Confusing Words

Hello, Write Owls. Welcome to Day 24 of Grammar 110. Today we’re talking about confusing words.

There are a lot of confusing words in writing. Do you get lay and lie confused? Affect and effect? I’m going to explain the differences between these confusing words.

Affect and Effect

Most of the time, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. Sometimes they can swap uses, though. Affect as a noun indicates a state of being. Effect as a verb means to make something happen.

Examples:

Diet can affect your health.

Diet can have effects on your health.

Already and All Ready

Already is an adverb. All ready indicates something is completely ready.

Examples:

I am already at the library.

I am all ready for the event at the library.

Among and Between

Between is used when referring to two people. Among is used when referring to more than two people.

Examples:

I am sitting between my two friends.

I am sitting among my many friends.

Farther and Further

Farther is used when referring to distance. Further is used when referring to degree or anything else.

Examples:

The library was much farther away than I thought.

I need to read further on this subject.

Lay and Lie

This one is mean because the past tense of lie is lay. Lay is the act of setting something down. Lie is the act of being in a reclined position (or sitting somewhere if it’s an object).

Present Tense Examples:

I lay the book on the table.

I lie down for a nap.

The town lies in a high mountain valley.

Past Tense Examples:

I laid the book on the table.

I lay down for a nap.

The town lay in a high mountain valley.

Present Perfect Tense Examples:

I have laid the book on the table.

I have lain down for a nap.

The town has lain in a high mountain valley.

Less and Fewer, and Much and Many

Less is used for things you can’t count. If you would use the word much, you use less. If you can count the items, you use fewer or many.

Examples:

There is less water in the lake after the dry summer.

There is much water in the lake after the snowmelt.

There are fewer cats at the shelter because people adopted them.

There are many cats at the shelter because we rescued all the strays in town.

Those are some words that are commonly confused. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, and I will answer them as a reply or in my Q&A on Saturday.

For practice, see if you can determine which version of the word belongs in the blank. If you want me to check your answers, leave them in the comments.

1. There are ___ (less, fewer) words spoken ___ (between, among) the two of us after our fight, which has greatly _____ (affected, effected) our friendship.

2. I ___ (lay, lie) the make-up brush on the counter because I am _______ (already, all ready) for the party now.

3. I want to ____ (farther, further) investigate the ancient city that ___ (lays, lies) deep in the jungle, which is full of ____ (many, much) dangerous creatures.

4. Because I ran ____ (farther, further) than I had intended today, I desperately need to ____ (lay, lie) down and let the ____ (affects, effects) of my overexertion wear off.

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