A spellchecker won't catch these words. Find the ones that give you trouble and learn those.

Accept - To take, to receive
most people do not accept criticism gracefully.

Except - Not Including
Everybody except the drummer stopped playing.

Affect - To change or influence
Affect is usually a verb, so -ed can be added for past tense.

Effect - The result, the consequence
Effect is usually a noun. Test by seeing whether an or the can go in front.

Amount - Use amount for substances that cannot be counted (an amount of water)

Number - Use number for items that can be counted (a number of peanuts).

Bare - Exposed, to uncover
Is it ever truly possible to bare your soul?

Bear - The animal; to give birth, to to carry
The surgery allowed her to bear a child.
I do not want to bear the burdens of the entire family.

Brake - The mechanism that stops the vehicle; to slow or stop
Let's put the brakes on these extravagant expenses.
Brake on the approach; accelerate on the curve.

Break - A separation; to shatter or separate into pieces
After a break for lunch, the ambassadors resumed the negotiations.
Do not break the seal if you plan to return the software.

Choose - Present tense (rhymes with news)
The architect Frank Gehry chooses pliable materials.

Chose - Past tense (Rhymes with nose)
Napoleon chose officers based on their ability rather than on their family connections.

Conscience - The sense of right and wrong
His conscience was clear.

Conscious - Aware
Flora became conscious of someone else in the room.

Desert - Dry country (accent on the first syllable); to abandon accent on the second syllable)
After three days in the desert, the lead actor deserted the film shoot.

Dessert - Cookies, cake, ice cream, or fruit

Etc.,and so froth - Etc. is the abbreviation of et cetera (Latin for "and so forth"). The c is at the end, followed by a period. Don't write and etc.
it's better style to use and so froth, which is English, rather than etc.

Fewer, Less - Use fewer for items that can be counted (fewer headaches).
Use less for substantives that cannot be counted (less pain).

Good, Well - Test by trying your sentence with both. if well fits, use it (doing well, going well).
Maybloom is a good shortstop.
Maybloom is doing well this season.
Maybloom is doing good when he gives to charity.
But note these tricky cases:
Olivia looks good. (She's good looking.)
Rivka looks well. (She's no longer sick.)
Clara sees well. (Her eyes work.)

It's - It is. Test by substituting it is.
It's time to find a new solution.

Its - Possessive
Every goat is attached to its own legs.
No apostrophe. It is cannot be substituted.

Lay - To put something down
She is laying the cards on the table.

Laid - Past tense
He laid the cards on the table.
Once you lay something down, it lies there.

Lie - To recline
As a child, i loved to lie in the hammock.

Lay - Past tense (here's the tricky part)
One day i lay in the hammock for five hours.
Lied always means "told a lie."

Lying - Reclining
Cleopatra was lying on a silken pillow.
Staying in place
The cards were flying on the table.
telling a lie
The manufacturers were lying to the news media.

Lead - A metal (rhymes with red); to provide direction (rhymes with reed)
Place a lead apron over the patient's body during dental X-rays.
Gatsby leads a desperate life.

Led - Past tense of lead
Ms. Salina led the department for forty years.

Like, As - use like to compare two nouns or pronouns (persons, places, things, concepts).
Larry is not at all like his brother.
Bonita is a math major, like me.
Use as or as if to compare two actions.
Larry doesn't get easily discouraged-as his brother does.
It looks as if it will snow.
Sometimes the verb is omitted:
Strong as an ox [is].

Loose - Not tight (rhymes with goose)
After he lost thirty pounds, his jeans were all loose.

Lose - To misplace (rhymes with chews)
My father would constantly lose his car keys.
To be defeated
Everyone predicted that Truman would lose.

No, New, Now, Know, Knew - No is negative; new is not old; now is the present moment. Know and Knew refer to knowledge.

On, about, Of - Use view of, philosofy of, feeling about, opinion of or about. Do not use on in these expressions.

Of, Have - Remember: could have, should have, would have-or would've-not would of

Passed - A course, a car, a football; also passed away (died)
Kirtley passed me on the street; he also passed English.
Saturday he passed for two touchdown.
The couch passed away.

Past - Yesterdays ( the past; past events); also beyond
Rousseau could never forget his past romances.
Proust wrote his novel to recapture the past.
Go two miles past the railroad tracks.

Quiet - Spike Jones rarely played quiet music.

Quite - Hippos move quite fast, considering their bulk.

So, Very - Avoid using so when you mean very. Instead of "it was so cold," write "it was very cold," or better yet "It was four degrees below zero." It is correct to use so when it is followed by that: "It was so cold that we could stay outside for only a few minutes."

Than - Comparison: better than, rather than, more than, other than
I'd rather dance than eat.

Then - Time or sequence; next
She then added a drop of water.
If you reveal the patient's name, then you face a lawsuit.

The, A, An - *Native speakers of English sometimes mix up a and an.
Use a before words starting with consonant sounds (a bat, a coat, a union).
Use an before words starting with vowels or pronounced as if they did (an age, an egg, an hour, an M&M).

*Students of English as a second language sometimes confuse the and a or an.
Use the rather than a or an when referring to one specific item.
I use the small knife for chopping ginger.
use a or an rather than the when referring to any one out of a group.
I use a knife to chop ginger.

Their - Sometimes is theirs.
Wild dogs care for their young communally.

There - A place
Go over there.
There is, there are, there was, there were
There are two main ways to lose weight.

They're - They are
They're not in a position to negotiate.

To - Direction
Give it to me. Go to New York.
A verb form
To see, to run, to be
(Note that you barely pronounce to.)

Too - More than enough
Too hot, too bad, too late, too much
Me, too!
(Note that you pronounce too clearly.)

Two - 2

Wander - To ram aimlessly
Victoria wandered from shop to shop.

Wonder - To question in one's mind
I wonder what you are thinking.

Were - Past tense (rhymes with her)
You were, we were, they were

We're - We are
We're a nation of immigrants.

Where - A place (rhymes with air)
Where were you when the lights went out?

Weather - Rain, snow, sleet, or hail

Whether - if
No one knows whether he was murdered.

Who's - Who is
Who's there? Who's coming with us?

Whose - Possessive
Whose diamond is this?

Woman - One person (singular)
For the first time, a woman was named as CEO.

Women - More than one
All of the women were delighted.
Notice the difference:
This woman is different from all other women.
Remember: a woman; a man

Worse - When comparing two things, one is worse than other.

Worst - When Comparing three or more things, one is the worst. The almost always comes before worst.
Exception: The weather changed for the worse.

Your - Belonging to you. use only for your car, your house-not when you mean you are.
Your relationship with your family changes when you marry.

You're - You are
You're going to question my logic.

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