The English language is full of quirks, traps, and pitfalls. A list of tricky words and phrases could run a mile long. The ones I’ve selected occur frequently in “real life” business writing. Any additions? I’ve tried to catch the biggies, but I’m sure I’ve missed more than a few.
A lot, alot. There is no such word as alot.
A while, awhile. A while is an indeterminate length of time. Awhile means “for a while.” The meeting starts in a while. The meeting lasted awhile.
Accept, except. I accept your proposal, except for the fourth clause.
Adverse, averse. I am averse to (against) the adverse (detrimental) effects of the new compensation plan.
Affect, effect. In the sense most common in business, affect is a verb — to change or influence. Effect is a noun — an outcome, result, or condition. High energy costs adversely affect profits. High energy…
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