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8 More Stupid Spelling Mistakes

May 31, 2009

My brain conjures wiggly red lines under the text. Commas morph into semi-colons and dance before my tired eyes. Run-on sentences taunt me from the safety of already-published prose. They laugh as they join hands with subject-verb disagreements, saunter into a field of misquotes and unpack a picnic of acronyms and medical terminology.

Yes, I’ve been doing too much editing. I come across so many web pages with common spelling mistakes and misused phrases. Most of them – given the sites I frequent – are on writers’ articles, often about writing.

Here, for your personal edification, are some more of those that really set my teeth on edge.

1. Buisness – yes, it’s obviously just a transposition of two letters, but that’s what the wiggly red spell-checker lines are for! FireFox has one built in, IE’s is here.

2. Catergories – how can you spell this wrong? It’s on every single blog post entry screen. Look! Over there! See the box with “Categories” at the top?

3. for awhile now- “awhile” is an adverb and is only really used in poems. “Come, rest awhile” and all that. You have to wear flowery dresses or live in a dingy garret to write like that. Normal people don’t use it.  “A while” is the noun. That’s the one you want.

4. easygoing – ever heard of a hyphen? You know, those little lines that have been around for about five hundred years and join words together? “Easy” and “going” are separate words.

5. my curiosity is peaked – so your curiosity is a physical object that has a pointed top? Eh? You mean “piqued”, I think.

6. everyday and anymore – “uuunnnnnnnnngggggghhhh!” That’s the sound of my love of language haemorrhaging violently. Both of these are adjectives – “an everyday event” – not adverbs. The adverb versions are two words: “I do this every day. I can’t take it any more.”

7. you looser – the oft-voiced retort to Grammar Nazis like myself pointing out spelling mistakes, this one really stands out. Who’s the “loser” now?

8. tollerance – repeatedly wrong in an article on – yes, you guessed it – tolerance for spelling mistakes in job applications! Come on, even the browser spell-checkers spot that one!

And finally, a couple of bonus items to make you laugh.

Firstly, we have a repost of a well-known email poem that points out just how useless a spell-checker is if you don’t apply a bit of common sense.Secondly, we have possibly the best public spelling mistake ever. Yes, it’s real.

So tell me, what are the mistakes that drive you crazy? Which ones do you always make yourself? (Mine is “independent” – for some reason, I want to put an “a” in the place of the last “e”.)


8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2009 12:00 pm

    Tough love. Love it! P. :)

  2. May 31, 2009 1:26 pm

    I love this post from the button of my heart ;) .
    My favourite errors to rant at are “alot”, “awhile” instead of “a while”, “off” instead of “of”, and quite a few more.

    I’m highly prone to “independant” and “existance” myself, and am still not sure whether to use “inquiries” or “enquiries”. Spell check doesn’t seem to like the latter!

  3. June 1, 2009 4:54 am

    ‘Anymore’ is fine:

    One you can add to the pile for me: all be it -> albeit

    There’s another one out there I see sometimes, but can’t recall what it is.

    @suki: awhile is OK –

    The trick to making spelling of these words a bit easier is to change your pronunciation of them. If you pronounce the words phonetically according to spelling, then learning to spell them correctly will become easier.

    What I hate about grammar Nazis is when they go off on someone whose native tongue clearly is not English. Usually they’re easy to make fun of in turn, though, since they haven’t mastered their own language yet.

    I also don’t like the way they assume that just because you don’t follow the standard set it means you lack mastery of it. For, I shall boldly write with my infinitive split if I so choose. It is not a rule that is broken, but rather a style chosen. A lot of grammar Nazis do not understand the difference between style and grammar.

    I like to think of myself as a Nazi’s Nazi. When a Nazi starts going off on someone for grammar or spelling, I make an effort to find theirs. Sometimes it’s easy. ie., Deb’s article slamming certain kinds of applications because of spelling issues ended up having a your/you’re error highlighted in bold. It’s rare I can’t find something erroneous in a grammar or spelling Nazi’s work.


  4. spikethelobster permalink
    June 1, 2009 10:45 am

    “Anymore” is not an adjective. That’s my hate: “I don’t want anymore of this.” Grrr.

    “All be it” – oh, my goodness. I’ve never seen that one. I don’t think I want to!

    I’m with you on the feeling that being a Grammar Nazi does not necessarily mean pointing out matters of style, Steven. I have no problem with someone starting a sentence with “But” or “And” if it’s a stylistic choice, for instance. In fact, it can often have more impact that way – much as it does in spoken language.

    Second-language pickiness is downright nasty in my book. It’s so much better to pop the writer a note and some polite corrections if it’s an important document (such as an online resume) or just to leave it be if they’re writing for fun. Mean does not equal clever.

    Also agree that it’s LOTS of fun spotting the Nazis’ mistakes… mwuhahaha!

  5. June 1, 2009 11:32 am

    You did see ‘all be it.’ One of your post’s comments had that one. I’ve seen it several times from different people. It’s one of those ‘it sounds like’ mistakes. A spell checker won’t pick up on it because it’s a wrong word. I’m not trying to pick on the guy any more than I’m associating intelligence with spelling or grammar.

    One mistake I know that most grammar or spelling Nazis make is regarding wrong word/spelling mistake confusion. So, some guy writes “Your wrong,” which another picks on by saying they spelled it wrong. But they didn’t – they used the wrong word. Sometimes, though, it can be fun to play around with stuff. ie., I met a Texan awhile ago. I don’t know why, but he got upset when I asked him if he was in bread. Or, in real life, I met a guy from Minnesota. So I asked him if it ever got big if they’d call it Biggesota. Then there’s the one from Mississippi that I asked if she’d ever met Mr. Sippi.

    I’m an English teacher. I also happen to be a writer with a degree in English literature and a minor in professional writing. So, this stuff is deeply ingrained. In no way do I consider myself an expert. So, when I run into others harping about those who have a greater challenge than they, it really bothers me. People communicate as best they can. It is better to seek after the meaning of what they’re trying to say and consider that rather than to discard it out of turn on the basis of a few mistakes.


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