How often do you question your ability to spell? And do you question if you got it right, but then not bother to check?
There are some common mistakes that people tend to make when spelling, and we’ve decided to clarify a few of them here.
To vs Too vs Two – To is often used in conjunction with a verb or as a preposition, e.g. I was going to be late.
Too means to be in addition, e.g. I ate too much?
Two is the written form of the number 2, e.g. I need two ice creams.
Lose vs Loose – Lose is when something you have is gone e.g. it was sad to lose my job.
Loose is something that has a lot of room around it, e.g. my pants are very loose since I lost all that weight.
Weird vs Wierd – It is weird to spell weird, weirdly. The reason for this is that most people apply the widely-known rule of ‘i before e except after c’. Weird is one of the exceptions to this rule, but it’s still a common mistake.
Chose vs Choose – Choose is the present tense of the verb ‘to choose’, e.g. you often hear children asking each other “which lollies will you choose?”
Chose is the past tense of ‘to choose’, e.g. he chose to stay behind and look for his dog because it had gone missing.
Seize vs Sieze vs Cease – Seize means to take or grab e.g. they went to seize his passport when he got caught smuggling drugs. This is another exception to the ‘i before e except after c’ rule.
Cease means to halt or stop something, e.g. they were going to cease operations when the summer was over.
Effect vs Affect – The general rule is that effect is a noun, e.g. the effect was mesmerising.
Affect is a verb, e.g. his absence was affecting everyone’s ability to finish the project on time.
Definitely not Definately – There is definitely no “a” in definitely.
Weather vs Whether – One describes the weather outside when it is raining, sunny, stormy or hailing etc.
The other whether is used to describe a decision or comparison, e.g. I wasn’t sure whether to have salmon or beef for dinner.
Then vs Than – Then is used when writing about time, e.g. we went to the shops and then out for lunch.
Than is used to compare objects, e.g. his car had better fuel consumption than mine.
Moot vs Mute – This is a common mistake that makes people cringe when they hear or read it. The saying is “it’s a moot point”, not “it’s a mute point.
A moot point is up for debate or discussion because there is something unclear about the impact of it.
A mute point would technically be no point at all because mute means to turn off, refrain from speaking or muffle sound, or someone who is unable to speak.
Rein vs Reign vs Rain – As a noun, a rein is the strap that is attached to a horse’s bit. E.g. the rein on the horse still had to be tightened. As a verb, rein means to guide a horse by pulling the reins, e.g. he reined in his horse.
To reign is to hold office or rule as a monarch, e.g. the king held reign over England.
Rain is what falls from the sky, e.g. I can see the rain falling from the clouds.
Three examples in spelling that indicate contraction and possession:
Their, They’re and There – They’re is a contraction of ‘they are’, e.g. they’re late again. Their shows possession, e.g. I have their best interest at heart.
There is used when referring to a destination or an idea, e.g. I am going over there to buy a coffee.
It’s vs Its – The two rules here are that when you contract the words ‘it is’ you use it’s, e.g. it’s a pain to drive you home from work every night.
When you indicate possession you use its, e.g. its body was long, white, and powerful.
The reason this is confusing is because usually to indicate possession an apostrophe is used, e.g. the dog’s bone.
You’re vs Your – The two rules here again show contraction or possession.
You’re is used to shorten ‘you are’, e.g. You’re terrible.
The second example of your is the possession, e.g. your dog ate my dinner.