Ever re-read an important email you just sent or a deck you just presented and wished you could have corrected that ONE stupid grammar mistake in an otherwise perfect message? We feel you – so, we're spotlighting the top 10 gaffes we see in copy, in order of frequency. Read on, take note, and keep our quick reference 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 - 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.
5 - peek vs. peak vs. pique Take a peek at the peak of that majestic mountaintop. The awesome sight is enough to pique my interest in nature photography.
6 - 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.
7 - famous vs. infamous Infamous people often have bad reputations because they are famous for something bad. Famous people are widely known.
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 - that vs. who "Who" refers to people while "that" refers to groups or objects.
10 - 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."