It’s spreading! Run for your grammatical lives!

It’s spreading! Run for your grammatical lives!

While emoticons and text-speak have their place in the instant messaging world (e.g. LOL b4 u go dont u hve 2 rite ur arcles? 😛), readers don’t warm-up to it in articles.

Good grammar and correct spelling is paramount to your success as a credible author. That’s why we collected the most common spelling mistakes in order to help you maintain your credibility and build confidence in your writing skills.

Let’s get to it: Here are your next 5 spelling blunders you can include in your proofreading checklist to assure your credibility is untarnished!


Payed vs. Paid

It may be argued that payed is acceptable due to its traces to Middle English (between the 11th and the late 15th century). However, if we were speaking Middle English, we’d still be using thou and thy.

The confusion often occurs when you try to form the simple past by adding a d or ed to the root of a regular verb (e.g. collect becomes collected). The word pay is not your everyday verb. Pay is an irregular verb or a verb that doesn’t follow the standard conjugation. Bottomline: Pay becomes paid (past simple and past participle) and not payed.

Example: I paid a visit to my neighbor and then I paid my bills.

Key: Ease irregularity by putting pay in the past – drop the y and add an id to form paid.


Withing vs. Within

If you are scratching your head on this one, welcome to the club. Withing is the act of weaving stems or twigs twisted to form a rope called a withe. However, digging into the issue we discovered for every occurrence of withing, the author intended to use the word within (meaning: inside or indoors).

Example: Inquire within.

Key: Your article writing twin is within.


Reoccurrence vs. Recurrence

The correct word in this instance is recurrence, which means to happen repeatedly or to return. The mix-up lies in occurrence, meaning an incident or something that happens. To make an occurrence happen again and again, we need the prefix re. However, in proper English, we drop the o and the first c before we tack on the re, to form recurrence.

Example: The lack of respect for the apostrophe is a recurrence I cannot bear.

Key: Why enjoy it once? Drop the oc and make it a smashing recurrence!


Doesnt vs. Doesn’t

A contraction is the process of becoming smaller (or when a muscle becomes or is made shorter and tighter). In the English language, a contraction is commonly represented by an apostrophe, i.e. do not becomes don’t and let us becomes let’s.

The correct contraction of the phrase does not is doesn’t. Doesnt isn’t an acceptable word in the English language.

Example: He doesn’t have a pen.

Key: Doesn’t it look good to use an apostrophe!


Definately vs. Definitely

Definately: This blunder is a surefire way to upset the grammar police. The correct word here is definitely, which means without a doubt or clearly and is often used for emphasis.

Let’s break this down: Definitely

  • The      prefix de: down, away, completely, removal, or reversal (e.g.      derail, decrease, defunct, defrost, etc.).
  • Finite: having limits, the opposite of infinite.
  • Finate: not a word.

Example: He will definitely spell correctly in the future!

Key: The ape ate the ite in definitely!

Definitely stop the recurrence of these blunders: within, doesn’t, and paid!

It has been said if you repeat something 7 times, you can commit it to memory. Commit these 5 words to memory by writing them down 7 times (correctly) and say each letter out loud as you write. That’s easy!


Penny, Managing Editor

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