Here are six examples of words you hear or see misused quite often.
Continual means repeated many times. Continuous means
going on without a break. I am continually being interrupted
by phone calls. People waiting for the bus formed a
continuous queue for 50 metres.
Fewer refers to number, less to amount. There have been fewer crashes on the roads this year. Children are buying less fatty foods from school canteens.
Anticipate means to be aware of a future event
and to prepare for it. Expect means to regard
something as likely to happen. The team members
are anticipating their next match with
confidence because they expect to win.
The following sentences illustrate the correct
usage of these words: The Minister implied that the
policy would be changed, although she did not
say so outright. The audience inferred that the
policy would be changed.
You can advise a person to apply for a position, but you inform or tell a person that he/she is eligible to apply. To some extent, when you advise, you are giving an opinion. Informing someone about something relates to established facts.
Affect means 'make a difference to' (verb), whereas effect means 'a result' (noun or verb) or 'bring about (a result)'. The attitude of the staff was affected by the continual changes. The effect was low morale.
These sets of words are taken from the Action Words one-day workshop entitled:
"Writing Skills to Influence Decision Makers". For an outline of the workshop, please email us:firstname.lastname@example.org