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Ten Tricky Writing Errors (and What You Need To Know To Avoid Them!)
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When you ask people what their least favorite subject was in school, how often do you hear people say, "English"? Whether it is because of diagramming sentences, reading Shakespearean plays, or writing essays on Tolstoy, some people cringe at just the thought of their English courses.
And while we know that English grammar can be an important subject, sometimes we forget why exactly that is.
In the medical field, excellent communication is key. Not only does it help your practice run smoothly, it lets you establish a professional, knowledgeable tone when you correspond with peers, coworkers, and most importantly, patients.
So, take out a pencil, crack open your notebook, and follow along as we take a quick look at some tricky grammatical missteps that are easy to make!
Between / Among
Between is typically used with two individuals or objects. Among refers to more than two individuals or objects.
"Just between the two of us," one dentist said to another, "I'm not comfortable being among all these angry patients of yours."
Anxious / Eager
Anxious and eager both mean "eager for." What sets them apart is that anxious also has a sense of concern or fear.
Lisa felt anxious about her upcoming root canal, but she was eager to get it over with.
Complementary / Complimentary
Complementary involves "completing" or "adding to" something. Complimentary means that something is "free" or "praising."
The tooth whitening and complementary cleaning completed Mrs. Jackson's dental checklist, and Dr. Davis made her day when he offered her a complimentary checkup for the next time.
Set / Sit
Setting involves a person plus something else, like an object, that is placed somewhere. Sitting only involves a person (or people), and means "being seated or in a position of rest."
The dental assistant set the mirror on the tray, then went to go sit down for her lunch break.
Due to / Because of / On Account of
This one is a bit trickier.
Due to introduces an adjective phrase (a group of words that modify a noun, like a person, place, or thing), and it is usually used after a form of the verb to be. Because of and On account of both introduce an adverb phrase (a group of words that modify verbs).
Mrs. Lindel's cavity was due to her inconsistent brushing. (Due to modifies the noun cavity.)
Dr. Smith established a scholarship program because of the help he himself received. (Because of modifies the verb established.)
Both / Each
Both refers to "two things considered together," while each refers to items or people in a group individually.
Both patients arrived at the same time, and each of them wanted the other to go first.
Each other / One another
Each other should be used when you are referring to only two persons or things. One another refers to more than two.
Dr. Lindsay and Dr. Miller gave each other gifts over the holidays. Dr. Miller's entire staff traded gifts among one another.
Comprise / Compose
Start looking for this one and you'll find it all over the place.
Comprise means "to consist of or contain." Compose means "to make up."
Dr. Smith's practice comprises Dr. Smith, his assistant, and his staff. (Never use "is comprised of"!)
Dr. Smith, his assistant, and his staff compose Dr. Smith's practice.
Ensure / Insure / Assure
To ensure something means "to make sure, or make certain." Insuring means "protecting against something." And to assure means "to give confidence about something."
Imply / Infer
Imply means "to suggest," while infer means "to assume or to come to a conclusion about something."
Mrs. Sanders implied that she did not have insurance to help cover her root canal. From Dr. Lindsay's response, Mrs. Sanders inferred that they would work something out.
What are some grammar rules that trip you up? Do you know of any grammar rules that are especially tricky?
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