Little Book of Confusables

Licence vs license: top spelling tricks to help you get it right

LICENCE vs LICENSE: simple tips to remember the difference

LICENCE and LICENSE are easy to confuse. The fact that both words sound the same trips people up time and time again.

Here are my simple tips to remember the difference between LICENCE and LICENSE*

LICENCE is a noun.

You need a licenCe to drive a Car.

Also, remember that a licenCE is printed on paper, like a CErtificate.

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Bonus tip

If you know the trick for PRACTICE vs PRACTISE – remembering that ICE is a noun – you can apply the same C vs S spelling rule here 👍🏼

You can apply this same bonus spelling tip to other similar pairs, such as ADVICE and ADVISE or DEVICE and DEVISE. Just remember, the suffix ICE means the word is a noun.

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LICENSE is a verb that means to give permiSSion.

Remember the S in licenSe and permiSSion.

*Important note – in the US, both the verb and the noun are spelled LICENSE.

Confusables: LICENCE vs LICENSE. Simple spelling tips to remember the difference, from UK copywriter, Sarah Townsend Editorial

Confusables: lLICENCE vs LICENSE. Simple spelling tips to remember the difference, from UK copywriter, Sarah Townsend Editorial

Lets vs let’s: simple tips to remember the difference

Do you know when the word LETS needs an apostrophe and when it doesn’t? Let’s take a look at the difference (see what I did there?).

When to use LETS without an apostrophe

LETS and LET’S both have the same root word: LET, which means allow, or permit.

Without the apostrophe, LETS is the third-person singular present tense form of the verb LET.

Use it in sentences where LETS can be replaced with either ALLOWS or PERMITS.

For example:

The key LETS you unlock the door.

The app LETS you meet new people.

When to use LET’S with an apostrophe

LET’S with an apostrophe is a contraction of two words: LET and US.

Use it when you’re encouraging someone to do something.

For example:

LET’S go to the pub.

LET’S buy a drink.

LET’S do it.

LET’S go!

Of course, if you want to sound more formal, you might prefer to use LET US.

LET US go to the park.

Worth knowing…

The word LETS can also be used in a property sense (real estate, if you’re using American English) to describe a rented property.

For example:

The agent handles a number of property LETS in the local area.

Let's vs lets – what's the difference?

LET’S vs LETS – what’s the difference?

Imply or infer: do you know the difference?

IMPLY or INFER: tips and tricks to remember the difference

IMPLY and INFER are easy to confuse – especially if you’re new to the English language. But these two words are actually opposites.

Here’s a simple tip to remember the difference between IMPLY and INFER.

IMPLY is a verb that means to hint at something.

IMPLYING is done by the speaker. It relates to giving information.

“Are you IMPLYING that I lied?”

INFER is a verb that means to make an educated guess from the information presented to you.

INFERRING is done by the listener. It relates to taking information.

“From what you’ve said, I INFER that it wasn’t the first time this had happened?”

Imply vs infer: do you know the difference?

Imply vs infer: do you know the difference?

Formerly vs formally: top spelling tricks to help you decide

FORMERLY or FORMALLY: which is which? Top spelling tips to remember the difference.

FORMERLY or FORMALLY – they sound the same but their meanings are very different.

So, what do these words mean – and how do you decide which spelling you need? It’s easy.

These simple spelling tips will help you decide whether you need the word FORMERLY or FORMALLY.

Formerly

FORMERLY means something that happened before, or in the past. The clue is in the root of the word: FORMER.

For example:

“I changed my name when I got married. I was FORMERLY known as Sarah Saunders.”

Formally

FORMALLY means in accordance with etiquette or convention. It’s easy to remember when you know it starts with FORMAL.

For example:

“These days, I’m FORMALLY known as Ms Townsend.”

I hope this helps you to remember the difference between FORMERLY and FORMALLY.

Confusables formerly vs formally. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Confusables: FORMERLY vs FORMALLY. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Stationery vs stationary: simple tips to remember the difference

STATIONERY vs STATIONARY: which is which? Tips and tricks to remember the difference

STATIONERY and STATIONARY are commonly confused – and often by people who really should know better. I’ve seen graphic designers and printers offering ‘eye-catching STATIONARY’ more times than I care to remember – most recently in a glossy brochure promoting the services of a Gloucester-based design agency.

It makes me cringe – and I’m not the only one. So, here’s a simple tip to help you remember the correct spelling every time.

STATIONERY is a noun that means the tools used in offices, or for writing – paper and pens, in a nutshell.

You can remember E for Envelopes, or ER in papER.

For example:

“I used to love going back to school after the long summer holidays. It was always a good excuse to buy new STATIONERY.”

STATIONARY is an adjective used to describe something that’s still, or not moving.

Remember the AR in pARked cAR.

For example:

“Sorry I’m late – I was stuck in STATIONARY traffic.”

“Sorry I’m late – I was stuck in STATIONERY traffic” makes no sense. Unless it was a queue of Office World vans.

I hope this simple tip helps you remember the difference between STATIONERY and STATIONARY.

Confusables stationary vs stationery. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Confusables: stationary vs stationery. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial