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10 Common Spelling Mistakes That Haunt Bloggers

Whether you like it or not, people will judge your blog by the quality of your writing. The first thing you should do is to avoid the most common spelling mistakes, as they can turn off first-time visitors to your site. Below you’ll find 10 such mistakes to get you started.

1. accept / except

INCORRECT: Please except this gift.
CORRECT: Please accept this gift.

Except, as a verb, means to exclude or leave out. As a preposition it means “with the exception of.” Accept means “to receive willingly.” For example: We visited every landmark except the Eiffel Tower. The school is accepting only those students who have had their shots; all others are excepted.

2. advice / advise

INCORRECT: He refused to take my advise.
CORRECT: He refused to take my advice.

Advise is a verb. The s has the sound of “z.” Advice is a noun. The c has the sound of “s.”

3. all right / alright

INCORRECT: He’s alright after his fall.
CORRECT: He’s all right after his fall.

Although arguments are advanced for the acceptance of the spelling, alright is still widely regarded as nonstandard. Careful writers avoid it.

4. effect / affect

INCORRECT: His death really effected me.
CORRECT: His death really affected me.

The most common use of effect is as a noun meaning “something produced by a cause.” The most common use of affect is as a transitive verb meaning “to act upon.” For example: The disease had a lasting effect on the child. The family’s lack of money affected his plans.

5. every day / everyday

INCORRECT: Dan walks the dog everyday at six p.m.
CORRECT: Dan walks the dog every day at six p.m.

Everyday is an adjective that means “daily.” Every day is a phrase that combines the adjective every with the noun day. For example: Walking the dog is an everyday occurrence. I practice the flute every day.

6. its / it’s

INCORRECT: Put the saw back in it’s place.
CORRECT: Put the saw back in its place.

It’s is a contraction that represents two words: it is. Its is a one-word third-person singular possessive adjective, like his. For example: The man lost his hat. The dog wagged its tail.

7. passed / past

INCORRECT: The car past the train.
CORRECT: The car passed the train.

Past is used as an adverb of place, or as a preposition. Passed is the past tense of the verb to pass. For example: The past few days have been hectic. The deadline has passed. He passed her the biscuits. The boys ran past the gate. As we stood in the doorway, the cat ran past.

8. quiet / quite

INCORRECT: We spent a quite evening reading.
CORRECT: We spent a quiet evening reading.

Quiet is an adjective meaning “marked by little or no activity.” Quite is an adverb meaning “to a considerable extent.” For example: The children are quite amiable today. Quiet can also be used as a noun. For example: We enjoyed the quiet by the lake. (The suffix “ness” should never be added to the abstract nouns quiet and calm.)

9. then / than

INCORRECT: I have more eggs then you.
CORRECT: I have more eggs than you.

Then is an adverb that indicates time. It can go anywhere in a sentence. For example: The man paused by the door and then entered. Then the noise started. As conjunction or preposition, than will always be followed by a noun or a pronoun. For example: I like Melville better than Hawthorne.

10. who’s / whose

INCORRECT: I don’t know who’s dog you’re talking about.
CORRECT: I don’t know whose dog you’re talking about.

Who’s is the contracted form of “who is.” Whose is the possessive adjective form of who. For example: Who’s your daddy? Whose car are we going in?

Maeve Maddox holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Arkansas, and she is the editor of DailyWritingTips.com. The mistakes mentioned in this post come from her latest book, 100 Writing Mistakes to Avoid.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Rob Cubbon says:

    Advice with a C is a noun. Advise with an S is a verb. And they sound different. But it gives me an easy way of remembering: A solicitor’s practice (C noun) and I practise guitar (S verb).

  2. Duke Dillard says:

    I agree with other commenters that lose/loose is a huge one as well. The irony for bloggers on these is that if they are common mistakes, then most people make them, and, therefore, they are probably the ones that are okay to misspell as most people won’t know that you misspelled them!

  3. John Blog says:

    So true ! Good Article !!,

  4. Rob,

    In U.S. English, both practices are spelled with a C.

  5. Christy Fix says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Of course, you get the US-UK variations. I’m working on a website for a Canadian living in Ecuador and am never sure what forms to use. She hasn’t had a problem with my spelling so far…

    I re-Tweeted this and posted it to Facebook.

    Have you done a punctuation post? *evil chuckle*

  6. Dave Higgs says:

    Spelling is important. Take the word SPELL.

    Spel or Spell? It makes an ‘l of a difference.

    D

  7. Daily SEO says:

    Good post,

    It is amazing looking through blogs at how many have silly spelling mistakes or incorrect grammar in the sentence.

    Luckily search engines such as Google and Bing are a little more forgiving.

  8. axel g says:

    Great post!

    When you write something fast, it happens that you write the wrong words which can be hard to spot.

    It’s good practice to let a friend proofread your posts.

    I find it quite surprising though, that even online newspapers sometimes don’t even spell check their articles.

  9. norman says:

    Why 10? Why not 7 or 12? Did you remove 2 good points in order to get up to 10? Or did you add 3 extraneous ones to get down to 10. I am always suspicious of lists of 10. Just because we have 10 fingers or toes does not mean the universe is a decimal system.

