40 words to stop misusing

Homonyms and contractions vs. possessive pronouns are among the terms that confuse many people. Here’s help in keeping them straight.

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I like to think I know a little about business writing, yet I still fall into a few word traps—not to mention a few cliché traps.

Take the words “who” and “whom.” I rarely use “whom” when I should; even when grammar check suggests “whom,” I think it sounds pretentious, so I use “who.”

Then I sound dumb.

Just as one misspelled word can get your resume tossed onto the “nope” pile, one incorrectly used word can undermine your overall message. Whether that’s fair or unfair, it happens-so let’s make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

Adverse and averse

Adverse means harmful or unfavorable: “Adverse market conditions caused the IPO to be poorly subscribed.” Averse refers to feelings of dislike or opposition: “I was averse to paying $18 a share for a company that generates no revenue.”

Feel free to have an aversion to adverse conditions.

Affect and effect

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