Monday, September 26, 2011

Which One?

Sometimes I feel like the English language was created by a prankster who thought it'd be funny to confuse as many people as possible (not really, but sometimes). It's no secret a good portion of the American population can't even decipher your/you're or they're/there/their, but since the majority of you reading this are writers, I thought I'd cover a few others that are not often talked about.

Whose vs. Who’s

Whose = possessive form of who

Whose book is this?

I can’t remember whose umbrella I borrowed yesterday.

Who’s = contraction of “who is” or “who has”

Who’s driving the car?

I don’t know who’s been in my room.

A lot vs. Alot

A lot = a two word phrase used to mean "many" or "much".

I like you a lot.

Alot = this is not a word. Although a common mistake, don’t use it. Ever.

Affect vs. Effect

Affect = a verb most commonly meaning to influence or have an impact on someone or something.

How will this post affect your writing?

Effect = a noun most commonly meaning a result or something brought about by a cause.

I hope this post will have an effect on your writing.

Into vs. In to

Into = has to do with motion from outside to inside. Direction implied.

She went into her house.

In to = the two-word phrase combines two meanings—direction AND purpose with going “in” somewhere “to” do something.

She went in to grab her sunglasses.

Hope this helps. Happy writing!


  1. great post... I can't even remember the last time I used whose.. probably avoidance out of fear of using it incorrectly :)

  2. Gah! I've been using into and in to all wrong. Thanks for the clarification, Nicole. :)

  3. I totally heart grammar. Nicole, you rock!