English possesses a rich and varied vocabulary.  “According to UPI’s findings, “Most U.S. adults have a vocabulary of more than 42,000 words.”   A proportion of these words fall into the category of recognition rather than recall. Recognition is generally easier than recall because someone can recognize a word when placed in  context, such as an article or essay, or a multiple choice test. However, recall requires being able to bring up a word from memory and use it properly without clues, for a game like Scrabble.

So, with such a lexicon, the question remains: Why do so many misuse and abuse relatively common words? Look below for some of the most common errors.

it’s/its  The first word ALWAYS means it is. The second word shows ownership. It’s important to give the bird its feed

lie/lay Lie means to rest or recline. Lay means to put or place. Perhaps the confusion arises because the The confusion comes because the past tense of lie is lay.  Lay the blanket down, so you don’t lie on the dirt.

affect/effect The first word is usually a verb that shows action. The second word is usually a noun. His fever affected his energy level, but the medication had a beneficial effect.

uninterested/disinterested- The first one means bored; the second one means objective, fair. The lawyers appreciated the disinterested judge, but some of the jury members looked uninterested in the evidence. 

continuous/continual- The first word means constant, while the second means intermittent. The rain was continuous for two days, so we continually complained that we were unable to play tennis.

regardless/irregardless- Only the first example is a word, the second is NOT! Irrespective has the same meaning as regardless, hence the title of this article. 

As a final note: The correct expression is : I couldn’t care less.  The double negative means that I don’t have ANY interest. If I could care less, that means I already care.