Word usage or diction, refers to the use of words with meaning and forms that are appropriate for the context and structure of a sentence. So this right here is your goal as a writer. To use words with meanings and forms that are appropriate for the context and appropriate for the structure of a sentence. Now a common error in word usage is when a word’s meaning does not it the context of the sentence. The sentence right here says Susie like chips better then candy. Now the appropriate word here is ‘than’ not ‘then’. Then is an inappropriate word for the context of the sentence. So it makes more sense to say ‘Susie likes chips better THAN candy.” Because than is used in comparison while then is used in more of chronological sense. Like “I went to the store then i ate lunch.” Another example would be “The cat liked it’s colt.” The correct form is ‘The cat licked its colt.’ Now ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ are homonyms which sound the same but have different meanings. And you may be thinking any time a word is possessive shouldn’t have an apostrophe which generally that is the case and here ‘its’ should be possessive. But with the case of the words ‘its’, you only use an apostrophe when you’re talking about the contraction. So right here, the sentence that is saying ‘The cat licked it is colt.’ So that doesn’t make sense so obviously you’re not suppose to use the apostrophe. Now I just mentioned homonyms and errors in word usage frequently occur with homonyms which again are words that sound alike but have different meanings. So some examples of homonyms are it’s and its, affect and effect, and there, their and they’re. So it’s very easy for a writer to confuse these words because they sound the same. Now some other words that are commonly confused are then and than, and except and accept. Now these words aren’t homonyms but they are very close to being homonyms because they don’t sound exactly alike but they are pretty close which makes determining which word to use a little bit more difficult.
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Last updated: 07/25/2017
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