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Even people that are very intelligent sometimes make mistakes in grammar when speaking. If, however, you consistently speak in a way that says you can’t communicate effectively, most people would rather hire or listen to someone else. Listening to a speech that’s filled with “he don’ts” or “suposablys” is very difficult for professional people to not tune out. For some of you, it’s been a while since you learned grammar, and you probably live in an area where people probably talk like that all the time. You’ve picked up the dialect. Trust me, everyone doesn’t speak that way, and it’s not acceptable when you want to be a professional speaker. You can choose to talk that way and be wrong and appear to be an idiot, or you can speak professionally. Here are a few helpful reminders of things you can do to speak professionally and make yourself appear more intelligent. Here are some words that sound alike or common mispronunciation errors that are commonly used, and the proper way to use them.

Always remember these things:

Accept—Except: When you use the word “Accept” you should be talking about something you receive. To use “Except” you should be talking about excluding or leaving out.

Effect—Affect:Effect” means the result, while “Affect” means to alter something.

Adverse—Averse: If you’re using “Adverse” what you’re talking about should mean difficult. If using “Averse” it should mean having a strong feeling against something.

Illusion—Allusion: The word “Illusion” means a false impression or misconception. “Allusion” is an indirect reference to something.

Ask—A x: This is, unfortunately, commonly confused. You should know that you “Ask” a question. You cut down trees with an “Ax.” That’s a big difference in meaning.

Could of: What does that even mean? I’m sure you’re trying to say the contraction could’ve, but you really should avoid contractions when speaking and writing professionally. The proper term is “Could have.”

Loose—Lose: If something is “Loose,” it’s not tight. If you don’t win, you “Lose.”

Precede—Proceed: If something comes first, it “Precedes.” If it follows, it “Proceeds.”

Than—Then: When you are comparing something, you use the word “than.” “Then” means it comes next.

Lie–Lay: This is often misused. If you are resting or reclining, use the word “Lie.” It also means to tell something false. If you are placing or putting something somewhere, use the word “lay.”

Like: Don’t say like fifteen times in a sentence. Like is not a placeholder.

Set, Sit: If you are placing or putting something somewhere, you “Set” it. If you are seated, you “Sit.” The problem here is people often only say it one way or the other.

Supposedly: How could you even butcher the English language by saying something that isn’t a word like “Supposably,” and even think you’re professional?

Like: When you use this word as a place holder, to fill in when you’re thinking, you’ll lose your audience. I’d probably spend more time counting how many times you said it instead of listening to what you said.

There are many more misused words, but these are a few of the most common. Study them, and more, to make sure you are speaking properly, and you can sound like a professional, not an idiot.


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