The Sunday News
Highway to Success, Charles Dube
THE subject on pronouns was a big hit. I had a lot of learners and individuals reacting to that topic. It was quite obvious that many got help and some were taken back to the classroom. More help will be offered later. Today let us get into commonly misused words. This stems from the fact that the words sound similar but mean different things. It is a fact that words which sound the same but have different meanings can be misused, that is where learners misfire.
If you use the wrong word it can also make the meaning of your writing very unclear. Therefore, it is important to get these words right for an improved performance in the course work and finally in the examinations. Here are some examples of what we are talking about: “Anyway” and “Anybody” are both one word. “Anyway” is an adverb which means “regardless” — it is spelt as one word. “Any way” means “any method” — it is spelt as two separate words.
“No one” is two words but “nobody” is one word. “No one” is two words. Do not write “none”. Nobody is always one word. Let us keep it that way. Other words for talking about people are one word too. Examples: everyone, someone and anyone. Words ending in “-thing” and “-where” are also one word. (everything and nowhere). Plenty of practice will help learners learn the differences between the words on show.
“Always” and “Altogether” are adverbs and are spelt as one word. They should not be confused with “all ways” and “all together”. Always means “at all times”, but “all ways” means every way” or “the total number of methods.” “Altogether” means “completely” or in total”. “All together” means “at the same time”, “in the same place” or “in a group.” I have five children altogether. This is the number of children in total. All together they ran towards the gate. This means they all ran at the same time.
“Into” is a preposition or part of a verb. A preposition may also be defined as a word which tells how things are related.
Examples: to, in, above, on, beside, for etc. Into is a preposition which shows that something is moving towards the inside of something. “A lot” is always written as two words. Never write “a lot” as one word. Practise is a verb but practice is a noun.
Practise is a doing word which means it is a verb. It is spelt with an “s”. Practice is a noun. It is spelt with a “c’.
This is the same as advise and advice, or devise and device. With these it is easier to remember which is the noun and which is the verb because they sound different. Licence and license are like practice and practise. License is a verb — spelt with an “s”.
For example, he is licensed to drive a bus. Licence is a noun – it is spelt with a “c”. He got his shop licence last week.
Affect/Effect — Affect is the action but effect is the result.
Examples: Sleeping in class affects your overall performance in the examinations. Sleeping in class has an overall effect on your examination performance. Where, were and wear. These words sound similar, but they have very different meanings.
Where is used for places and positions. Where is my brother? Wear is what you do with clothes, shoes and the like. You wear clothes. Were is the past form of are. They were on their way to town.
There, their and they’re — There goes with where. It is about places and positions. Their means it belongs to them. They’re is short for they are. “Your” and “you’re follow the same pattern. “Your” means it belongs to you, you’re is short for “you are.”
Hear and here. “Here” is the opposite of “there”. Here he comes for the meeting. She is not here. “Hear” is when you listen.
Can you hear the sound of the car? Hear the noise from that direction.
The key message to learners is they should not confuse these words as it will affect their marks, These words can be confusing but it is really important that they learn the difference between them so that they can use them properly. There are a lot of these commonly confused but they are worth learning them. You learn them by putting them to constant use. As alluded to in earlier articles, practise using them in correct sentences.
Learning the words in isolation from sentences will not produce the desired results. Teaching or learning language is never interesting, it needs dedication and determination. A learner has to totally give up herself or himself to the task for the best results.
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