Last time on Way With Words, we looked at Accept and Except, Further and Farther, Then and Than, A while and Awhile, and Who’s and Whose. Here are five more common confusions…
Councillor and Counsellor
After that meeting with the councillors, I could really do with a counsellor.
Councillor comes from council, a group of people making decisions together, but counsellor comes from counsel, which means something like ‘to advise’, usually in a legal or professional context. Despite this definition, a counsellor can be either a person who gives legal counsel, or a therapist.
Led and Lead
I put the dog on a lead and led him away from the lead piping.
I’ll lead the way, since you led the way last time.
L-E-A-D as a noun is pronounced as leed if you’re tying it to a dog, or led if it’s a poisonous metal, but they are both spelled the same way.
As a verb, however: If you did lead someone in the past, then you led them. The confusion about lead being the right spelling when pronounced as led likely comes from the metal.
Can not and Cannot
I cannot deal with someone who can not only be grumpy every single morning, but stay angry for the rest of the day.
Can not and cannot are both technically acceptable in all contexts. Cannot is more proper, though, unless not is doing something else, like being part of not only.
Compliments and Complements
Does this come with compliments or complements? I’d accept either…
Are you flattering me, or are you giving me extra things?
A compliment is praise. A complimentary thing is free – think of it in terms of being given to flatter guests, just like a compliment. Something complementary goes very well with the things around it.
By wrote and By rote
If grammar doesn’t come naturally to you, you might need to learn it by rote.
Here’s an easy one to remember – ‘by wrote’ is not a thing. It’s an understandable mistake, though, as the word rote doesn’t see regular use anywhere else in English.
Hopefully, these quick grammar tips will set you on your way to easier, more professional transcription. In our next post, we’ll be looking at round and around, while and whilst, program and programme, enquire and inquire, and learned and learnt. Until then, happy typing!
These grammar tips are all things our UK transcribers have picked up over the years while transcribing a wide range of media. Interested in more? Check out Quick Tips 1, Quick Tips 2, Quick Tips 4, Quick Tips 5 and Quick Tips 6!