Misspelled Words You Didn’t Know You Were Mispelling

See what I did there?

No matter your position in a company, simple misspellings can make you look silly. Through writing, you’re essentially saying, “Yeah, this is who I am and what my company is all about.” You’re displaying the face of your company through your tone and word choice. Get the upper hand and familiarize yourself with the following commonly misspelled and misused words to prevent future spelling snafus.

  1. You’re & Your. Yes, these are homophones, so technically these are misused rather than misspelled (we hope). But, can you say nails on a chalkboard? “You’re” is a contraction — remove the apostrophe and you have “you are.” If you ever question your use of either, try that trick. Take a moment to ensure correct usage of these two. Cue my next point.

  2. To, Too, & Two. If you’re too attached to the notion of spell check, take two minutes to self-edit. To: preposition, showing direction; Too: also, in addition to, excessively; Two: the number 2 spelled out. Please use them correctly.

  3. Definitely & Defiantly. I have found these two to be the most deceiving spell-check corrections. They have a completely different meaning. Email your boss that you will defiantly be attending the meeting, and you may not be invited to future ones.

  4. Acknowledge. To acknowledge is to accept or admit the existence or truth of something. So, go ahead and acknowledge that sometimes, misspellings happen. A trick here: spell knowledge, and add “ac.”

  5. Privilege. There is no “d,” nor are there three “e’s.”

  6. Affect/Effect. Another set of homophones. The difference here is that affect is always a verb, while effect is almost always noun (but can also be a verb — hah!). See here: If your willingness to buy over-the-counter medicine is affected by the pages-long list of side effects, consider concocting your own at-home remedy with herbs, coffee grounds, and tree bark. Unless, of course, you’re effecting some kind of phantom illness.

  7. There, They’re, & Their. Yet another unkind gang of homophones. Again we have a contraction (they’re = they are), a direction (there), and a possessive pronoun (their).

  8. Receive. The old adage “i before e, except after c” rings true here, but is not always applicable. Weird.

  9. Perseverance. A common misspelling of this one is “perserverence” or “persaverence.”

  10. Guarantee. There is a “u” after the “g.” Those sneaky, selfish vowels.

If you already know how to use and spell all of these correctly, Congratulations! Consider yourself smarter than the average bear. You have successfully maneuvered the bothersome and bewildering potholes of the English language. Put your and your company’s best face forward and make a conscious effort to give your writing another one-over — it never hurts. Happy trails!

P.s. After writing that last sentence, spell check so kindly suggested, with a pretentious little green line, changing “your” to “you’re.” I rest my case.