Let’s look at some commonly misused words, and the differences between them. Maybe we’ll discover a way to remember which is which!
Affect means to change or influence.
Effect can either be a noun meaning impression or results, or a verb meaning to cause.
Just as “A” comes before “E” when alphabetizing these two words, an affect comes before an effect in meaning. In the sentence, “Good grammar leads to more work,” good grammar affects the effect of getting more work.
Aisles are passages (such as in a store) for inside traffic.
Isles are a group of islands (usually found in the ocean, or in daydreams).
Looking at these two words, it’s easy to see which you might find in a typical mystery shopping report, but you would be surprised at how often isles is used instead of aisles! Let’s try to remember that aisles are typically found in places where people work, and let’s save the isles for those times when work is the last thing on our minds!
Less is used with quantities or amounts.
Fewer is used for numbers or individual units.
An easy way to remember the correct usage of less and fewer is to remember that less is used for amounts that you CANNOT count – like water! Fewer is used for items that CAN be counted – like eggs! It’s no wonder that we often get these words confused – even department and grocery stores can’t get it right! The Express Lane signage SHOULD read, “10 items or fewer“!
Your writing reflects how much you care about what you are doing. If you think something doesn’t look right, take an extra moment to double-check using an online resource. Those extra few minutes might improve your shopper rating!
Which words confuse you the most? Let us know! Every few months we will share them with you. Helping you become a better writer and a better shopper is our goal!