Posted by: episystechpubs | August 3, 2015

Editor’s Corner: 10 Misspelled Words to Watch Out For

Good morning, readers!

I received the following list of commonly misspelled words and thought it would be a good idea to share them with you since I see these misspellings a lot. A few of these words really are a little tricky.

Some of the world’s brightest minds were not the best spellers, so they relied on editors and colleagues to check their work before publishing. We’re lucky today. We can still rely on editors and colleagues, and we also have spell checking software.

No, the software doesn’t catch everything. (It won’t tell you when you’ve used the wrong word. For instance, it didn’t point out that I used the word “and” rather than “an” in my most recent Editor’s Corner post.) But spell checkers will catch glaring mistakes like the ones below. And for those other typos, we all just have to read and reread our communications before we send them out to make sure that they are error-free.

Here are 10 words you should watch out for. The ten words and the commentary are from Daily Writing Tips:

1. argument
The verb is argue, but the noun is argument.

2. calendar
The register on which you schedule your appointments is spelled calendar. Yes, there is a specialized term spelled calender that refers to paper production, but I doubt that it accounts for millions of uses.

3. cemetery
There are three e’s in cemetery. Nary an a in sight.

4. definite
Think, finite, infinite, infinity. Look at all those i’s. No a’s anywhere in definite.

5. finally
The adjective is final. The adverb is finally. Double that l in finally.

6. forty
One less than five is spelled four. One more than thirty-nine is spelled forty.

7. its (possessive adjective)
The problem with this habitual misspelling is that both its and it’s are English spellings. It’s is a contraction of the words “It is.” Its is a possessive adjective, like his. The best advice is to spell out “it is” when that is your meaning. You cannot rely on grammar/spell checkers to catch this one. Indeed, Word often advises me to write “it’s” when the context calls for its.

8. separate
Take the word by syllables: sep-a-rate. Yes, we pronounce it [sep-uh-ret], but we spell it sep-a-rate. Look for “a rat” in sep.a.rat.e.

9. tragedy
The g in tragedy is soft. The e makes the g soft. No extra d, please.

10. truly
The adjective is true. The adverb is truly.

“One piece of wisdom a writer quickly learns—typos keep you humble.” ~E.A. Buchianeri

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

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