All this blogging is a lot of effort, so I asked earlier on Twitter if anyone wanted to do a guest post (if you replied, I’ll get back to you). However, those who want to will need to be able to write at least moderately well. As I do proofing for The Gooner magazine (not the website, before you point out mistakes on that, and not everything in the magazine before anyone finds an error there) I see a lot of examples of poor writing and in particular the mixing up of words that mean different things but often sound or look similar. Also I use Twitter, where there is quite a lot of poor grammar and more examples of confusion. Without wishing to sound like a know-all (too late, huh?), below are some words that it would be really helpful if everyone on Twitter knew, and even more helpful for anyone wanting to write a blog post for me. (This is part of the Style Guide that I wrote for writers and the other proofers of The Gooner.)
(If you want to do a post for this blog, then please email any piece you would like me to consider to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.)
Accept/except eg I accept Spurs are the best team in north London – except for Arsenal
Adverse/averse Adverse means bad, eg adverse weather conditions. Averse means to not like.
Affect/effect To affect means to have an effect on (“Podolski’s goals will affect the result” = “Podolski’s goals will have an effect on the result”). To effect means to bring about, to accomplish – in other words to be effective.
Amount/number An amount is part of one thing; a number indicates more than one: eg Henry covered a large amount of the pitch, and scored a large number of goals (he did not score a large amount of goals).
Bare/bear ‘Bare’ means naked or on display (you bare your soul, or your body). ‘Bear’ is a verb similar to ‘carry’ (“Fabianski bears the responsibility for many goals”), or a large furry animal.
Climbs/climes ‘Climes’ is slang for ‘climate’. ‘Foreign climes’ are where Arsenal players usually come from. Only mountaineers come from foreign climbs.
Exercise/exorcise Humans exercise; ghosts and demons are exorcised.
Hear, hear “Hear, hear” roughly means, “Well said,” as in, “I hear what you’re saying.” “Here, here” means nothing.
Its/it’s “Its” is possessive, ie indicates that something belongs to something or someone else. It does not have an apostrophe, eg My dog wipes its backside on a Spurs shirt.
“It’s” means “it is” or “it has”. It has an apostrophe, eg It’s time Redknapp shut up; it’s been a crap year for Spurs.
Have/of These are sometimes confused in such sentences as, “I would have thought Spurs would lose to Carlisle,” which should not be, “I would of thought . . .”
Less/fewer The rule is: “less of one, fewer of many.” eg Defoe is less popular than Walcott. (There is one Walcott.) Defoe scores fewer goals than Walcott. (Walcott scores many goals – or at least more than one.)
Loose/lose Loose is the opposite of tight; lose is what Spurs do towards the end of the season
Mooted/muted Muted means quiet (first syllable pronounced ‘mew’). Mooted means suggested (it rhymes with hooted).
Off of These words do not belong together, eg “Ramsey got the ball off of Sagna is wrong. Say: “Ramsey got the ball from Sagna.”
Peek/peak Peek means look; mountains have peaks, seasons have peaks and troughs.
There/they’re/their “There” is a location; “they’re” means “they are”; “their” means “belonging to them”.
Wander/wonder Both can be verbs, but wandering is a physical activity (eg Lampard wanders aimlessly all over the pitch) and wondering is in your head (I wonder if Spurs will ever win the Premier League?).
Whose/who’s“Whose” means belonging to someone (Henry, whose goal tally is impressive); “who’s” means “who is” (Diaby, who’s always injured) or “who has” (Denilson, who’s never been good enough).
Your/you’re “Your” is possessive (your team, your goal, etc); “you’re” means “you are” (“Heskey, you’re rubbish”).
If you’ve got other examples I have missed, please let me know (loose/lose already added from a comment.)