Bad spelling bugs me. I realise that on Social Media updates are typed fast so typos will happen or words are shortened to fit. Text speak is taking over the wonderful English language and it’s very sad to see. I’m often typing faster than my brain is engaging so I know how simply mistakes are made but why shorten a word if you don’t have to? I have been an editor for nearly ten years and often seeing poor spelling by content writers. It really doesn’t have to be that way.
I have a dog-eared Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus which lives next to me to check spellings and words when I am proofreading and editing. My mantra to myself is “if you write get it right”. I’d also advise people to use spellcheck before publishing a post just in case, however some words get through a spellcheck because they are an actual word but may not be the one you meant.
When I was in school, many moons ago, we were taught ways to remember the spellings of words that were spelt similarly but had different meanings. I’ve listed a few below plus some of my own inventions to remember a spelling. If you have a good dictionary handy you’ll find a great list of words that are commonly confused at the back.
Lose – as in you’ve lost something. It’s only one “o”. Think of the word “lost” – only one “o”
Loose – as in something you’re wearing is loose. Think of it elongated like “looooose” so more than one “o”
Stationery – as in pens, pencils, paper etc. Think of the “e” for envelope
Stationary – as in standing still. Think of the “a” in standing
Accept – means agree – both start with an “a”
Except – means not including. Think of an “ex” not included any more 🙂
Canvas – is a kind of material
Canvass – is to seek support as in politicians before an election – think politician and the last 3 letters of canvass (sorry)
Complement – means to enhance something – think of “e” for enhance
Compliment – you praise someone – think of “i” for I like
Councillor – a member of a council – think “council” with “or” on the end
Counsellor – someone who gives you guidance for your problems – you probably pay them so they “sell” to you
Desert – a large waterless mass of land. Think “sand” – only one “s”
Dessert – pudding – think double “d” for pudding so double “s” for dessert
Swat – is to hit an insect – think you want to “bat” it so the “at”
Swot – to study hard for an exam – no study means you’ll be spelling what as “wot” 🙂
Quite – as in something is quite small – just one little syllable
Quiet – as in the opposite to loud – imagine your teacher shouting “QUIET” in a class – two long syllables
Affect – this is the verb meaning “make a difference to”
Effect – is the noun meaning “a result”
Effected – also a verb meaning “bring about a result”
(I really have to stop and think about the “Affect, Effect and Effected” every time I use them)
There – as in something is over there. Think of “here” which is the opposite and add a “t”
They’re – as in “they are”. Just replace the “a” with an apostrophe
Your – is the “possessive” meaning belonging to
You’re – as in “you are”. Just replace the “a” with an apostrophe
Too – like “as well as”. Think of it as something extra so therefore an extra “o”
Separate – as in keeping apart. Think of “apart” in the middle of the word and just change the letters around a bit. Basically remembering “a” appears twice
“I” before “E” except after “C” is the general rule. But doesn’t count for “height” or “weight” and probably some others
I apologise if some of these are obvious to you but unfortunately I see them daily. Everyone makes mistakes, yes I admit I do too :), but hopefully this may help some people to remember simple differences. I am sure there are lots more that you can all help me with explaining how to avoid so please let me know.