BlueAnteater.com - Editing: Avoid These 5 Word Mistakes, Part 3

Editing: Avoid These 5 Word Mistakes, Part 3

Subtitle: The Return of the Spell Error

Last month, I talked about word mistakes that you may come across while editing. Unlike “tge” and “abd” (or “the” and “and”), they aren’t so much spelled incorrectly, but actually being entirely wrong. Both the word that was used and the word that was meant are real, actual words, but mean very different things. Sometimes it’s the fault of autocorrect, a finger slip, or simple lack of knowledge. Remember, you can’t always rely on spell-check to catch everything.

Here are five more examples of good words gone bad.

#1 – “Please give my complements to the chef.”

You’ll have noticed that most of these word mistakes are homophones, words that sound alike, but have different meanings – and spellings. Audibly, this sentence  makes sense, but written, it doesn’t at all. To complement something is to enhance or complete it in some way, like a waiter offering you a certain type of wine to complement your steak. A compliment on the other hand, is a favorable remark, a type of praise.

#2 – “He supposably went to the store.”

Whenever I see this, I imagine one of those game show buzzers that go “ENNNNK” when the contestant get the answer wrong. This is less of a mistake and more of an outright error. Well, supposedly, anyway.

#3 – “Irregardless, I think the zombies are winning.”

I was rather surprised to see that Spell Check didn’t pick this one up, but after some research, I see that it has been added to most dictionaries. Regardless, most people feel it isn’t a proper word, very much slang as “ain’t” is. In formal writing especially, you should fix this.

#4 – “She should of left the bear trap at home.”

Another victim of the auditory-to-print transition. When we talk, we tend to do so very quickly, running our words together in nice, flowing speech. Trying to do the same while writing doesn’t quite work the same. In this case, there is a misinterpretation of a contraction – “should’ve” – resulting in the forced use of an unwilling preposition. The same applies for “could” and “would”.

#5 – “Please be quite, you’re in a library.”

This one is fairly straightforward, and usually just a slip of the fingers. Just keep quiet about it, and no one will ever know.

Have you written or proofed any other common (or just downright odd) word mistakes?Share in the comments below!

Header image via SomeCards.com.

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