Special Report

People Get These Words Wrong All the Time

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47. Than and Then

Than is used with comparisons, as in bigger than. Then means at that time, or next.

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48. Their and There

Their means belonging to them. There means in that place (as distinct from here). The students left their books there.

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49. Who’s and Whose

Who’s is a contraction of who is, as in “Who’s on third?” Whose is the possessive case of who or which, as in “Whose broad stripes and bright stars….”

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50. Unique

People often say “very unique,” but strictly speaking nothing is very unique. Something is either unique, which means one of a kind, or not — there aren’t degrees of uniqueness.