Spelling and Grammar 101

Let’s face it. Bad spelling and grammar make you look unintelligent.

It’s one thing to spell a word wrong occasionally. After all, everyone makes mistakes. It is another thing entirely to repeatedly make the same ridiculous mistakes over and over. It’s actually almost impossible to do unless you really don’t care. Take Facebook statuses, for example. If you spell the word incorrectly, it underlines it in red. The same goes for blog posts, blog comments, e-mails, etc. Basically, you have to really not care about your spelling to repeatedly get it wrong.

And it annoys people! Maybe just people like me; but still, it annoys some people.

Common Spelling Errors:

Here are a few cringe-worthy examples I have seen recently and repeatedly:

1. rediculous

(correct: ridiculous) Sometimes when this word is emphasized, we say ‘that’s reeediculous’. But if you just say it in a normal sentence, you’ll most likely find yourself saying [rih-dik-yuh-luhs]. An easier way to get this one right, may be to remember the root word, ridicule, since it has a very obvious short ‘i’ sound.

2. grammer

(correct: grammar) This one is hard because you say it like ‘grammer’. There’s probably no easy way to remember it, other than simply practicing.

3. frusterating

(correct: frustrating) This one is easy. Just say the word and you’ll notice there is no fourth syllable. [fruhs-trayt-ing]

4. definately

(correct: definitely) Since it’s difficult to predict spelling patterns in the English language, sometimes we over-think and complicate things for ourselves! This is one of those sound-it-out situations that you can get right. [deff-uh-nit-lee]

5. seperated

(correct: separated) It doesn’t really help to sound this one out, because you could convince yourself either way (a or e). I guess it’s just a memory thing for this one!


Now this isn’t necessarily a “LEARN HOW TO SPELL” post, because even the best spellers sometimes have to stop and think of how to spell a certain word correctly. Instead, it’s a “DON’T BE SO LAZY” post, because all of the means are there to help you spell words properly!

Common Grammar Errors:

Worse than bad spelling, though, is bad grammar. Here are three common errors and tips for remembering which word to use in which situation.

1. Then/Than

Then is used for indicating some passage of time.

Example 1: I will wash the dishes, then take out the garbage.

Example 2: The cat ran to the back fence, then hid behind shed.

Than is used to compare things.

Example 1: I would rather go shopping than weed the gardens.

Example 2: Grapes are smaller than oranges.


2. Lose/Loose

Lose means something has been lost.

Example 1: Did you lose your coat? I saw one hanging over the porch railing.

Example 2: Dave always loses his keys in his messy room.

Think of “You snooze, you lose” to remember which word to use.

Loose, as a verb, means to loosen or untie; as an adjective, it means not tightened or tied up.

Example 1: His tie was loose around his neck.

Example 2: The dog broke loose and ran down the road.


3. Could of/could have

Could of is not proper grammar and should never be used.

Could have should be used in any situation you would be tempted to use “could of” 🙂

I could of gotten an A if I tried a little harder. (incorrect)

I could have gone to the store, but I decided to stay home. (correct)

This also applies to should of/have, would of/have, might of/have etc.


And yes, this list could go on. Perhaps it will, another day. Now feel free to search this post to find out if I, in my criticisms, made any of my own spelling or grammar errors!



3 thoughts on “Spelling and Grammar 101

  1. Mike D September 4, 2012 / 1:15 pm

    Well put! I Agree. The one that surprised me was “grammar” : )

    All the bad spellers of the world… UNTIE!!!!

  2. Irene September 4, 2012 / 2:47 pm

    That’s also a pet peeve of mine. I was taught to remember how to spell ‘separate’ by remembering that there is the words “a rat” in it. Not that a rat has anything to do with the word separate, but I’ve always remembered since!

    • Andrea September 4, 2012 / 3:57 pm

      Irene, I teach my students the same thing about a rat. I explain it along the lines of: “You would want to be separated from a rat, wouldn’t you?”

      Although spelling and grammar errors bug me on blogs and Facebook, they really bother me in professional literature or advertising!

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