Commonly Confused Words
Ago and for
Ago is used to say when something happened. For is used to say how long it lasted.
- He died three years ago. (= three years before now.)
- He was ill for five years before he died. (= His illness lasted five years.)
- I met him two days ago.
- I have known him for many years.
Ago and before
Ago is used to count back from the present. Before is used to count back from a past moment.
- I met him two weeks ago. (= two weeks before now)
- When we got talking, I realized that I had seen her ten years before.
All and both
All refers to three or more items.
- I will take all three books.
- Both refers to two items.
- I will take both books. (NOT I will take all two books.)
Alright and all right
All right is the standard spelling. Alright is common but it is often considered incorrect.
- She felt all right in spite of her accident. (Formal)
- She felt alright in spite of her accident. (Informal)
Avoid the spelling alright in term papers or job application letters.
Allow and let
Allow is followed by an object + infinitive with to.
- Please allow me to go.
- Please allow me to use your computer for a minute.
- Please allow me to sit here.
Let is followed by an object + infinitive without to.
- Please let me go.
- Please let me use your computer for a minute.
- Please let me sit here.