"Mindfulness isn't just something you practice during a 10-minute morning meditation session. It can be incorporated throughout your everyday life by simply paying a little more attention to your daily activities as you're performing them." - Carolyn Gregoire, 13 Things Mindful People Do Differently Every Day

Their, There, They're

Last week’s Mindful Monday Tip was about the commonly, but mistakenly interchanged words, you’re and your.  Similarly, their, there, and they’re are words that I see people mix up frequently. 

Their, (which is a fun one because it also breaks the, “i before e except after c" rule), is a pronoun and is used as the possessive form of they, meaning something belongs to someone previously identified.  For example, “John and Jane left their car running.”  It can also be used in place of his or her when the masculine or feminine forms are unknown.  “Someone left their car running.” 

There actually has various uses, but is most commonly used as an adverb.  It can refer to a place, a point in an action, or a particular manner.  There can also be used as a pronoun, a noun, an adjective, or an interjection.  A little confusing, right?  Don’t worry, it’s much simpler than it sounds.  Here are some examples that will help clear up any uncertainty:   

There as an adverb:  “We are there.”  “She stopped there to reflect on what they just discussed.”  “I can understand why he got confused there.”

There as a pronoun:  There is no hope.” 

There as a noun:  “You’re on your own from there.”

There as an adjective:  “See that tree there?”

There as an interjection:  There!  This list is finally done!”     

If you’re still a little unclear, the easiest thing to do is remember when to use their and they’re, and then just use there in all other instances. 

I’ve left they’re for last because I think it’s the easiest to remember since it’s the only contraction of the three and has just one simple meaning:  they are.  They’re going on a road trip.” 

If you tend to confuse these three words, be sure to bookmark this Mindful Monday Tip so you can refer back whenever you need to!    

You’re vs. Your

In thinking of words that I see misused most frequently, you're and your would have to be at the very top of my list.  These words are not interchangeable, so be sure to know which to use. 

You’re means you are.  Your means it belongs to you.

Remember to check back each Monday for more helpful Mindful Monday tips!

Overusing Words

When it comes to writing, many people have a habit of overusing certain words.  Good, Great, Really, and Very are among some of the most common.  Of course the goal of any written material is to make a point, but if you intend to keep your reader’s attention, you’ll want to use vivid, descriptive words.  Try to strike a balance between compelling and fluffy though, keeping in mind your audience and writing directly to them.  Here’s a great article from Writers Write about overuse of the word very:  

45 Ways to Avoid Using the Word ‘Very’

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”  -N.H. Kleinbaum


Nother is Not a Word

Nother is not a word.  As in, “She bought a whole nother set.”  The correction to this statement is, “She bought a whole other set.”  Or you could go with, “She bought another set.” 

I can still remember asking my second grade teacher how to spell the word nother.  I was always good with spelling and vocabulary as a kid, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find a spelling that looked correct to me.  My teacher was a little confused and asked me to use it in a sentence, which I did.  I recall her smiling sweetly and explaining that, while used frequently, nother isn’t actually a word.  She made me feel smart for having asked though, and I think that’s why I still remember the conversation to this day.  

I think for most of us, if we take a minute to think about it, we know that nother isn’t really a word.  However it’s used so frequently, I think because it just flows off the tongue so easily.  Remember though, we don’t necessarily want to write the way we speak.  We want our business communications especially, to be more refined. 

So next time you feel compelled to type the word nother, remember this Mindful Monday Tip and refrain!  Check back next Monday for more helpful advice, and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

Affect vs. Effect

If you want your business to come across as credible, it's important to use proper grammar in all your written communications.  From your website to your marketing materials, you want to present your company as the authority on whatever it is you do.  You just won't accomplish that with bad grammar. 

Understanding the difference between affect and effect seems to be a pretty common dilemma.  So here’s a quick and simple explanation:  Affect is typically used as a verb to describe influence, as in, “I hope this blog post positively affects your writing going forward.”  Effect is usually used as a noun to describe a result, as in, “This blog post should have a positive effect on your writing.”

So next time you're faced with the conundrum of whether to use affect or effect, remember this Mindful Monday Tip.  Check back next Monday for more helpful advice, and be sure to follow me on Twitter so you'll never miss an update!