Is this right?
If you ever question whether you’re using or spelling words right, you’re not alone. Even though writing and editing are my “bread and butter,” I often find myself looking things up to ensure I’m not making a mistake.
Over the past few days, I jotted down some word issues I noticed while editing. Here are a few of them—things you won’t have to wonder about anymore.
Is it everyday or every day? Depends on usage.
- Wrong: Our team works hard to please clients everyday.
- Right: Our team works hard to please clients every day.
- Also Right: Our everyday attire is business casual.
Is it on-going or ongoing? Only one of these is actually a word.
- Wrong: Our customer service focus is on-going excellence.
- Right: Our customer service focus is ongoing excellence.
Is it who or that? Again, depends on usage. Note: who should only be used to refer to people.
- Wrong: Clients can count on a firm who works hard.
- Also Wrong: Clients can count on people that work hard.
- Right: Clients can count on a firm that works hard.
- Also Right: Clients can count on people who work hard.
Is it alright or all right? There’s some gray here. I didn’t think alright was a word but I discovered it’s the nonstandard variant of all right. It’s gaining popularity but still considered incorrect in any type of formal writing, so:
- Wrong: Our second quarter numbers look alright.
- Right: Our second quarter numbers look all right.
Even if you’re someone who writes a lot, you might not use these words on an ongoing basis, surely not every day, but now you know what’s all right and what’s all wrong.
Biggest internet grammar error
You may not be surprised: it’s your and you’re.
Your attributes something to you:
- Jenna, your birthday is today.
- You’re my favorite niece—for 24 years and counting.
Plural or singular?
Most collective nouns, which refer to a group of people or collection of things, take a singular verb, e.g., my family is great, the team works well. But there are two exceptions that take plural verbs—police and people, e.g. the police make daily reports, people are wondering.