Wrong or Easily Misused Words

Don’t confuse these words.


Appraise means to assess something, to find its value.

I will let the judge appraise my work.

Apprise means to inform.

I have already been apprised of what went on in yesterday’s meeting.



Loose means not secured, or in some senses, free.

The neck of the goose looks quite supple and loose.

Lose refers to misplacing something or incurring a loss.

I don’t want to lose the game.



Use fewer if you are referring to people or things that could be counted, while less is used for quantities or size.

A general rule is to use fewer for plural nouns and less for singular ones.

We had fewer people turn out for the meeting this week than last week.

As a result we took in less money.



Amount is for poundage, for mass, for weight or volume.

She has a huge amount of money.

Number is for items that can be counted.

The number of thousand-dollar bills was staggering.



Elder is used only to compare the age of people and is never followed by “than.”

She is the elder of the two sisters.

Older can be used in place of elder. It is used to describe things or people.

She is older than all of her siblings.