“I go online sometimes, but everyone’s spelling is really bad. It’s depressing.” ““Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I spend a lot of time online. I read lots and lots of articles and stories and blog posts and all sorts of things that aren’t easily categorized, and I keep coming across the same misspellings. It’s odd, because I only seem to come across most of these mistakes online. I never see them in print or in creative writing or term papers. The Internet holds many interesting and enjoyable things to read; I just wish people would avoid these common mistakes. Let’s jump in:
Lose/loose: This is probably the most common spelling screw-up I’ve seen lately. I’m not sure why this one is so pervasive, but it’s everywhere. And the error is always people using “loose” where they mean “lose.” It probably has something to do with the double vowel sound, but it’s inescapable.
So, to simplify: You lose weight. You lose your mind. A screw comes loose. Once you lose weight, your pants are a little loose.
Definitely: Notice the definite lack of the letter “a” anywhere in there. The word “finite” is dropped right in the middle of “definitely.” No “a.” Ever.
Ridiculous: There is no “e” in “ridiculous.” There is no “e” in “ridiculous.” There is no “e” in “ridiculous.” If you type “ridiculous” enough, it starts to look ridiculous.
Dining: I have no idea why so many people want to spell this word “dinning,” but there’s only one “n” in “dining.” “Dinning” would rhyme with “sinning,” which is what you’re doing when you put extra letters into words.
Shiny: Same deal as “dining.” Everyone seems to want to add an extra “n” and make this word “shinny,” which would rhyme with “whinny,” which would just be wrong. (That was to the tune of “Trouble” from The Music Man. I feel it’s important that you know that, mostly because I don’t want to be the only one with that song stuck in my head all day.)
Peak/peek/pique: In fairly basic terms:
Peak: The highest or most important point of something. (The mountain peak; the peak of her athletic career.)
Peek: A quick look or glance. (She took a peek through the curtains.)
Pique: To excite or provoke; almost always used with “interest” or “curiosity.”
Heal: To make better or restore to health.
Heel: The rear part of the foot, or part of a shoe.
Truly: Truly, there is no “e” in truly.
Faze/phase: Oh, this one. This one is everywhere, and it’s a weird one for people to mix up, but they do. If something disconcerts or disturbs you, it fazes you. You remain unfazed by crazy shit happening around you. Save “phase” for talking about child development or Star Trek.
How about you, readers? Are there any common spelling mistakes that drive you nuts?
Previous Grammar Bitch posts: