Monday, June 18, 2012

Mentor Monday: Common Mistakes

Remember the Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the others?”  Pretend it’s playing in the background as you look at the following three words:

allot                          alot                          a lot

Which one is “not like the others?”  The answer is the one in the middle. The words on the left and the right are spelled correctly.  The one in the middle is not.  For some reason, this error crops up everywhere—in e-mails, resumes, personal notes.   I’m not sure why that is. Someone mentioned to me that the mistake has become so common that it has become accepted.  Ain’t that somethin’?

“The word alot does not exist.” says Grammar Monster.

“Though common in informal communication, alot is not a dictionary-recognized word, and it’s generally considered out of place in formal writing.” says

Want a trick to help you remember which spelling is correct?  A lot is the opposite of “a little.”  No one seems to try and put those two words together.  At least I haven’t seen that one yet.

Another error I have seen many, many times is the misuse of the word “loose” when the writer really means “lose” as in:

 “I’ve got nothing to loose.”

Really? Because your pants are already loose?  Your dog is already running loose?

I get the problem.  Loose rhymes with moose but people think it rhymes with choose.  Maybe thinking of a moose on the loose would help you remember?

What about you?  Got any pet peeve words that jump out at you?


Diane Mayr said...

A few of my favorites:

Alright. Alright is all wrong. (When in doubt remember alwrong is just that, and so is alright!)

Peek. (I've also seen peak.) It peeked his interest--wrong! It piqued his interest.

Ahold. He got ahold of her phone number. There's so much wrong here!

Undoubtably. Is undoubtedly wrong!

Itch. He itched his bug bite? No--he scratched it.

Lessed. Just a bad spelling guess for the word "lest."

Mur said...

We have a list started!

Travel Guides for Women said...

This phrase, used regionally here in NE. No Midwesterner like me would be caught saying, "I slept over her house." Seriously? In a hammock? A helicopter?

This one, too: Every day and everyday. Every day is something that happens every day -- as in all the days, M/T/W/Th/F/S/S. "I wore my everyday clothes every day. On Sundays I dress up."