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Then vs. Than – Pick the Correct Word

Then vs. Than – Pick the Correct Word

Then and than are among the most commonly misused pairs of words in the English language. While they are technically pronounced differently, many speakers pronounce than like then, which adds to the confusion. Since spelling can be conflated with intelligence, it’s important to always use […]

Peel vs. Peal – Pick the Correct Word

Peel vs. Peal – Pick the Correct Word

While you’re likely quite familiar with one of these words, the other has a more specialized meaning. Can you guess which one is which? Peel and peal are both legitimate words, and they are pronounced the same way. However, their meanings are quite different depending […]

Do vs. Due – Pick the Correct Word

Do vs. Due – Pick the Correct Word

Do sounds the same as due; the two words are a pair of English homophones. As with all homophones, do and due are spelled differently and mean quite different things. Plus, they are different parts of speech.

So how do you know when to use due or do?

Short and Sweet: Do vs. Due

Do is a very common verb, while due is usually an adjective.

  • Do means “to make happen.” It is used in a wide range of contexts.
  • Due means the time at which something is expected, often a debt.

Continue reading for a more in-depth discussion of these words’ meanings and way to remember when to use do or due.

What Does Do Mean?

Meaning of Do: Most simply put, to do is “to make happen.” Some of the many actions that do can describe are to perform, carry out, make, partake of, or behave.

  • After you do your work, you can leave. > perform/carry out
  • I need to do that when I get home. > carry out
  • Don’t do > partake of
  • Let’s do a documentary about haunted houses. > make
  • What do you do? >occupation

This is by no means an exhaustive list of how do can be used. One can do many other tasks such as the laundry or dishes, one’s hair or makeup, or some paperwork or research, to name just a few.

Do is a quite versatile verb. While other languages are often more specific with their verbs, English has several verbs, such as “put,” “get,” and “take,” that are used casually to mean wide variety of actions.

What Does Due Mean?

Meaning of Due: Due is the time at which something is expected to happen. This can be many things, from payment of a debt to the birth of a baby. Due can also mean something is deserved, such as recognition.

  • I don’t have extra money right now because my rent is due this week.
  • My library book is due back on Thursday.
  • What is the due date for this assignment?

These examples demonstrate how things such as rent, a project, and a book are expected to be turned in by a certain date.

Due also describes the expected arrival of people and objects.

For example,

  • My baby’s due date is in April.
  • The train is due any minute now.

Additionally, two common phrases that use the word due are “credit where credit is due” and “all due respect.”

For example,

  • I always include the name of the artist when I repost pictures; it’s important to give credit where credit is due.
  • With all due respect I must disagree.

In these contexts, due means deserved, or appropriate.

As a noun, dues are something that one pays in order to be a part of a group.

  • Before you can move up in this company, you have to pay your dues.
  • The union will kick you out if you don’t pay your dues.

In the first example, this means the time and work one does at first to earn a more desirable position in a group. In the second example, dues are a monetary contribution that members make periodically to a union.

Due vs. Do: How to Remember the Difference

Due is when something should happen or when payment is expected. Due is often paired with date, as in due date. Both of thee words end in an “E.”

Do frequently appears in the phrase to do, as in To Do List. A To Do List is a written set of actions the author needs to carry out, or make happen. To and do are both two-letter words that end in an “O.”

Recap: When to Use Do and Due

Do is a verb that means something is carried out or made to happen. Do is a flexible verb that is used in a variety of contexts.

Due is an expectation: either for a debt to be paid, something or someone to arrive, or respect or recognition to be given.

Dairy vs. Diary – Pick the Correct Word

Dairy vs. Diary – Pick the Correct Word

This pair of words is a dyslexic’s nightmare! Dairy and diary have two totally different meanings and pronunciations, yet they are so similar in spelling. You must pay close attention to determine whether you are using diary or dairy correctly. Short and Sweet: Dairy vs. […]

Council vs. Counsel – Pick the Correct Word

Council vs. Counsel – Pick the Correct Word

Something about how these two words are spelled has made me dizzy just writing this article! Perhaps it is because cil, sel, cel, and sil are all viable spellings for the sound at the end of council or counsel. It’s certainly challenging to remember how […]

Lets vs. Let’s – Pick the Correct Word

Lets vs. Let’s – Pick the Correct Word

It can be hard to remember whether to use lets or let’s. Should you use an apostrophe, or not?

Most homophones differentiated by an apostrophe are completely different words. This includes pairs such as “its and it’s,” “your and you’re,” and “whose and who’s.”

Lets and let’s are no exception.

Despite looking and sounding similar, the two words are unrelated, and using them correctly is important.

Short and Sweet: Lets vs. Let’s

These words are distinct in their uses and have no overlap.

  • Lets is a present tense conjugation of the verb to let.
  • Let’s is a contraction of the words let us.

Continue reading for a tip to remember when to use let’s or lets in your writing.

What Does Lets Mean?

Meaning of Lets: Lets is the a present tense conjugation of the verb to let, specifically the third person singular present tense. This means it is used with pronouns like he, she, it, they, etc.

To let, of course, means to allow or not to forbid.

  • My cat never lets me pet her belly.
  • My aunt always lets her daughter do whatever she wants!

In both of these examples, lets is being used to mean allows.

Lets has other meanings as well. It can mean to finish or conclude.

