20 Writing Mishaps To Watch Out For

There are many misunderstood words and phrases that are frequently used out of context.  Although there are a myriad of proofreading tools available, there is no replacement for understanding what we are writing.  In a world full of tweets, statuses, and hashtags it is increasingly important to have a strong written communication skills.  Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

1.  Adding the letter ‘S’

The words afterward, toward, and anyway often acquire an unnecessary ‘S’ on the end.  Afterwards, towards, and anyways are incorrect.

2.  A, E, and I

Words that begin with similar sounding vowels are constantly confused. For example:

  • Affect/Effect
  • Illicit/Elicit
  • Accept/Except
  • Eminent/Imminent
  • Assure/ensure/insure

3.  Too many twos

To, too, and two are often mixed up.  Be sure you are using the correct one.

4.  Your and You’re

Although they sound the same they don’t look the same nor do they have the same meaning. The word your is possessive, you’re means ‘You are’.

5.  Perpetrate and Perpetuate:

To perpetrate is to commit something, perpetuate is to cause something to continue to happen.

6.  Irony:

The meaning of the word ironic is one of the most misunderstood and misused of all words.  Something is ironic when if it is the opposite of what is appropriate, not to be confused with coincidence. 

7.  Its and It’s

Its is the possessive form meaning ‘belonging to it’,  it’s is the shortened form of it is or it has.

8.  Discreet and Discrete

Discreet means ‘circumspect’,  discrete means ‘having separate parts’.

9.  Alternately and Alternatively

Alternately means ‘in turn’,  the word alternatively means ‘on the other hand, in place of, or instead’.

10.  Complement and Compliment

To complement is to add or supplement something, a compliment is an expression of praise.

11. Irregardless

This is not a word.  Irregardless consists of two negatives ‘ir’ and ‘less’.  Use regardless, irrespective, or irrelevant instead.

12.  Could Of

Whoops! You must have meant could have.

13.  Farther and Further

Farther refers to distance, further means more.

14.  Than and Then

Than is for comparisons, Then means it came next.

15. i.e and e.g

I.e means ‘that is’ while e.g means ‘for example’.

16. All of and Both of

All and both are sufficient, drop the ‘of’.

17. Large in size, yellow in color, and circular in shape

Large, yellow, and circular are sufficient.  Adding the ‘in ____’ is redundant.

18.  Different than

This is incorrect. Use different from.  

19.  Comprise and Constitute

These terms are frequently confused.  Comprise means to contain or include, constitute means to compose, form, or establish.

20.  Ultimate

In Latin this word actually means the last in a list of items.  This is arguably the most misused word we see online.  People constantly use this term to denote the best e.g ‘the ultimate guide’.

We insure that this article has been useful in farthering you’re writing skills and that afterwards you no longer perpetrate the misuse of these terms!