Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

WAC/Health Sciences

Frequently Made Mistakes in Grammar and Mechanics

Errors in Word Use and Spelling

Correct word use and spelling are important in your writing because they help clarify meaning for the reader.  Below are some common mistakes regarding word use and spelling.


  • Its = possession or ownership.
    • For example:  The computer is not working because its hard drive is broken.
  • It’s = it is.
    • For example: It’s a difficult assignment to undertake.


  • Effect = meaning result (usually a noun)
    • For example:   The effect of the storm was detrimental to the community.
  • Affect = to impress or to move a person’s feelings.
    • For example:  The movie had a deep affect on my views about international trade.


  • There = used to refer to a place or location.
    • For example:  I put the book over there next to the desk.
  • Their = of or belonging to a person.
    • For example:  Their meeting took much longer than expected.
  • They’re = they are.
    • For example:  They’re eating lunch in the cafeteria.


  • i.e. = means “that is to say” or “in other words”.
    • For example:  Violent criminals offenders can end up in the state penitentiary (i.e., prison).
  • e.g. = means for example.
    • For example:  We use many kinds of computer programs at work (e.g., Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) to create our documents.


  • Loose = not tight, not fitting or not secured.
    • For example:  The bicycle wheel fell off because the bolts were loose.
  • Lose = to misplace something.
    • For example:  I always lose my computer files if I don’t save them.

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