Commonly Misused Words

Accept and Except

Accept is to allow something. EX- My application was accepted.

Except is to exclude something. EX- He said everything was good except the last part.

Affect and Effect

Affect is an action, as in something that changes or modifies something else. EX- The sound affected my concentration.

Effect is the result of an action on someone or something. EX- the effect of the sonic boom left me dazed.

Dual and Duel

Dual means two characteristics that someone or something has. EX- That business is a dual ownership.

Duel is a fight, typically between two participants only that has been prearranged and follows a pre-established set of rules. EX- Sword duelling between gentlemen trying to win the suite of a lady was a common occurrance.

Expand and Expend

Expand is to increase in size. EX- The balloon expanded until it popped.

Expend is to use up a resource. EX- He expended his energy and became tired.

They're, Their and There

They're - this is a contraction of the words they are. This is often used to show a group doing an action. EX- They're going to the store.

There - This, typically, is used to indicate position, like if someone were pointing and said “there”.

Their - This is used to show that something belongs to someone. EX- the truck is theirs, it belongs to them.

Then and Than

Then is used to show progression, from one action to the next or from one time to the next. EX- I went home then I got a drink.

Than is used to show comparison. EX- 2 is greater than 1.

Canon and Cannon

Canon is the core plot, characters and world central to one work/series created by one author (or for larger projects like videogames, one group). For example, Dante is a canon character to the Devil May Cry series created by Capcom.

Cannon is a heavy artillery weapon. Originally fired 4-10 pound balls of lead, steel or objects at targets from greater ranges than smaller firearms could hit. Currently a cannon refers to any large weapon (like a .50 Magnum revolver might be called a hand cannon.)