Common Mistakes

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Just, Use of

When using the word just as an adverb meaning “no more than,” place it directly in front of the word it modifies. Similarly, place the word only directly in front of the word it modifies. Vague: Just give me three more days. Correct: Give me just three more days. Vague: I only have three dollars.

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Except/Accept

Accept means “to receive.” Except is usually a preposition meaning “but” or “leaving out.” However, except can also be a verb meaning “to leave out.” As verbs, accept and except are nearly antonyms, so the difference is important! Examples: He accepted the gift. (He received it.) He excepted the twins. (He did not include them.)

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Hypo-/Hyper-

The prefix hyper- means “above,” “beyond,” or “excessively.” The prefix hypo- means “under” or “below normal.” Examples: Hypodermic needle (under the dermis) Hyperactive child (excessively active)

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Kind Of, Use of

The expressions kind of or sort of to mean “rather,” “partially,” or “somewhat” are nonstandard. Both expressions literally mean “type of” or “variety of.” Incorrect: The child felt kind of lonely. Correct: The child felt somewhat (or rather) lonely. Correct: The kestrel is a kind of falcon. (A type or variety of falcon) When using

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Farther/Further

Farther refers to length or distance. It is the comparative form of the word far when referring to distance. Further means “to a greater degree,” “additional,” or “additionally.” It refers to time or amount. It is the comparative form of the word far when meaning “much.” Correct: London is farther north than Juneau. (Refers to

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