  10. Hazel says:

    I have noticed that an American will point out that I have spelt something wrong when in fact I have spelt it correctly. The reason being is that there is a lot of difference in spelling between American English and British English. This is more noticeable if you use the spell checker on word, google, yahoo. They will automatically have, for example, travelling as in correct. You ask why? The answer is simple it is because in America it is spelt with one L whereas British English it is with two Ls.

    Here are a few more examples:
    color / colour
    recognize / recognise.
    licence / license

    Some of the errors pointed out in the blog are basic elementary errors and as someone pointed out – there mother tongue is not English. However, other words like advice and advise can be typed incorrectly or they may not know the difference.

    Try teaching English to a student who is not good at spelling in their own language, that is hard. They have to have every word spelt correctly in English but if they have problems with their own language then it is very hard for that student. I argue with my boss about this as he doesn’t seem to get the idea that people can have difficulty with spelling. It wasn’t until I pointed out that my mother and my boyfriend are not very good spellers that he listened.

    The thing that does rile me is that when people write blogs is that they use a lot of text abbreviation and the fact, for example, I am is wrote i am. They never put the i in capital. It is a subject pronoun and should always be a capital.

    OK, I am getting of my soap box now :)

  11. Lisa~ says:

    It’s already been said here, but your/you’re is the one that really gets under my skin.

    On another note, how bad is it that I’ve been hung on Day 6 of 31DBBB for over a week? Days 5 & 6 have been overwhelming. I can’t decide, do I move on or keep plugging through these fabulous articles? Lisa~

    • Darren Rowse says:

      Lisa – if you’re stuck I’d move onto one of the others and come back to those days that you’re stuck on. You can really do it in any order you like.

  12. While some may find this post elementary, the fact that we see these mistakes over and over indicates that it’s needed. Sometimes I think it’s caused by haste in posting, but too often I don’t think people know the right use. My current pet peeve is the lose/loose error.

  13. Gjivan says:

    Due to these kinds of post, people love problogger. While posting contents, these are the simple grammatical errors which most of us are making. If we focus or concentrate a bit and recheck out posts once in MS word, we can get most idea of errors

  14. Let us not forget the great there/their epidemic…and to/too. These bother me beyond all comprehension!

  15. Melissa says:

    I see people doing “your” instead of “you’re” a lot too.

    incorrect: Your at the store.
    correct: You’re at the store. (As in “you are”)

    Correct: Your hat is on the counter.

  16. Bradley says:

    The “then/than” errors drives me crazy. Not sure why? Most grammatical errors I can overlook.

  17. snooches says:

    what about worse and worst?

  18. Great list! Correct grammar says a great deal about how impressions are made in one’s business!

    Then/than is certainly rather annoying.

    One that drives me crazy is loose/lose.

    Thanks again for the read.

  19. Mia says:

    Thank you for this article. It’s basic, yet so important.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go back and read through my posts. :-D

  20. Thanks for the post,

    I see those mistakes all the time and the drive me nuts.

    What makes me even crazier is when I do them myself, which I do far more frequently than I would like to admit.

    Steve

  21. Andrea Lague says:

    As an English teacher this cracks me up. I was correcting these mistakes all the time. And now when I see them as a blogger I have to laugh!

  22. Seriously? Most of these are 3rd grade level at best. Very concerning. I’m starting to think Idiocracy, the movie, is our reality.

  23. Jim says:

    Having been raised by a mother who was a high school English teacher, my every grammatical and syntactical error was corrected instantly. It is from that perspective that I take issue with your explanation of the use of its/it’s.

    You state the following:

    “Its is a one-word third-person singular possessive adjective, like his.”

    You are mistaken in calling the word it an adjective. The work it is a reflexive pronoun, referring, in your example, to a place (for a saw). Pronouns, like nouns, may be possessive, and when they are, their possessive form is marked by an apostrophe; e.g., Darren’s saw. As another example, you might use a phrase such as “the dog’s leash,” or you might omit dog and substitute a pronoun for dog and use the phrase “it’s leash.”

  24. Jez says:

    Thanks for it’s / its

    +1 on the lose /loose – the most frequent offenders in my opinion…

  25. Andreas says:

    I long for the days when a writer knew how to write. Now anyone with a computer and internet access is a writer.

    Sorry, I mean blogger.

  26. I always confuse with then/than. While I am writing it many a times slip my mind which one to use.

    Its good that I proof read before publishing.

  27. Andreas: If you think there was EVER a day when all good writers were also good spellers, or good writing was reliably the stuff that had no grammatical mistakes, or there was no bad writing out there that was impeccably spelled, with flawless grammar and usage, then you haven’t been around very long.

    Some of the best writers (and bloggers) I know are shitty spellers. The smartest of them have someone who’s not (like, hey, me — a professional copy editor) look at their work before it goes out into the world.

