Common writer mistakes #4

#4 — Common misused words

We type a word. It’s spelled correctly. Microsoft Word isn’t flagging it either. It sounds right too! But I love that Disney fairy tail doesn’t quite look right.

It can get more complicated than that.

There are long lists of words we think we know, but we don’t. Or we have a brain fart. We write them down only to realize they were wrong later. It’s something everyone struggles with. But how do we fix them?

One way I found is to have a list and go over them one by one while you’re editing. Take a day to search for every usage of those commonly misused words. Also, the more you work with them, the more you’re able to tell the difference.

Besides studying the misused words or having a list of them, I’m not sure how else to find them.

They are so sneaky that even hearing yourself say them out loud wouldn’t help. Most of them sound right!

What are some of those commonly misused words? Here’s a list of some:

  • Affect vs Effect
  • Allusion vs Illusion
  • Complement vs Compliment
  • Et cetera vs Ex cetera
  • Farther vs Further
  • For all intents and purposes vs For all intensive purposes
  • Lie vs Lay
  • Peal vs Peel
  • Principal vs Principle
  • Supposedly vs Supposably
  • Weak vs Week
  • You and Me vs You and I

For me, I find the ones I struggle with first. Like I know principal vs principle well, but sometimes I still mess up affect vs effect. So, I focus on the latter to improve my grammar.

I hope this helps!

#1 — Using multiple adjectives
#2 Vagueness for tension
#3 Repeating words for emphasis


#12 — Not using plain language
#13 — Dialogue tags vs action tags
#14 — Misusing commas

14 thoughts on “Common writer mistakes #4

  1. I know what you mean. In my own case, if I am dictating because I am blind, it might decide to write “tale” instead of “tail.” And of course if you are blind you are unable to see that it has done it wrong. There is not always anyone else around to check it for you. Sadly, my own typing is a mess sometimes, because ofbthis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it happens to everyone. I can’t remember the exact word, but I did the same thing the other day. You’re not alone.

      That’s also why I think editors can be helpful, because they can catch that stuff, at least for the bigger pieces. But I know editors can get expensive after a while too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree RobinLeeAnn. I wouldn’t bother with editors though as I am not having anything orifessionally published. But it does affect my blog, which is often a mess lol. People have taken me up on it sometimes, but I don’t worry too much as there is not much I can do about it! I think it would be a great idea if you complied a list.

        Liked by 1 person

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