Because English is such a complex language, it is fraught with traps that we can all fall into. With this list I hope to clear up at least a few of the confusing words we use every day. This is a list of some of the more common errors people make with English within their CV.
1. Practice / Practise
In US English, practice is used as either a verb (doing word), or noun (naming word). Hence, a doctor has a practice, and a person practices the violin. In UK English, practice is a noun, and practise is a verb. A doctor has a practice, but his daughter practises the piano.
2. Bought / Brought
Bought relates to buying something. Brought relates to bringing something. For example, I bought a bottle of wine which had been brought over from France. The easy way to remember which is which is that bring start with ‘br’ and brought also does. Buy and bought start with ‘b’ only. This is one of those difficult ones that a spelling checker won’t catch.
3. Your / You’re
Your means “belonging to you”. You’re means “you are”. The simplest way to work out the correct one to use is to read out your sentence. For example, if you say “you’re jeans look nice” expand the apostrophe. The expanded sentence would read “you are jeans look nice” – obviously nonsensical. Remember, in English, the apostrophe often denotes an abbreviation.
4. Its / It’s
As in the case above, the apostrophe denotes an abbreviation: it’s = it is. Its means “belongs to it”. The confusion arises here because we also use an apostrophe in English to denote possession – except in this case; if you want to say “the cat’s bag” you say “its bag” not “it’s bag”. “It’s” always means “it is” or “it has”. “It’s a hot day.” “it’s been fun seeing you.”
5. Two / To / Too
With a ‘w’ it means the number 2. With one ‘o’ it refers to direction: ‘to France’. With two ‘o’s it means “also” or refers to quantity – for example: “There is too much money”. A good way to remember this one is that too has two ‘o’s – ie, it has more ‘o’s than ‘to’ – therefore it refers to quantity.
6. Chose / Choose
This is actually quite an easy one to remember – in English we generally pronounce ‘oo’ as it is written – such as “moo”. The same rule applies here: choose is pronounced as it is written (with a ‘z’ sound for the ‘s’) – and chose is said like “nose”. Therefore, if you had to choose to visit Timbuktu, chances are you chose to fly there. Chose is the past tense, choose is the present tense.
7. Lose / Loose
This one is confusing. In this case, contrary to normal rules of English, the single ‘s’ in loose is pronounced like an ‘s’ – as in wearing trousers that are too loose. Lose on the other hand, relates to loss – for example: “I hope we don’t lose this game”. A good way to remember this is that in the word “lose” you have lost the second ‘o’ from loose. If you can’t remember a rule that simple, you are a loser!
... there are probably lots more!