This section gives you lots of advice, helping you to avoid making some of the most common mistakes of usage. Do you worry about the correct use of hopefully, for example, or wonder what the difference is between affect and effect or flaunt and flout? Are you uncertain about whether to say different from or different than or if you should say ‘a historic event’ or ‘an historic event’? And if you’ve ever been puzzled about cactuses versus cacti, go to Plurals of foreign words.
Explore the links below to find clear and straightforward guidance on these topics and many more. You can find more help with the correct use of English in Grammar tips.
‘Affect’ or ‘effect’?
Confusing 'affect' and 'effect' is a very common mistake English speakers often make. Let's learn how to get it right once and for all.
‘A historic event’ or ‘an historic event’?
‘A historic event’ or ‘an historic event’? Find out if you are using ‘a’ or ‘an’ correctly.
‘All right’ or ‘alright’?
Is it acceptable to write 'alright' as one word instead of two? The answer to that is not quite as simple as you may think.
‘Allude’ or ‘elude’?
Allude' and 'elude' have a similar pronunciation, but they do not have the same meaning.
‘Alternate’ or ‘alternative’?
What's the difference between 'alternate' and 'alternative'? We explore the meanings of those two words, and how American usage of 'alternate' is different from British usage.
‘Among’ or ‘amongst’?
Do 'among' and 'amongst' have different meanings? Find out how to use those two prepositions correctly.
‘Amoral’ or ‘immoral’?
You may think 'amoral' and 'immoral' have the same meaning since they sound similar, but the answer to that question is a bit more complex.
‘Appraise’ or ‘apprise’?
It does make a difference whether you 'apprise' or 'appraise' someone. Find out why.
‘Assume’ or ‘presume’?
Assume' and 'presume' can often be used interchangeably. However, there's still a subtle difference between those two.
Which Joe gave his name to ‘sloppy joes’? We look at five interesting sandwiches and their lexical origins.
How did the orangutan get its name? What about the aardvark or the squirrel? We delve into the jungle of animal etymologies.
Are you looking for a word for a foolish person? We explore twelve interesting words to describe the dunderheads in your life.
Before you run for the hills, let’s run through a list of ‘run’ expressions that are running through our minds.
The definitions of ‘buddy’ and ‘bro’ in the OED have recently been revised. We explore their history and increase in popularity.