Sometimes we mix up terms

And that's okay, English is complex and we often have words that mean two different things. I wanted to take a moment to clarify some pairs of words that often get mixed interchangeably. Of course, it's up to you if you want to use them stylistically while keeping their definitions in mind.

Cliche vs Trope

Sapient vs Sentient

  • Sapience is defined as the ability to reason, to have wisdom or intelligence. It is strictly a human-oriented word to describe higher thought processes.
  • Sentience is a general term for any living organism that can process stimuli or general existence. It can apply to animals and humans, as most animals arguably do not have higher thinking processes.

Plausibility vs Possibility

  • Plausibility is when something follows a reasonable logic within it's own context. It does not have to function in a nonfiction setting, as you can say a killer in a story following someone home using a GPS is "plausible". It's more of a 'this makes sense to happen' word.
  • Possibility is the state of something happening realistically or is likely to happen, mostly pertaining to the real world. It is entirely plausible in a story about aliens invading, that they are highly advanced: however it's most likely not going to happen.

You're vs Your (tbh, this should be obvious)

  • You're is shorthand for 'you are'. It is the state of a subject or the subject performing an action. 'YOU'RE/you are doing this' | 'YOU'RE/you are an a-hole.' Etc.
  • Your is a possessive word that determines possession or relation of something to a person. 'That is YOUR mother' | 'This is YOUR Gamecube.'

Then vs Than

  • Then is a logical indicator describing the relation between two outcomes. 'If I do this, THEN this happens.'
  • Than is a contrasting word meant to show the differences between two elements. 'This number is greater THAN that number.' | 'I'd rather do this THAN that.'

Affect vs Effect

  • Affect is a verb describing the process of something becoming Effected, which is a noun/state. It's basically a cause and effect difference. | 'My character was AFFECTED by the Poison Status EFFECT.'

Advice vs Advise

  • Advice is wisdom or suggestions you give to someone, a noun.
  • To Advise someone is the verb-act of giving advice to someone.

These are some of the most common mix ups I can think of, feel free to add more or suggest some clarifications in the comments. 8)

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.