  28. Hotdogman says:

    As an English teacher and tutor, I am pleased to see this post! It reads like my list of pet peeves I give to my students. I agree with previous comments that the LOSE/LOOSE confusion should be on the list; when people screw those two words up I start to loose my mind! ;o)

  29. Sonam says:

    I think Jim (2010-07-27) must have been joking. There are more typos and grammatical errors in that post than in all the others. Maybe his mother should have proof read it. Perhaps Jim was being too subtle for me. :-)

    Having said that, I agree that the word “its” is a pronoun and never an adjective. Even the best of us screw up from time to time.

  30. I’ve been researching a lot of websites lately, solely as a means to gain inspiration for concept and design ideas for my new project. Sadly, this research has left me with the same conclusions, as websites and blogs boom – standards in both spelling and grammar, and even the very purpose of the article – continue to slide to new depths of incomprehension.

    Sigh…

    I refuse to join the “down” crowd, I try my best to write with intelligence, and if folks don’t get it… well they are welcome to move onto the next site.

  31. Kay says:

    These are words that frequently cause me to pause and think. I’ve printed the list to keep by my writing chair. Thanks for making my life a little easier.

  32. I agree with everyone mentioning Lose / Loose. That’s the most annoying mistake I see all over the internet. Also, Your / You’re is annoying. If I see those mistakes very often on a site, I’m likely to not return. They are like a speed bump while reading.

  33. turisuna says:

    Yes I made some of those mistakes. Since I’m not a native English speaker, I need a help of spelling checker and also grammar checker tools lol. Well it makes frustrated sometimes, but in the same time it’s also fun :)

  34. John Walker says:

    Been/Being is another one that springs to mind,

    I have been away
    you are being unreasonable

    Thanks for the share :-)

  35. Kelly says:

    Your/You’re. I see this one so often it hurts.

  36. make money says:

    Great advice, I am beginning out & I’m part of the BlogFrog/SITS group finishing the 31DBBB – every time I look at my weblog I see some kind of spelling mistake or type, this is something I need to work on. Great to have a refresher on a quantity of the more common mistakes. Thank you.

  37. make money says:

    Great post! How fun to find you over here lol It’s like this: I’ve been reading Problogger for at least a year or more (though I’ve seldom commented) and then I’ve been meeting so plenty of other bloggers, including you, and then all of a sudden I see you here, which is like a different world that I visit from time to time….well it’s hard to describe but it’s icy how the blogosphere works :)
    Definitely agree with you on serving the reader–what other point is there? If my posts aren’t useful then I don’t see the point in writing. Also agree on kindness and professionalism–I’ve see a lack thereof here and there and I’m immediately turned off. I wouldn’t socialize with gossipers or mean-spirited folks in my off-line life and don’t care to do it here, either.

  38. Jim says:

    Travelling/traveling ….
    Color/Colour
    Tomato/Tomatoe.
    Meter/Metre
    All correct.Just depends whether you’re using English UK or English US.

  39. Jim says:

    Drop that tomatoe from the list!LOL

  40. Frank Adams says:

    A lot of bloggers do make spelling mistakes on their post most because of absence of checking their work. They tend to do the typing on the site itself and not on word in which there is a spell check while you type the words. Good words to ponder and hopefully these mistakes can be avoided.

  41. Dan the man says:

    accept and except were always my main problems Ill have to avoid them in my blog post anyway… great post man

  42. marie says:

    You missed “lose” and “loose.” Many of my students use “loose” for “lose.” I’m not sure where that came from.

  43. emma says:

    Great post – but I think THEIR and THERE and THEY’RE should definitely be in the top 10… it gets my goat to see so many people using there for their.

    Agree with others about lose and loose – I have to think about that one each time!

    Also there is a lack of understanding of the use of THEM and THOSE. I hear it a lot in everyday speach, especially by colloquial English speakers and it grates!

    Oh and finally, those who forget to change the Y into an I when adding a suffix like -ness: lazyness = laziness, crazy = craziness.

    English is one of the harder languages because of it’s myriad rules, so the mistakes on sees are quite understandable, but not insurmountable.

    Thanks again for a great post.

    Have fun x

  44. eileen says:

    Dude, these aren’t spelling mistakes, they’re usage mistakes. That said, I AGREE COMPLETELY. Grammar nerds FTW.

  45. Simply wonderful Darren…no doubt, these are common mistakes done by many people…though every one of us knows these mistakes but never thought of using in our blog posts…

  46. I remember social bookmarking a post of mine, and it was misspelled. For some reason, I could not edit and save. I felt so bad, I closed that account down and opened a new one. I have to have misspelled words anywhere

  47. As a non-native speaker of the English language, sometimes I’m amazed by the type and level of mistakes made on the blogosphere. However, it’s always great to read such posts that are good reminders for us not to solely depend on the spell checking applications.

    Rahman Mehraby
    Site Booster Blog

  48. Hi, thank you for a good post. I am from sweden and sometimes I do miss spell my writing. Great help. /Anette

  49. Bought and brought. This one started in lazy speech and has migrated into text because people no longer know the difference and ‘spellchecker’ software does not pick up the mistake.
    If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a soldier.

  50. David Dyson says:

    “Its/It’s” is the one that I always get confused. This is the problem with English – it’s a funny language.