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Three More Groups of Commonly Misused Words

by South University
September 15, 2011

In our first post on the subject, we reviewed three commonly misused groups of words, but these weren't the only words we could have covered, so, in our second installment, we bring you some additional examples.

  • Every day versus everyday. You might find them used interchangeably, but the truth is that they have two separate meanings. Every day is the same as “each day” or “regularly” as in, “Every day I bring my lunch to work” or “I wish I could remember to wear my comfortable shoes to class every day.” Everyday, on the other hand, is an adjective meaning daily or commonplace, as in “My everyday life could use some excitement” or “I would not wear my everyday clothes to my best friend’s wedding.” It would be incorrect to say “Everyday I bring my lunch to work” or “I would not wear my every day clothes to my best friend’s wedding.”
  • Through, Thru and Threw. Through and Thru mean essentially the same thing, as in “I wish I didn’t have to drive through/thru all this traffic on my way to work” or “I am through/thru about one-third of my assignment.” The difference comes in the setting in which each is acceptable to use. Thru is actually an informal spelling of the word through and thus should not be used in academic papers or other formal settings. Thru might be acceptable in informal communications with friends and family, such as text messages and e-mails. Finally, threw is the past tense of throw, as in “He threw that ball clear across the field.”
  • Than versus Then. We’ll wrap up today’s installment with this pair, which may have caused everyone some confusion at one point or another. Than is used when comparing items, people or places, as in “She has taken more classes than he has” or “I would rather be studying than sitting in traffic.” Then is used as a description of time, as in “I logged in to the library, then I found the resource I needed” or “I added the milk, then the eggs, to the recipe.”

Tags: grammar writing

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