1. Then versus Than
“Then” is temporal; “than” is quantitative.
Then shows that you did something before something else.
For example: I went to the grocery store then I made dinner.
Than shows that you have more of something.
For example: I have more apples than I need.
2. Into versus In To
“Into” shows movement toward the inside of a place.
For example: The dog jumped into the lake.
“In to” is the adverb “in” followed by the preposition “to.”
For example: The girl turned her paper in to her professor.
3. Its versus It’s
“Its” is the possessive form of “it is.”
“It’s” is the conjugation that means “it is.”
4. Your versus you’re
“You’re” is a conjugation of “you” “are”.
For example: How exciting, you’re going to the show this evening!
“Your” shows possession.
For example: Can we take your car to the show this evening?
5. e.g versus i.e.
e.g. – abbreviation for Latin “exempli gratia” meaning “for example.”
For example: “We like to cook – e.g., braise, bake, whisk, and stir.”
i.e. – abbreviation for Latin “id est” meaning “that is to say.” S
For example: “We like to cook – i.e., we’re very active in the kitchen.”
6. “could of,” “would of,” “should of.”
Never use any of these combinations, even though they might “sound” right.
These are all somewhat sloppy renditions of “could have” (could’ve), “would have” (would’ve), and “should have” (should’ve).
7. Ending a sentence with a preposition
There’s no magical trick to this, just know that any word that can show a spatial relationship (by, in, around, from, etc.) should not finish a sentence.
8. There, their, or they’re
“There” specifies a place.
For example: There aren’t many gas stations nearby.
“Their” is a possessive form of “they.”
For example: Their car is out of gas.
“They’re” is the conjugation for “they are.”
For example: They’re looking for the closest station.
9. Who, which or that?
“Who” (or “whom”) refers to persons.
For example: The woman who was busy.
“Which” refers to animals or things, never to persons.
For example: The dog which chased the car.
“That” can refer to either persons or things.
For example: The plane that arrived late.
10. Affect versus Effect
This is one of the most common mistakes, but taking a moment to think about whether you need a noun or a verb should do the trick.
“Affect” is a verb.
For example: Your ability to communicate will affect peoples’ reaction.
“Effect” is a noun.
For example: The effect of good communications is better understanding.