51 Writing Mistakes You Should Avoid: Mistakes In using The Right and Chosen Words

In the previous two parts of common writing mistakes, we learned about “Structural and grammatical mistakes” and “Mistakes of drafting”. Now, you will know about some common words those may confuse you while writing.

1. Envy and Jealousy

“Envy” indicates longing while “jealousy” suggests rivalry

“Envy” shows desire to have your friend’s good looks while “jealousy” springs up when your best friend takes away your girlfriend

2. Whether and If

“whether” and “if” are not interchangeable.

“whether” indicates condition having 2 or more options while “if” is a condition with no options.

e.g., I don’t know whether I’ll get drunk tonight.

e.g., I can get drunk tonight if I have money for booze.

3. Fewer and Less

“less” used for hypothetical quantities

“few” and “fewer” used for things you may quantify

e.g., The firm has fewer than ten employees.

e.g., The firm is less successful now that we have only ten employees.

4. Farther and Further

Use ‘farther’ for measurable distance.

‘further’ for immeasurable distance.

Example: I threw the ball ten feet farther than Bill.

The financial crisis caused further implications.

5. Since and Because

Use ‘since’ to refer time.

Use ‘because’ to refer causation.

Example: Since I quit drinking I’ve married and had two children

Because I quit drinking I no longer wake up in my own vomit.

6. Disinterested and Uninterested

These words not synonymous.

Use ‘disinterested’ for impartial people

Example: A hedge fund manager might take interest in a headline regarding the performance of a popular stock, even if he’s never invested in it. He’s “disinterested,”

Use ‘uninterested’ for careless person

Example: he is uninterested in the project.

7. Impactful

Exaggerates expression of effect of a product or service

Derives name from word ‘impact’ meaning force or degree of force

Used for depicting sales, figures, and effects of product

8. Irony

Humorous or sarcastic use of words

Denotes opposite of real meaning

Example: Sam and Nicole are staunch enemies who live in Delhi and they want to move to different cities so that they do not have to see each other again. They both plan to shift to some other city. When Sam reaches Mumbai he comes to know that Nicole has also shifted to Mumbai.

9. Coincidence

“Coincidence” indicates events planned which are planned in reality

Unintentional or not planned result

Example: Sam and Nicole are friends who live in different cities. Both have to visit Mumbai for their particular personal reasons, so when they meet at the airport neither of them was expecting their meeting in a different city.

Irony and coincidence are wrongly used in place of each other many times. While irony is the incongruity in a series of events between the expected results and the actual results,

10. Which and That

‘which’ and ‘that’ widely misused


Is a restrictive pronoun. Used for the noun referring to.

Example: I don’t prefer having vegetables and fruits that are not organic. The sentence means that I don’t have non-organic fruits and only the organic ones.


Is a relative clause. Insignificant qualifiers are mentioned with the clause.

Example: I advise you to have only organic vegetables and fruits, which you may purchase from local grocery store. Here, it is not mandatory that you go to a particular grocery store to have organic vegetables and fruits.

‘that’ restricts while ‘which’ qualifies.

‘which’ is comparatively vaguer.

Example: The book, which is green, is mine.

The book that is green is mine.

11. Lay and Lie

Misuse of ‘lay’ and ‘lie’ are the jewel in the crown of grammatical errors.


Requires more than one subject and direct subject.

Present Tense Example: I lay the book on the shelf

‘laid’ is past tense Example: Day before yesterday, I laid down on a couch.


Intransitive verb

Needs no object

Example: The Andes Moutain lie between Argentina and Chile

‘lay’ is past tense

Example: The man lay waiting for ambulance

Using past tense of transitive ‘lay’ is a common mistake

Example: I laid on bed

Meaning here is intransitive past tense of ‘lie’

Example: I lay on the bed

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