Commonly Misspelled Words & Mangled Phrases
This is a list of words and phrases commonly misspelled or mangled on the Internet. If you have any further suggestions, send me a message.
Correct uses are:
- Have you read the new edition of the magazine?
- The shrub makes a nice addition to the garden.
That these two words get mixed up is highly understandable, as they sound almost the same when spoken and have similar meanings.
- "The new treatment had a positive effect."
- "The new treatment affected him poorly."
- "She affected a Southern drawl."
Stands for "also known as." Don't use "AKA" if what you're writing sounds strange or clunky if you read it out as "also known as."
Should be written a lot.
Should be written all right, at least in formal writing.
"Averse" refers to having a feeling against something. "Adverse" refers to something that is against something, either in principal or in physical location.
- I'm not averse to the idea of green walls.
- The adverse wall was covered in posters.
- Tom's view was adverse to Sarah's proposition.
Should be bated breath.
One spelling refers to an animal or to the action of carrying or enduring something; the other describes a state of being uncovered.
- A bear got into the trashcan last night.
- This takes awhile to explain, so bear with me.
- The sleeveless shirt left her arms bare.
The first is a noun; the latter is a verb. Used correctly:
- "Take a breath, Susie!"
- "Breathe, Susie!"
"Compliment" refers to a positive remark, whereas "complement" refers to something that completes something else.
- She complimented him on the tie he had chosen.
- The pearl necklace complemented her wardrobe.
Could of, would of, should of, etc.
Should be could have, would have, should have, etc. You can also contract them to could've, would've, should've, etc.
The correct spelling is "definitely," with an I, not an A, as the third vowel.
If you think X, you have another thing coming
Thing should be think.
Should be intents and purposes.
Normally, apostrophes belong in possessive forms. Not so with it's and its. Take heed:
- It's going to rain today, isn't it?
- To defeat the sea serpent, aim for its eyes.
Often, the former is used in place of the latter. The correct usage is:
- Did you lose your cellphone?
- Tanya set the cat loose.
Correct uses of these words are:
- The mountain's peak was covered in snow.
- She peeked from between her fingers.
- The folder on the desk piqued his curiosity.
- He kicked the side of the car in a pique of anger.
- How do the wealthy expect the poor to help themselves when they have nothing to help themselves with?
- Pour the water into the glass.
- She drew a straight line on the paper.
- The ship passed through the Bering Strait.
The first is a story. The second is generally found on an animal's butt.
- I enjoy reading fairy tales.
- The cat has a fluffy tail.
- I'd rather have the soup than the salad.
- I planted the tree, then I stopped to have lunch.
Tow the line
Should be toe the line, as the phrase refers to keeping your feet on a line marked on the ground.
"Too" is a synonym for "also" or "overly," whereas "to" is a particle indicating direction or transfer.
- "That's too bad."
- "You have a pink phone case, too?"
- "I gave the muffin to Rebecca."
"There" indicates location. "Their" is possessive. "They're" is a contraction of "they are."
- "I think it's over there."
- "That's their stuff."
- "They're very impressed with your work."
You're is a contraction of you are, whereas your is a possessive word.
- Is that your car?
- You're in so much trouble if you don't fix these spelling errors.
"Wander" has to do with moving around with no particular goal in mind. "Wondering" is about thinking about something in a questioning manner.
- He wandered around the forest.
- She wondered where he went.
You might also be interested in:
A Proper Punctuation Primer
Writing Better Prompts, Starters, & Beginnings: A Few Pointers
Exercises To Improve Your Character Writing & Roleplaying Skills
Common, Yet Terrible Character Descriptors - And How To Fix Them (And Write Better Descriptions In General)
Tips For Describing & Summarizing Your Story & Pitching Your Plot Ideas
General Roleplaying Tips & Advice