If I write “WW” in the margin of your paper or above a word, check a dictionary. If you use a thesaurus, use a dictionary too; a thesaurus gives near, but not exact, equivalents.
Frequently confused or misused words
affect and effect
- to effect = to bring about, to make happen
- an effect = a consequence
- to affect = to change, to influence
- an affect = a feeling
dependent and dependant
Dependent is an adjective. Dependant is a noun. Examples:
- Children are dependent on their parents.
- By Canadian tax law, the higher-income parent may claim child-care expenses for each dependant.
- King Lear has 100 dependent knights in his train.
- King Lear has 100 dependants until Goneril tells him to cut back his train a little.
“Hopefully” is a widely misused adverb that should be used in academic writing only to modify a verb.
- Wrong: Hopefully, the cat will catch that elusive mouse soon.
- Right: The cat sprang hopefully at the fleeing mouse.
to realize and to recognize
to realize = to fulfil, to bring about, to make happen, to bring something to pass
to recognize = to become aware of something, to understand, to acknowledge
disinterested and uninterested
disinterested = unbiased, detached
uninterested = without curiosity