Proper Grammar – Part 2

August 20, 2012  |  Posted by in Uncategorized

Apparently it doesn’t always have to be about sales training. The immediate and enthusiastic response to my recent blog, “A Plea for Proper Grammar,” prompted this follow up with the 50 Most Misused and Abused Words in Business Writing. The completed and formatted article is available here. An abbreviated version of the article appears below.

This information may not be classic sales training content, but your communication skills do play a significant role in achieving Positive Contact with your customers and all professional associates. Read it. Share it. You’ll be glad you did!

The 50 most misused and abused words in business writing.


accept, except
accept – (verb) To agree with, take in,
receive. Example: We accept your decision.
except – (preposition) Apart from. Example:
All committee members are present except
for Ms. Brown.

acute, chronic
acute – (adjective) Sharp, intense, critical.
Example: The company has an acute
shortage of skilled workers right now.
chronic – (adjective) Constant, habitual,
long-lasting. Example: She is unable to
work because of a chronic illness.

adverse, averse
adverse – (adjective) Unfavorable,
opposing one’s interest. Example: They
found themselves in adverse
averse – (adjective) Antipathy, repugnance,
having the feeling of being opposed.
Example: She is not averse to increasing
her workload.

affect, effect
affect – (verb) To influence something.
Example: How will that affect the bottom
effect – (noun) The result of. (verb) to
cause something to be. Example: Her
speech had the effect of motivating the

allusion, illusion
allusion – (noun) A casual reference of
mention of something. Example: Was that
an allusion to Hemingway?
illusion – (noun) Something that gives a
false picture of reality. Example: He
believes democracy is an illusion.

all right, alright
All right – Fine, OK. Example: It’s all right
to leave early.
Alright – Incorrect spelling.

apprise, appraise
apprise – (verb) Give notice to. Example:
Please apprise me of the situation.
appraise – (verb) Determine the worth of
something. Example: The ring was
appraised before we purchased it.

assure, ensure, insure
assure – (verb) To state with confidence,
pledge or promise. Example: I assure you
the check is in the mail.
ensure – (verb) To make certain. Example:
Following the instructions ensures you
won’t get hurt.
insure – (verb) To purchase insurance.
Example: Insure the package before you
mail it.

beside, besides
beside – (preposition) At the side of, next
to, near. Example: Take a seat beside me.
besides – (adverb) Furthermore, in addition
to. Example: Besides, several of us will be
out of town next week.

compliment, complement
compliment – (verb) To give praise.
Example: I complimented Steve on his
complement – (verb) To complete
something or match it well. Example: Her
skills complement the needs of our

continual, continuous
continual – (adjective) Often repeated,
very frequent – but occasionally interrupted.
Example: They’ve received continual
continuous – (adjective) Uninterrupted.
Example: We couldn’t hear over his
continuous talking.

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