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Free Grammar HelpWordsMisused Words

A-C D-E F-H I-L M-O P-R S-T U-Z

Below is a list of words that are commonly misspelled or otherwise abused. Some of them appear on other grammar pages on this site. Use the Question form to submit more.

Word

Common Mistake

magnate or magnet

a magnet is a device with a magnetic field; it attracts iron and nickel

a magnate is someone with a lot of wealth and power

magnate vs magnet

orientate

Do not use "orientate." Orient is correct. This is a corruption from the addition of "-ation" to "orient" to form "orientation." The "a" belongs to the suffix. It is necessary because "oriention" is too difficult, and the "t" doesn't know if it should sound like "T" as in "orient" or like "sh" because it is part of "tion."

our or us

"Our" + "-ing" verb is used as the subject of a sentence. Our selling the house was due to the bad economy. Use "us" + verb as the object of a sentence. The bad economy forced us to sell the house. See more on posessive adjectives.