Business writing – 5 misused sets of words

There are several words that people get mixed up; in this blog we highlight five sets of them.

Affect and effect

Both words can be used as verbs and nouns, though affect is usually used as a verb and effect is usually used as a noun.

As a noun, affect is an emotion or mood associated with an idea or action, e.g. she displayed a happy affect.

As a noun, effect means the result or consequence, e.g. The speech he gave will have a powerful effect on the jury.

As a verb, affect means to act upon or influence, e.g. Heavy smoking may affect your lungs.

As a verb, effect means to bring about or accomplish, e.g. Taking the medicine will effect her cure.

Disinterested and uninterested

Disinterested means impartial, e.g. A judge has to remain disinterested throughout the trial.

Uninterested means not interested, e.g. She was uninterested in listening to the gossip.

Principle and principal

Principle means a fundamental truth or law, e.g. Archimedes’ Principle states that the apparent loss of weight of a body immersed in liquid will equal the weight of the displaced liquid.

Principal means the first in rank or importance, e.g. the principal reason for their failure was lack of basic business acumen.

Practical and practicable

Practical means useful or workable and is applied to people or things. An example – He was of great practical help in getting the room decorated.

Practicable means possible or feasible – it is never applied to people, only to things. An example is He ascended the mountain as far as practicable.

Beside and Besides

Beside means next to or at the side of, e.g. He was sitting beside me at the dinner table.

Besides means additionally, e.g. There were three others besides the usual core team.

Find out more about our Business Writing training courses London, UK.

Find out more about our Business Writing training courses Sydney, Australia.

About jdonbavand

I am a trainer of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project and Crystal Reports. I have called my blog "If Only I'd Known That...." because I hear it so many times in training sessions. In fact, if only I had a £100 (or 150 Aussie dollars)for every time someone says "If only I'd known that." ....
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