More word mix-ups
Written by
Maria Murnane
June 2013
Written by
Maria Murnane
June 2013

A few posts back, I pointed out some common words and phrases I've seen writers get mixed up. Today I'd like to point out a few more:

Say what?


What they say: That sweater really compliments your hair color.

What they should say: That sweater really complements your hair color.


What they say: The tickets to the show were complementary.

What they should say: The tickets to the show were complimentary.


What they say: I was just laying around doing nothing.

What they should say: I was just lying around doing nothing.


What they say: There are no acceptions to that rule.

What they should say: There are no exceptions to that rule.


What they say: You must except what they are saying.

What they should say: You must accept what they are saying.


What they say: The affect of the storm will be significant.

What they should say: The effect of the storm will be significant.


The above mistakes are minor on their own, but if you make too many of them, it's going to create a negative impression on whoever reads your book. That's why I strongly recommend hiring a copyeditor if you go the indie route. (I also recommend hiring a creative/developmental editor. See my post about the difference between the two.) If you can't afford a copyeditor, ask a friend, preferably one who is super particular about syntax and grammar, to do it in exchange for a nice dinner, spa treatment, etc. That way you can focus on the intended meaning behind your words and let someone else focus on the details.


Maria Murnane is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at


This blog post originally appeared on Reprinted with permission. © 2013 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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