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Choose the correct word every time

by on
in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Close isn't good enough when it comes to business communication. The person reading your correspondence or memo might understand your meaning if you use almost-correct words, but you'll lose respect from those who know the difference.


Test your knowledge of these commonly confused words by selecting the right one for each sentence:


1. Our manufacturing plant reported fewer/less accidents this year.
2. The new laptop will cost under/ less than $1,000.
3. My new job requires me to commute farther/further.
4. The boss plans to consider that idea farther/further.
5. The report composes/comprises results from 15 studies.
6. Those three offices compose/ comprise the mid-Atlantic division.
7. The construction noise was continuous/continual.
8. He interrupts me continuously/ continually.
9. The truck driver past/passed the SUV, then drove past/passed
the courthouse.
10. The negotiations among/between the two companies are top secret.
11. The conversation among/between the seven board members turned ugly.
12. She is the principle/principal figure in the scandal.
13. In deciding, we must adhere to our principles/principals.
14. The end is in cite/site/sight.
15. Can you cite/site/sight the source of that information?
16. The contractor visited the building cite/site/sight Tuesday.
17. I approved the new design for
our organization's stationary/stationery.
18. I spent my lunch break working out on a stationary/stationery bike.
19. There/They're/Their the best employees this company has ever hired.
20. The team members' raises fell short of there/they're/their expectations.
21. There/They're/Their will be no bonuses this year.


Answers:
1. fewer; 2. less. Use fewer when referring to individual items and less for amounts or quantities. Use "under" and "over" to refer to spatial differences, not quantities.


3. farther; 4. further. Use "farther" for distance (note that it begins with far) and "further" when discussing time or degree.

5. comprises; 6.compose. "Comprise" means to include or contain, while "compose" means to create or make up. Note: Never write "is comprised of."


7. continuous; 8. continually. "Continuous" means uninterrupted; "continual" means repeated.
9. passed, past. Use "passed" when referring to the act of passing; use "past" when referring to a time or place.


10. between; 11. among. Use "between" when comparing two people or things (Think "tween = two"); use "among" for more than two.


12. principal; 13. principles. The "principal" is at the top in rank, whether you're using the word as a noun to refer to the head of a school or a law firm, or as an adjective, as in this example. "Principle" always refers to a rule, law or motivating force. (Remember that both "principle" and "rule" end with le.)


14. sight; 15. cite; 16. site. Use "sight" for the sense you experience with your eyes; use "cite" when referring to an authority or example; use "site" for a location (where something is situated).


17. stationery; 18 stationary. You write a letter on "stationery" (both have "er"); something that stands still is "stationary."


19. they're; 20. their; 21. there. Use "they're" when you mean "they are"; use "their" to denote possession; use "there" to designate places. (Note the "here" within that one.)

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