- Practice / Practise – There is a difference in usage of the word in US and UK English. For example, in US English practice can be used both as a verb and as a noun. Hence, a doctor has a medical practice and a person practices the violin. On the other hand, in UK English ‘practice’ is a noun while ‘practise’ is a verb. E.g., a doctor has a practice but his daughter practises the piano.
- Bought / Brought – ‘Bought’ is the past participle of ‘buy’, the latter being an irregular verb same way as ‘brought’ is the past participle of ‘bring’, also irregular. For example, I bought a bottle of wine which had been brought over from France. You can easily distinguish those two remembering that both ‘bring’ and ‘brought’ start with ‘br’ as for ‘buy’ and ‘bought’ start with a ‘b’ only. A spelling checker might not catch this mistake so watch out for it.
- Your / You’re – ‘You’re’ is short for ‘you are’ and ‘your’ is a pronoun meaning ‘belonging to you’. Just read out your sentence and you will figure out which one is correct. For example, if you say “your looking nice today” it wouldn’t make any sense so don’t forget to use the apostrophe when needed.
- Two / To / Too – The one with a ‘w’ means the number 2, the one with one ‘o’ refers to direction: ‘to Italy’ and the one with two ‘o’s means “also” or refers to quantity, for example: “There are too many people here”. A funny, yet efficient way to remember this one is that ‘too’ has two ‘o’s – more ‘o’s than ‘to’ – therefore refers to quantity.
- Dryer / Drier – Your clothes are wet? Put the in the clothes dryer and it will make them drier. Another way to remember it is that a hair dryer makes hair drier.