Business Writing Tip #73—Easily Confused and Often Misused Part 3

Thanks to Steve Heap of Alchemy Corporate Training in Malaysia for adding some more words that people often confuse or misuse to my list.

Actually/Now

Actually is used in spoken English when you are giving an opinion or adding new information to what you’ve just said. She’s been the CEO of the company for a few years. Since 2008 actually. It can also be used when telling someone the truth of a situation. He may look young but he’s actually in his late thirties.

Now means at the current time, at present, or immediately

Bring/Take

Bring is to take something or someone to the place where you are now. So you might ask someone to ‘bring you a coffee’. Take is used when you are moving something, or someone, from where you are now to somewhere else. ‘I’m taking my sister to the hospital.’

Now, this is a fairly simple rule and, like any rule, there are exceptions. The main one is when you are talking about a time in the future, then the word you use depends on what you wish to emphasise – where you are or where you are going.

As Grammar Girl explained on her blogplum cake - low res

“Do you bring rum cake to the school bazaar or do you take rum cake to the school bazaar? It simply depends on where you want to place the emphasis of the sentence—which perspective you want to adopt.

If you want to focus on the school and write from the perspective of the bazaar, you bring the cake to the bazaar.

If you want to focus on your kitchen and write from the perspective of home, then you take the cake to the bazaar (which puts the focus on taking it away from your home).

When you start writing about the future and have to choose between “bring” and “take,” imagine where you are in the scenario, and make your word choice based on that location.”

Bad/Badly

This one isn’t so complicated. Bad is an adjective so it modifies a noun. For example, bad news. Badly is an adverb so you use it with verbs. The company was badly managed.

Remember though the comparative and superlative versions of these two words are the same, worse and worst so you don’t need to worry about adverbs and adjectives, nouns or verbs, when you’re talking about degrees of badness.

Hope these are helpful!

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