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So last night we were having a few drinks and then conversation flowed to commonly misused and misspelled words in the English language. The most common offenders were Lose / Loose, Definite and Separate. Honestly, when people write something like “You need to loose that attitude” I have to really restrain myself from screaming. And trust me, I am tired of people writing “Definately” and “Seperate” when I am editing their work. Honestly.

From that we came to grammar. It’s really mindblowing how many people do not understand the basics. You know you don’t write “The cat lost it’s tail” and you always write “It’s my job.” An apostrophe follows it when you are shortening “it is” to “it’s” but in the possessive sense, when something belongs to someone, you don’t use the apostrophe. “It’s time the dog stopped chasing its tail in circles.” Get it?

The other thing we spoke about is the use of “may” and “might”. The use of “may” in seeking permission is different. What we are concerned with here is the use of may in terms of a possibility. Now, in most cases “may” is used when there is a possibility but you have a conflicting idea. “What you are saying may be true, but I thought otherwise.” Or maybe, “I may not be able to make it there but I’ll try.” On the other hand a “might” means agreeing to that possibility. “I think the next Batman villain might be Mr. Freeze.” It is when you do not have a conflicting idea to propose that you use “might”. Another way of saying this is that “might” uses a bigger possibility of something than “may”.

Also, on a phone call, you “speak with” someone who is talking back to you, and you “speak to” someone when you are perhaps at a teleconference where people are not responding verbally. But then it’s a very weak difference and in common usage it has come to mean the same. So doesn’t matter what you use.

Also use dictionary.cambridge.org to know the correct pronunciations of words like Avatar and Glacier and Hover and Dais and anything you think you are iffy about. You will be amazed at how many words almost all of us really mispronounce. Try it, honestly.