Saturday, May 31, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 35)

More words that are frequently mangled:

Who’s vs. whose

Wrong: Who’s car is that?
Right: Whose car is that?

Who’s is a contraction of “who is.” Whose (in this context) means “belonging to whom.” Therefore, you might ask “Who’s (who is) going to the store with me?” and you might say “I don’t care whose shoes they are.” (I don’t care to whom these shoes belong.)


Wrong: While at work, you may only smoke outside.
Right: While at work, you may smoke only outside (or “outside only”).

Is smoking the only thing you can do outside? That’s what the first example suggests: no walking, talking, or anything else but smoking. Often, only can be used in multiple places within a sentence and impart different meanings to that sentence depending on where it’s used. For this reason, it’s best to position the word as close as possible to the word it modifies (in this case outside).

Stay tuned for more of these words and phrases.


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