb 8

The Bond copy team can't stop editing. We notice the punctuation on billboards when sitting in traffic and scoff at product packaging with grammar mistakes while in the grocery store. It's our burden to carry and most of the time we do it silently. But when we see grammar or word choice mistakes in client copy, we always find a way to gently point out the error. Why? Because knowledge is power.

So, here we're spotlighting the top 10 gaffes we see in copy, in order of frequency. (Read: These are common words that you should never mix up.) So, take note and keep our guide bookmarked for the next time you're doing that final sweep before hitting send.

1 - every day vs. everyday The adjective "everyday" is used to describe something ordinary or typical. The phrase "every day" means it happens with daily frequency. Here's a sentence that gives an example of both uses: "Everyday exercises like brisk walking are easy to work into your fitness routine every day." 2 - premier vs. premiere "Premier" as an adjective means first in status or highest quality, while "premiere" refers to a first public performance, like a movie premiere.

3 - ensure vs. insure

If you're ensuring, you're making sure that something happens. If you're insuring, you are covering something with an insurance policy.

4 - that vs. who "Who" refers to people while "that" refers to groups or objects.

a red pencil like the kind copy editors use

5 - compliment vs. complement A "compliment" is a flattering word, while "complement" is the word to use if you mean to say that something is enhanced or completed. You could compliment someone on their style, especially if they know how to wear colors and patterns that really complement their best features and personality.

6 - because vs. since Because refers to "by cause of" and should be used to illustrate a specific cause-effect relationship. But "since" usually refers to time passing. Example: Since I started studying journalism, I'm a better writer. That's because I'm learning about grammar, style and storytelling foundations.

7 - effect vs. affect "Effect" is usually a noun meaning consequence or result. "Affect" is a verb that means to impact or produce a change in someone or something.

8 - fewer vs. less "Fewer" refers to the number of things counted, while "less" is used when the number is measured. Here's an example with both uses illustrated: "I have fewer problems now that I spend less money on dumb stuff."

9 - then vs. than

Use "then" when you mean "at that time" but use "than" when comparing things. Example: "Then I wanted to be smarter than him."

10 - famous vs. infamous Infamous people often have bad reputations because they are famous for something bad. Famous people are widely known.

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