Below are some commonly misspelled or misusage English words (from Purdue’s Online Writing Lab). Some rules are trickier than others, so memorize the ones that come easy and use this page as a reference for the more difficult or subtle usages.
To, Too, Two
- To = preposition, or first part of the infinitive form of a verb: They went to the lake to swim.
- Too = very, also: I was too tired to continue. I was hungry, too.
- Two = the number 2: Two students scored below passing on the exam.
- Accept = verb meaning to receive or to agree: He accepted their praise graciously.
- Except = preposition meaning all but, other than: Everyone went to the game except Alyson.
- Advise = verb that means to recommend, suggest, or counsel: I advise you to be cautious.
- Advice = noun that means an opinion or recommendation about what could or should be done: I’d like to ask for your advice on this matter.
- Conscious= adjective meaning awake, perceiving: Despite a head injury, the patient remained conscious.
- Conscience = noun meaning the sense of obligation to be good: Chris wouldn’t cheat because his conscience wouldn’t let him.
- Lead = noun referring to a dense metallic element: The X-ray technician wore a vest lined with lead.
- Led = past-tense and past-participle form of the verb to lead, meaning to guide or direct: The evidence led the jury to reach a unanimous decision.
- Used in comparison statements: He is richer than I.
- Used in statements of preference: I would rather dance than eat.
- Used to suggest quantities beyond a specified amount: Read more than the first paragraph.
- A time other than now: He was younger then. She will start her new job then.
- Next in time, space, or order: First we must study; then we can play.
- Suggesting a logical conclusion: If you’ve studied hard, then the exam should be no problem.
Their = possessive pronoun: They got their books.Their, There, They’re
- There = that place: My house is over there. (This is a place word, and so it contains the word here.)
- They’re = contraction for “they are”: They’re making dinner.
- Its = possessive adjective (possessive form of the pronoun it): The crab had an unusual growth on its shell.
- It’s = contraction for it is or it has (in a verb phrase): It’s still raining; it’s been raining for three days.
We’re, Where, Were
- We’re = contraction for “we are”: We’re glad to help.
- Where = location: Where are you going? (This is a place word, and so it contains the word here.)
- Were = a past tense form of the verb be: They were walking side by side.
- Your = possessive pronoun: Your shoes are untied.
- You’re = contraction for “you are”: You’re walking around with your shoes untied.
*Pronouns have apostrophes only when two words are being shortened into one. For example: it’s, you’re, we’re, they’re, etc.
- Affect = verb meaning to influence: Will lack of sleep affect your game?
- Effect = noun meaning result or consequence: Will lack of sleep have an effect on your game?
- Effect = verb meaning to bring about, to accomplish: Our efforts have effected a major change in university policy.
*A memory-aid for affect and effect is RAVEN: Remember, Affect is a Verb and Effect is a Noun.
Find the common spelling errors below and correct them from what you learned above:
1I remember their was a time when I was smaller then my brother. 2Back than, we would listen to each other for advise and always except what the other said. 3We we’re so close that he had a great effect on me as a boy; we where each other’s consciousness. 4When he did something less then perfect or to crazy, I always lead him in the right direction. 5I would advice him and he would except my advise. 6The too of us we’re stronger together then apart, and their was nothing that separate us.
7If your reading this, than your probably thinking we where just like any other too brothers, but we where the acception. 8Sometimes I wonder if were ever going to be that happy again because we we’re happier then you could ever imagine. 9If you said you’re childhood was better then mine, I wouldn’t believe it. 10We where so free and this lead too so many adventures. 11If we we’re to afraid or didn’t know were we were, we always new that we had each other two turn too for advise.
Last Updated April 5, 2017