A question of content

My everyday work involves a lot of editing and copy checking. And every time I come across errors in the copy, I am reminded of Mrs Alurkar, who taught us ICSE English and pointed us to ‘English Errors of Indian Students’ by T.L.H. Smith-Pearse. While the name may not sound too appropriate today, the quintessential little book, available in parts 1,2, etc. taught us a number of things in English speaking and writing.

Today, when I find words wrongly written in a body of text, my mind races back to the little book. Here are some common examples of errors I find. And just to make this blog post a little interesting, this time, I am not going to write what I think, but ASK YOU, the readers, to elaborate the correct use of the words below.

Here’s what you have to do:

1. Choose any set of words from the list below.
2. Use the ‘comment’ box below to tell me the correct usage of the words mentioned in the set.
3. Three lucky winners (chosen by a draw) will be sent gift vouchers (Shopper’s Stop) for answering right! Will ask for your addresses when I pick the winners! (Yippee, I love contests!!! 🙂 )

Here you go:

Alternative Vs. Alternate

Enquiry Vs. Inquiry

Diverse Vs. Diversified

In spite Vs. Despite

Currently Vs. Presently

Effect Vs. Affect

Among Vs. Amongst

Accept Vs. Except

Specially Vs. Especially

Looking forward to your entries!

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  1. Seeko English mere saath.

    Effect Vs Affect.
    Effect bole tho, when professor ulfat sultan speak in his style, people get influence and in effect I start speaking like that. Woichu.

    Affect bole tho, since I have a terrible job at this, it might affect our friendship. Woichu!

      • Anu
      • February 10th, 2011

      Affect is actually a Verb .
      It can be a feeling or emotion that can be touched by the nature of behaviour.
      your this bahaviour can affect our personal relation.

      Effect is mostly used as Noun.
      Hey u can see the effect of morning walk

  2. Enquiry vs. Inquiry

    Enquiry means to ask a question, and inquiry is a formal investigation. Yet another difference lies in the etymological source of the prefixes ‘en’ and ‘in’. ‘En’ comes from French, and ‘in’ from Latin. Inquiry has a formal and official ring to it, while enquiry is informal in its connotation.

    You enquire about the health of the person, but inquire about the fraud or crime.

  3. Alternative Vs. Alternate

    Alternative is used with choices– where there is an original plan and a few other possibilities. the possibilities are the alternative options.

    Alternate is used as –to succeed, or act by turns: someone who takes the place of another person, do something in turns etc

    • Priyanka
    • February 10th, 2011

    Diverse Vs. Diversified

    Diverse is applied to items/things to signify assortment or variety of e.g. a diverse set of ink pens ( number of pens with different features )

    Diversified as applied to a skill set or activities e.g. a diversified portfolio for a company where the co. has branched out into broad spectrum of activities or a person has a diversified skill set

    • nikhil nair
    • February 10th, 2011

    Accept: to take or receive something offered
    Except: with the exclusion of

    A sentence that uses both these words.
    ” Let’s accept the fact that no one else could have picked the gifts except me.” 🙂

    • nikhil nair
    • February 10th, 2011

    Ignore the previous post
    Accept: to take or receive something offered
    Except: with the exclusion of

    A sentence that uses both these words.
    ” Let’s accept the fact that no one else could have picked better gifts except me.” 🙂

    • nikhil nair
    • February 10th, 2011

    Currently: circulating and valid at present
    Presently : immediately

    A sentence that uses both these words.

    Currently I have been having this craving for junk food and presently i am gorging on some really yum samosas….
    🙂

    • Not so sure of this one Nikhil but good answers on the others… keep your fingers crossed! 🙂

    • Anu
    • February 10th, 2011

    specialyl /especially
    I think there is slight difference between.
    Especially is like some thing better than good one but can be compared with other better ones.
    Its a dree especially for you ( there can be other like this)

    Specially is that is unique and should not be compared with other.
    Its a dress specially designed for you ..( nothing can suit you more than this )

    :)))

    • Navaz
    • February 10th, 2011

    Enquiry and inquiry

    The en- prefix is derived from French, while the in- form is derived from
    Latin.

    Inquiry is usual formal while an Enquiry is usually more informal. Some ( more formal) organisations such as newspapers tend to prefer the in- form.

    For example, a journalist will ring a PR professional and make an enquiry about a topic. Enquiry is used when asking a question or seeking information.

    Inquiry is for official investigations, eg the government will hold an inquiry into fuel prices.

    • Srivathsa TS
    • February 11th, 2011

    In spite and Despite

    In spite and Despite retain their meanings same but usage differs in the context used. In spite is used when you know the outcome, but still want to keep trying for a result.
    As letter “D” has more negative words than others in the dictionary, its used to negate an action.

    Examples:

    In spite of research and advancement in medical sciences, one still says, ” I pray to god…”

    He was admitted to the hospital at right time and despite of medical care, could not recover fast.

    • Sancho
    • February 11th, 2011

    Alternative Vs. Alternate

    As far as I know strictly there can only be 2 alternatives to something whereas you have a pattern of switching in the case of alternate (you alternate between happy and sad moods). Of course, alternate is also a verb.

    Enquiry Vs. Inquiry

    No difference. Traditionally, inquiry is a formal investigation whereas enquiry is merely asking around. But the distinction has been more and more lost and the words are practically synonymous.

    Diverse Vs. Diversified

    Diverse means “shows variety” (a diverse population), whereas diversify means to “make more diverse” (“diversified his business” meaning making his business more varied).

    In spite Vs. Despite

    I don’t think you can say “in spite” without “of”. The phrase always is “in spite of” and to the best of my knowledge it is synonymous with “despite”.

    Currently Vs. Presently

    Again, traditionally currently meant “now” (the film is currently playing at xyz) while presently meant “after a short time” (I will see you presently). However, “presently” to mean “currently” is more and more accepted – I wouldn’t be surprised if the dictionary gives it as a variant or informal usage.

    Effect Vs. Affect

    Effect is the result of an action. Affect is to have an effect on something or someone (What effect will drinking have on me? Will it affect my lungs?).

    Among Vs. Amongst

    No difference. Amongst is old fashioned and primarily British English.

    Accept Vs. Except

    Accept – agree to something (I accepted his offer), Except – other than (All his books are worth reading except for xyz).

    Specially Vs. Especially
    I don’t think there is any difference between the two – it’s a matter of personal choice and preference..

  1. February 11th, 2011

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