Concrete Detail

Erika Hayes, Author – Write like a reader, read like a writer and edit like a beast!


Welcome to Tuesday’s commonly misused words. Let’s get right to the task at hand.

Then vs Than

They sound a little alike and can be difficult to remember which is correct.

THEN:  Sounds like men. There are several times one can use the word then.

  1. When referring to a time.

Example:  She bit her lip then began to laugh.

2. When telling what will happen next.

Example:  I will go to the store, then I will come home.

3. In place of the word also.

Example: She asked if I would fix her computer, and then to look at her router.

THAN:  Sounds like man. There is really only one time using the word than is correct.

  1. When comparing two things is when it is appropriate to use the word than.

Example:  Sally has more homework than I do.

They’re, Their, There

THEY’RE: This is a contraction for “they are”.

If when re-reading a sentence you can’t put in the words, they are in place,  this is the wrong usage of they’re.

Example: They’re my friends.

THEIR: Is possessive.

This use of their is used to show that someone owns it.

Example:  The red Ford is their truck.

THERE: In or at a place.

This use of there is referring to a location.

Example:  I will see you there.

Assure, Ensure, Insure

ASSURE:  Is a promise.

This word is used as a way to indicate that a promise is in place.

Example: I assure you that I will be there on time.

ENSURE: To make certain.

This form of ensure can be easily confused with assure; because a promise seems to make certain of something.  However, the use of ensure is usually used when an individual is making certain, not making a promise.

Example:  She stopped and looked around to ensure no one was listening to her phone conversation.

INSURE: to make certain especially by taking necessary measures and precautions.

This insure is to make the risk of loss transferred in exchange for payment.

Example:  They were careful to choose a good company to insure their new home.

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