Just Write Right | Articles for Authors

For all the aspiring authors out there, this is for you. Enjoy!

Confusing Words

Sometimes sets of words that sound similar can be very frustrating for some writers. (I myself do not claim to be completely immune to confusing words.) Like 'Course' and 'Coarse'. 'There','Their' and 'They're'. There are lots of examples, I am going to list a few with the definitions below.

"Course" and "Coarse"

  • Lacking refinement or delicacy (Vulgar)
  • Inferior or common
  • Composed of large particles (Not of a fine texture)
  • He is a coarse/rough character. (He is vulgar)
  • His actions are rather coarse/rough. (He lacks refinement.)
  • Tweed wool is a coarse/rough material. (The material is not fine in texture.)


  • A direction
  • A place to play golf
  • School subject
  • Customary action (of course)

  • The plane flew off course and was lost.
  • Let's go to the golf course.
  • How many courses are you taking this summer?
  • Of course, we're ready to go.
"Affect" and "Effect"

affect to influence, to pretend (verbs); feeling (noun)
effect a result; being in operation (nouns); to make happen (verb)


Self-concept affects learning.1
She affected intellectualism by wearing glasses and using long words
Her affect is always sour in the morning.
One effect of lunar gravity is tides.
The new state income tax was in effect last fall.
The president effected a new policy on international trade.
Most often affect is used as a verb and effect is used as a noun. Something that affects you will have an effect on you.

"There", "Their" and "They're"

there that place, in that place
their belonging to them
they're contraction of they are


There are the dogs that dig in my garden.
The Browns let their dogs run loose again.
They're digging in my garden now.

"Lay" and "Lie"

lay to set down or place something
lie to recline; to tell a falsehood


Lay your weapons on the table.
I like to lie in the sun by the lake.
I don't lie, said George Washington.
lay to place horizontally (active past tense of lie)
laid put down (past tense and past participle of lay)
lain to be horizontal (past participle and passive past tense of lie)
lied told a falsehood (past tense and past participle of lie)


I lay in the sun all day yesterday.
George Washington never lied.
She laid her cards on the table.
She was laid to rest.
She had lain in the sun all afternoon.

If you can think of any other commonly confused words please feel free to contact me or comment below! Happy Writing!