For your convenience, here is an Index to posts about word usage. 

(You can also find these posts in the “Confusing Words” category.)

advance or advanced?

advice or advise?

affect or effect?

anytime or any time?

bran new or brand new?

buck naked or butt naked?

capital or capitol?

compliment or complement?

comprised of

content or contented?

continual or continuous?

desert or dessert?

discrete or discreet?

dreamed or dreamt?

drier or dryer?

elicit or illicit?

emigrate or immigrate?

eminent or imminent?

ensure or insure?

evoke or invoke?

fictional or fictitious?

flyer or flier?

forward or foreword?

its or it’s?

lead or led?

loan or borrow?

loose or lose?

mantel or mantle?

mowed or mown?

past or passed?

phosphorus or phosphorous?

premier or premiere?


rack or wrack?

rap or wrap?

shined or shone?

sulfur or sulphur?

taut or taught?


Mistakes (or, “Why You Need an Editor”!)

Parameters and Paradigms

“you and I” or “you and me”?

“if she was” and “if I were” (indicative/subjunctive, hypothetical)

Commas, Apostrophes, and Possessive Plurals


possessive compounds (“John’s and Mary’s” or “John and Mary’s”?)

Naming the inhabitants of U.S. States

Homophones, Homonyms, and Heterographs

Italics for titles used in dialogue

bizarre and bazaar

bring or take?

bring and brought

Earth or earth?

exes and x’s

Woulda Coulda Shoulda