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Frequently asked questions

Q: What is the difference between affect and effect?

A: As a verb, 'affect' means 'act upon or have an influence on' as in 'the seasons affect my mood'. As a verb, 'effect' means 'to bring about or create' as in 'to effect a change'. As a noun, 'effect' means 'result, consequence, outcome' as in 'my bad mood is a direct effect of a lack of sunlight'.

Q: What is the difference between advise and advice?

A: ‘Advise’ is a verb as in ‘I advise you to take the job’. ‘Advice’ is a noun as in ‘I’m going to give you some good advice’.

Q: What is the difference between coarse and course?

A: ‘Coarse’ is an adjective and means ‘rough texture’ as in her dress was made of coarse fabric’. ‘Course’ is used for all other meanings as in ‘of course the course you are studying is not held at the racecourse’.

Q: What is the difference between have and of?

A: ‘Have’ is a verb. ‘Of’ is a preposition. When you say ‘could have’ or ‘should have’, particularly in their contracted forms ‘could’ve’ and ‘should’ve’, the ‘have’ can sound like ‘of’. However, this is wrong. The only correct usage is ‘I could have helped you do the shopping’.

Q: What is the difference between it’s and its?

A: ‘It’s’ is always a contraction and means ‘it is’ or ‘it has’ as in ‘it’s (it is) time to leave’ and ‘it’s (it has) been two years since we met. ‘Its’ is the possessive form of ‘it’, meaning ‘belonging to it’ as in ‘the dog chased its tail’ (the tail belonging to it).

Q: What is the difference between loose and lose?

A: ‘Loose’ is an adjective and means ‘not tight’ as in ‘that button is loose’. ‘Lose’ is a verb and means ‘not win’ as in ‘they knew they would lose the soccer game’.

Q: What is the difference between passed and past?

A: ‘Passed’ is a verb as in ‘the car passed the house’. Use ‘past’ when not using a verb, as in ‘the car drove past the house’. Here, ‘drove’ is the verb.

Q: What is the difference between personal and personnel?

A: ‘Personal’ is an adjective as in ‘it is a personal matter and I don’t want to talk about it’. ‘Personnel’ means a group of workers, as in ‘she was expected to supervise the personnel at the worksite’.

 

 

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