Right Words, Wrong Words

correct word

Choose the correct word:

  1. The patient is feeling (all right/alright).
  2. (Anyone/Any one) of those ties will go with the lavender suit.
  3. The students were standing (all together/altogether) in a row.
  4. The production of Rigoletto was (all together/altogether) brilliant.
  5. To succeed as an opera singer, you have to practice (everyday/every day).
  6. The (principle/principal) ingredient in cotton candy is sugar.
  7. The car was (stationary/stationery) when I hit it.
  8. The orange curtains (compliment/complement) the lime green sofa nicely.
  9. Whoever decorated this room needs a taste (councillor/counsellor).
  10. One should be (discreet/discrete) about personal information.

Answers: 1. all right 2. Any one 3. all together 4. altogether 5. every day 6. principal 7. stationary 8. complement 9. counsellor 10. discreet


These are all frequently confused words, and computer spell checkers won’t catch mistakes in using them.


  1. All right is adjective meaning “in proper order” or an adverb meaning “in a satisfactory way.” The one-word variant alright is not acceptable in formal English.
  2. Any one means “whatever one (person or thing) of a group.” Anyone is a pronoun that means “any person.” Anyone who writes need to study grammar.
  3. All together to indicates that the members of a group are acting collectively. All and together may be separated by other words: All the students were standing together in a row.
  4. Altogether is an adverb meaning “entirely, completely, utterly.”
  5. Every day means “each day.” Everyday is an adjective meaning “ordinary” or “casual.” She wore her everyday clothes.
  6. Principal as an adjective means “chief” or “main.” As a noun, it means a person holding the highest rank, especially the head of an elementary school. In a loan, the principal is the larger part of the money, and the interest is the lesser (unless it’s a credit card bill). Principle is only a noun meaning “a rule” or “a standard.”
  7. Something standing still is said to be stationary. Stationery is what people used to write letters on before email.
  8. As a noun, complement means “something that completes or enhances” The beautiful wooden chess set was a complement to the antique leather furniture; used as a verb it means “to serve as a complement to.” The noun compliment means “an expression of praise” She paid me a compliment on my boots, while the verb means “to pay a compliment to.”
  9. A councillor is a member of a council; a counsellor is one who gives counsel or advice.
  10. Discreet means ”prudent or circumspect.” Discrete means “separate or distinct.” We divided into two discrete groups: bridge players and chess players.


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