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Appendix B: Commonly misused words

Accept: to agree to receive
Except: to exclude from

Affect: to have influence on
Effect: the result of something

Alternate: change repeatedly between two conditions
Alternative: any of two or more possibilities

Appraise: set a value on
Apprise: inform

Complement: something that completes or makes up a whole
Compliment: something said in admiration

Complementary: forming a complement; completing or complementing each other Complimentary: given free as a gift or courtesy

Continual: over and over, but with breaks-like a chronic cough that comes and goes, or rain with sunny breaks throughout the day
Continuous: without interruption

Farther: refers to physical distance
Further: used figuratively to refer to extent or degree

Fewer: of numbers
Less: of quantity

There are some exceptions―like when the numbers are considered a single unit:

The program is less than three years long.
The woman is less than five feet tall.
But use fewer than when you commonly use each numbered item as a single unit that
can be separated from the rest.
This program offers fewer options.

Its: possessive pronoun
It’s: contraction of it and is

Practice (noun)
Practise (verb)

Principal: most important (his principal demand), a leading person or chief (school principal)
Principle: a basic belief or truth

That: heads a restrictive clause. Often not required. If a sentence can stand alone, remove it.

Which: heads a descriptive clause. Note: A comma should precede which.

Their: shows a possession. For example: It is their dog.
There: shows a position. For example: The door is right over there.
They’re: is a contraction. For example: They’re happy to be here.

I.e.: id est meaning that is in Latin. Meant to provide further clarification.
E.g.: exempli gratia meaning for example in Latin. Meant to precede specific examples