Are you making these mistakes in your writing? Part I

Spellcheck isn’t going to save you if you’re making these mistakes. And autocorrect might make an inappropriate change without you knowing it. Here are five common errors that you can banish from your writing today.

Please note: these are simplified definitions that are most useful for financial services professionals. If you’re writing the next Moby Dick, you can dig a little deeper into the sometimes complex uses of these words.

Affect vs. effect
“Affect” means to influence, and it is (almost) always a verb: Volatility will not affect the portfolio manager’s decisions. “Effect” means a result: The effect was disastrous.

Complement vs. compliment
“Complement” is to complete something: The Global Bond Fund can complement your portfolio. “Compliment” means to give praise: After learning these word rules, your coworkers will compliment you on your great writing.

Council vs. counsel
“Council” is a noun that means an assembly of people: Your city council. “Counsel” is the act of exchanging ideas and giving advice: A financial advisor can counsel you on wealth issues.

Dual vs. duel
“Dual” means composed of two parts: The mutual fund has dual benefits. “Duel” is combat between two people: The two children duel over the inheritance.

Ensure vs. insure
“Ensure” means to make sure, while “insure” refers to providing insurance. Therefore: You invest to ensure a comfortable retirement, while you insure to protect your loved ones.

Bonus tip: “assure” doesn’t mean to insure even though “Assurance” is still around in some company names.

Click here for Part 2, in which we explain its vs. it’s, principal vs. principle and much more!

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