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From the Editor’s Desk: Commonly confused words – Just one letter can make all the difference

It may seem like a minor typo, but one letter can completely change the meaning of a word. For example, is your company hosting the Premier Awards in Copyediting (as in the top awards), or the Premiere Awards in Copyediting (as in the first)?

The Marketwire editorial team often encounters such mistakes.  Here are some of the most common:

Principal

versus Principle

Complement

versus Compliment

Accept

versus Except

Ensure

versus Insure

Entitled

versus Titled

Affect

versus Effect

If you’re in the middle of writing a release (or proofing one), and you’re scratching your head wondering if the right word has been used, www.dictionary.com [1] is a useful tool for looking up definitions. The sample sentences are a great way to judge if you’re using the word correctly. Grammar Girl [2] provides helpful tips on all-things-grammar – from textbook rules to colloquialisms. You can also test your skill level by taking the Commonly Confused Words Quiz [3] to see how you stack up.

But say you’re not a former English major, and this is all Greek to you.  No worries — the grammar enthusiasts in Marketwire Editorial are always on the lookout for these commonly confused words!


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