26 Words That Can Leave the Wrong Impression if Used Incorrectly
Whether you're speaking or writing, using the wrong word can certainly hurt the professional image you want to project. It's especially unfortunate if you make this kind of mistake during your initial contact with a person, because you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Here are 26 words you want to be sure to get right.
Adverse vs. averse. Adverse means negative or unfavorable: "She had an adverse reaction to their proposal." Averse means opposed: "They were averse to paying the extra fee."
Compliment vs. complement. A compliment is a flattering statement: "That's a very insightful comment." A complement refers to a group, "a full complement of services." It can also mean to complete or improve: "The new testimonials complement your website."
Criteria vs. criterion. It's one criterion, but two or more criteria. Or just use another word, such as "requirement" or "standard."
Discreet vs. discrete. Discreet means sensitive or confidential, "a discreet inquiry." Discrete means distinct or separate, "a discrete group of prospects."
Elicit vs. illicit. Elicit means to bring out or evoke: "He elicited my opinion." Illicit means forbidden by law or custom, "illicit drugs."
Farther vs. further. Farther describes physical distance: "That city is farther away." Further refers to a figurative distance: "No need to explain it any further."
Imply vs. infer. A speaker or writer will imply something, meaning suggest it: "He implied that the color was available." A listener or reader will Infer something, meaning deduce it: "She inferred from his comments that she could park there."
Insure vs. ensure. Insure applies only to insurance: "Their home is insured to the max." Ensure means to make certain: "Please ensure that you'll deliver it tomorrow."
Number vs. amount. A number is countable: "She has an impressive number of clients." An amount cannot be counted: "It gave him a tremendous amount of satisfaction."
Precede vs. proceed. Precede comes before: "David's speech preceded the dinner." Proceed means to start or continue: "Danielle proceeded to tell us the benefits."
Principal vs. principle. Principal means most important, "the principal reason," or refers to ownership: "She's a principal in the business." Principle is a law or guideline: "We operate under certain principles."
It's vs. its. It's is just short for "it is": "It's true." Its means belonging to: "Its fur is beautiful."
Who's vs. whose. Same deal. Who's is just short for "who is": "Who's coming tonight?" Whose means belonging to: "Whose car is that?"
When you're communicating with customers and prospects, whether speaking or writing, you always want to sound your best. Choose your words wisely and you will! Oh, and if someone does correct a wrongly chosen word, be sure to thank them and make certain you never make that mistake again. Here's to your continued success turning your words into wealth, as you keep putting together your best year ever... Enjoy a great month!