8 Spelling Mistakes Even Smart People Make

By Desktop Diva via DivineCaroline

English is a screwy language. There’s just no logic to it. Why is daughter pronounced daw-ter, but laughter not law-ter? How can though, through, and tough look so similar and yet sound so different? Why does I come before E except after C? What’s so effing SPECIAL about C?

This is the reason that people who speak more sensible languages approach English with stumbling trepidation. English is insane. It has the capacity to confuse even the smartest of its native speakers—including scientists, engineers, and company presidents—especially when it has to be put down on paper.

This I know from experience. As a copywriter, a large part of my job is to translate pages upon pages of “writing written by non-writers” into copy that is short, persuasive, easy-to-read, and yes—perfectly spelt and grammatically (or at least colloquially) correct.

Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen.

For the most part, each person is unique in terms of writing disability (myself included). But there are some crimes of confusion—particularly when it comes to spelling—that I come across on an almost daily basis. And like overstaying guests, they’ve begun to grate on my nerves, becoming more and more unforgivable with each unwelcome appearance. Such as:

1. YOU’RE and YOUR
If you have no idea when to use which … well, you’re not on your own. This is perhaps the most common mistake of all. Heaven knows why. The distinction is really quite simple:

• You’re is used to substitute the words you are.
• Your is a word you use when referring to something that belongs to the person you’re speaking to. “Your purse,” “your coat,” and so on—and not “Your late!” or “Your wrong!”
2. IT’S and ITS
Close cousins of you’re and your, it’s and its suffer about the same amount of misuse.

• It’s (with an apostrophe) replaces It is or It has. (It’s easy to remember!)
• Its (with no apostrophe) refers to something that belongs to “it.” (Its meaning is clear!)  


Ah, the triple treat … or terror, as the case may be:

• They’re is short for They are.
• Their refers to something that belongs to “them.”
• And there is simply “not here.” 

“They’re going to their house, which is over there.”

4. TO and TOO
When you mean overly, please remember to add the extra O—or face the consequences. I once received a heated text message that was meant to make me angry: “TO BAD!” it shouted in loud, aggressive capitals. I ended up in uncontrollable giggles instead. Too bad indeed.

This one really drives me batty. And when I lose my mind, I often let loose a string of expletives. When what you want to say is the opposite of find, then lose the extra O. Loose (with two o’s) is the opposite of tight.

Like I said, these little confusions are pretty common. They don’t actually bother me half as much as the non-words I often find littering notes, emails … even official business memos. Words like:
Hundreds of people use this word (often with passion!), both in speech and writing, every day—but the truth is, it doesn’t exist! The real word is regardless.

Anyone who insists this is a word is spouting ALOT of baloney. If you’ve ever written this non-word, what you probably meant was either a lot (meaning “many”) or allot (to ration or allocate).

Boy, would I love to get a hold (two words, not one) of the person who decided to just forget the space and make up “ahold new word.”

Guilty? Don’t sweat it. Its nothing to loose sleep over. Your not to bad. Their are alot of people in the same boat, irregardless of what you may think. Just get ahold of you’reself, take a few mental notes, and move on from here.



Robinscotts R.
Robinscotts R.4 years ago

Even if you’re writing your own bio, take a page out of the proofreading guide.

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

For me, it's the to and too. Also, punctuation! Thank god for spell check and Ginger software.

Val M.
Val M5 years ago


Miss RJ
Past Member 5 years ago

English is my third language and I don't make any of those mistakes. Does that mean I'm a genius? LOL But seriously, if "smart" people make such mistakes, then they're not smart.

Jeremy Schanche
Jeremy Schanche5 years ago

The writer of this article can not even distinguish between spelling mistakes and mistakes in punctuation, such as how to correctly place apostrophes. Talk about the blind leading the blind!

galina Medyanova
galina Med5 years ago

English is my second language and one of many reasons of its being international is its simplicity compared to other languages. I've heard a lot about awful spelling of native speakers.
Indeed, the spelling is very specific but not illogical if you know the history of the English language.
There're lots of reading and spelling rules which help you read and write correctly and easily.
Besides,in order to master the
English spelling there must be connection between the sound and the letter in the mind what isn't taught to native speakers.
There are different
approaches to teaching reading and writing in English. English learners and native speakers are taught in a different way.
Then, every language logical like life itself and both follow the same laws.

Kathy G.
Kathy G5 years ago

good points

Zuzana K.
Past Member 5 years ago

I guess that is the benefit of having a European language first, these mistakes do not occur to me as I see the words as very separate since I learned their definitions.

To me the harder thing in English is inconsistency of spelling (ghoti = fish).

Kim Janik
Kim Janik5 years ago

Great posting.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen5 years ago

Thank you :)