Confusing Words COM 303 Editing: Brian Carroll w/adaptations & additions in January 2013
Who vs. WhomWho– Substitutes for the subject– Example: Who let the dogs out?Whom– Substitutes for objective pronouns (him, her)– Example: Whom did he question?– And serves as the object of a preposition– Example: Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.
That vs. WhichThat– Use with essential phrases– Example: Go to the door that reads, “Clinic 1.”Which– Use with non-essential phrases– Example: The test, which was given Thursday, was difficult.
Among vs. BetweenBetween– Use with two.– Example: He split the Calzone between Tim and Susan, because it was bigger than Tim’s head.Among– Use with three or more.– Example: We divided the money among the five children.
Compose vs. compriseCompose– Means to make up– Example: The class is composed of 25 students.Comprise– Means to include– Example: Our class comprises five women and six men.
Affect vs. effectAffect– A verb that means influence– Example: The drought will affect the color of the fall foliage.Effect– A noun that means result– Example: The medicine has unpleasant sideeffects.
Affect vs. EffectThe majority of the time you use affectwith an a as a verbandeffect with an e as a noun 7 7
Affect vs. EffectAffect with an a means "to influence," examples: "The arrows affected the aardvark," " The rain affected Amys hairdo."Affect can also mean, roughly, "to act in a way that you dont feel," examples: "She affected an air of superiority." “Her affect was disturbing to me: she was always trying to be something she was not” 8 8
Affect vs. EffectEffect with an e has a lot of subtle meanings as anoun, but basically its meaning is "a result" Examples: "The effect was eye-popping." "The sound effects were amazing." "The rain had no effect on Amys hairdo""The trick-or-treaters hid behind the bushes foreffect.““The effect of plants on biodiversity is…” 9 9
Affect vs. Effect Grammar Girl says, use aardvark to remember:“The arrows affected the aardvark.” “The effect was eye-popping."Affect with an a goes with the a words arrow andaardvarkEffect with an e goes with the e word eye-popping 10 10