Misused words | Again | Back | Above | Altogether & All together | Can & May

Its & It’s

Its is possessive pronoun like his or her. It means ‘of it’.

I purchased a table today. Its price is Rs one thousand only.

Aporstophe(‘) is used where some word is omitted in writing.

The word ‘It’s’ in its complete form is ‘It is’. Here ‘I’ of ‘is’ is omitted and is written like ‘It’s’.

Where is my book? It’s on the table.




It is a  very common mistake that the word ‘again’ is used with words having prefix of ‘re’.

The doctor reexamined the patient again.

The boys reentered the hall again  raising slogans.

The word ‘re’ itself means again so there is no need to add the word again with it. It should be:

The doctor reexamined the patient.  OR  The doctor examined the patient again.

The boys reentered the hall raising slogans. OR The boys entered the hall again raising slogans.




The word ‘back’ is used wrongly with the verb ‘return’. The word ‘return’ itself means come back or go back. ‘Return’ already includes back.  So there is no need to add the word ‘back’ with it.


He  returned back from his office very tired.

He did not return back my money to me.


He returned from his office very tired. OR He came back from his office very tired.

He did not return my money to me. OR He did not pay back my money to me.




The word ‘above’ means something referred in the previous paragraph, lines or statement written prior to this. i.e.

As stated above……………

As written in the above paragraph…………

From the above it is clear………..

Going by the above…………….

In these sentences, the word ‘above’  has been used

  1. As an adverb  2. As an adjective (3) As a noun.

The word ‘above’ is mostly preferred to be used as an adverb and its use as a noun and adjective is avoided. In its place words like ‘preceding’, ‘previous’ or ‘foregoing’ are used. For example ;

As written in the preceding lines or paragraph…….




Altogether & All together 

Altogether is a combined word and it means completely or wholly. i.e.

This book is altogether different from my book.

His personality is altogether changed now.

All together are two words and mean that  ‘all the persons or things


Our relatives were all together with us at the marriage party.



Can & May

Can means one is able to and May means one is allowed to.

I can do this work. Means that I am able to do(or capable of doing) this work.

I cannot go there. = I am not in a position or not able to go there.

I may not see you there. = I am not allowed to see you there.



Formally & Formerly

Formally is derived from formal and it means in a formal way.

Formerly is derivative of former and it means Previously or earlier.

We invited him formally to dinner.

The project was inaugurated formally by the minister.

Formerly he was a teacher in this college.



Former & Latter

Former means one named first or earlier &

Latter means one named afterwards.

John and Smith are two brothers. The former is more intelligent than the latter.



Respectfully & Respectively

Respectfully means with respect.  Respectively means relating to each one in order.

He respectfully stated the matter to the principal.

Green, yellow and red cards were given to John, Smith and Peter respectively.



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