  • Class lets out at 2:30.

It can mean to allow someone to rent a room in a home or apartment.

  • Can I sub-let my room?

There are many other senses of the word, but the important takeaway is that they are all verbs and they mostly have to do with permission.

What Does Let’s Mean?

Meaning of Let’s: Let’s is a contraction of the words “let us.” When the two words are combined, the apostrophe takes the place of the “U.” An apostrophe reminds us that a contraction is short for two words.

However, in most modern contexts, using “let us” in place of let’s would sound stiff and old fashioned. The phrase let’s is used casually to make a request or a suggestion, or to soften a command. Let’s communicates the speaker’s desire for the present company to do something.

One can consider “let’s” as a substitute for “I want for us to,” or “we should.”


  • Let’s go see a movie. > Let us go see a movie.


  • We should go see a movie.


  • Let’s not go there. > Let us not go there.


  • I don’t want to go there with you.


  • Let’s see what you’ve got. > Let us see what you’ve got.


  • Show us what you’ve got.

Take note, however, that one cannot always contract “let us” into let’s, as it may sometimes change the meaning. For example, “let us go” is a demand to be released, while “let’s go” is a suggestion to leave.

Let’s vs. Lets: How to Remember the Difference

Let’s is a substitute for let us, and it means that the speaker would like for us to do something. Use let’s where “we should” would make sense. If “we should” doesn’t make sense in the sentence, then lets is the correct word to use in that instance.

Recap: When to Use Lets and Let’s

Lets is the a present tense conjugation of “to let,” which means to permit or to release. It should be used where a verb is appropriate.

Let’s is a contraction of “let us.” It is used to mean “I want us to,” or “we should.” Let’s generally precedes a soft command, a request, or a suggestion.

Course vs. Coarse – Pick the Correct Word

Course vs. Coarse – Pick the Correct Word

In this article, we are dealing with a set of English homophones, a pair of words that sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things. It can be challenging to determine whether your writing calls for coarse or course, especially since they […]

Canon vs. Cannon – Pick the Correct Word

Canon vs. Cannon – Pick the Correct Word

Not sure whether canon is spelled with one “N” or two? Spellcheck won’t help you here, because both spellings are correct. It’s just that canon and cannon are two words with different meanings. Make sure you know whether to use cannon or canon in your […]

Aid vs. Aide – Pick the Correct Word

Aid vs. Aide – Pick the Correct Word

While it may not seem like the little “E” at the end of aide should matter much, it does. That extra letter turns aid into a different word altogether.

And while aid and aide do mean very similar things about helping people, their usages are distinct. Continue reading to understand how to use these words correctly.

Short and Sweet: Aid vs. Aide

Both of these words are nouns, but they are not interchangeable.

  • Aid is a type of assistance or help, usually financial or economic. > Financial aid.
  • An aide is an employee of assistant. > A teacher’s aide.

Continue reading and I will also show you how to remember when to use aid or aide.

What Does Aid Mean?

Meaning of Aid: Aid is a verb and a noun. It means to help or assist. One can aid or provide aid to many things, such as a person or a cause.

  • The beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid!
  • Your generous contribution greatly aids our campaign.

Often, aid appears in the phrase “first aid.” This refers to initial medical attention administered first, before medical professionals are needed or able to help.

  • The bandages are in the first aid
  • Someone who knows CPR needs to administer first aid to this person while we wait for the ambulance to arrive!

Another common phrase is to “come to one’s aid.” It has the same meaning as to “come to the rescue.”

  • I was in a tough spot, but my friends came to my aid.

Aid also appears in the phrase “aid and abet,” which generally has a more negative connotation. In this case, aid is used to describe the actions of someone who is not directly guilty of a crime but helped it happen through their actions or inaction.

  • By not going to the authorities, you aid and abet this money laundering scheme!

What Does Aide Mean?

Meaning of Aide: Aide is a noun that refers to a person. Aide is synonymous with “assistant.” It is often the title of someone’s job, and aide is usually modified by another noun to describe the person to whom the aide is providing assistance.

  • How are things working out with that new teacher’s aide?
  • He worked as a nurse’s aide while he was in school.
  • The senator never goes anywhere without at least one of her aides.

These are the three most common professions in which one would describe their assistant as an aide: teacher, nurse, or politician. In the corporate world, people generally just call the people who help them their assistants.

Aide vs. Aid: How to Remember the Difference

Both aid and aide deal with the idea of help or assistance. The difference in their meanings is that aide is a person, while aid is assistance.

Aide is differentiated from aid in spelling by the “E” on the end. You can remember that an aide is an employee because both words end in the letter “E.”

Now, whether your writing calls for aide or aid, you will know how be able to remember the difference.

Recap: When to Use Aid and Aide

Aid and aide are similar words with closely related meanings.

  • Aid can be a noun meaning “assistance,” or a verb meaning “to assist.”
  • Aide is a noun meaning “assistant,” or “a person who provides aid.”

Always use aid unless referring to a person who is employed to be an aide.

Ad vs. Add – Pick the Correct Word

Ad vs. Add – Pick the Correct Word

Is it spelled ad or add? Both of these spellings are correct in their own appropriate contexts. Ad and add are homophones, which means that while they sound the same, they are two separate words with individual meanings. This article explains when you should use […]