The Word on Words #1: 5 Pairs of Words Often Confused

  1. amount/number: Use “amount” with quantities that cannot be counted and “number” with those that can be. She can’t believe the amount of knowledge she gains from reading MakingBabyGrand.com. She only has a small number of tips left to read today.
  2. lie/lay: “Lie” means to recline, and “lay” means to place something. You can lie down, but lay the book on the table first. Serious confusion arises because the past tense of “lie” is “lay.” Yesterday, I laid down because I wasn’t feeling well. Dang English!
  3. i.e./e.g.: “i.e.” means “that is”; “e.g.” means “for example.” A comma follows both of them.
  4. who/that: If the noun you’re referring to is a person, always use “who.” The man who just walked into the store is wearing no socks.
  5. who/whom: Ahhh, the dreaded who/whom. “Who” is the subject of the clause it introduces, and “whom” is used as the object of a preposition. Who is coming to dinner with Kerry? With whom is Bill coming?
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