Thursday, November 08, 2007

Common spelling mistakes

Do you have a cheat sheet of spelling mistakes you commonly make? You should. Sometimes the mere act of writing the words down prevents the problem from occurring. Or it can serve as a reference point, especially during bouts of editing.

Here's my list:
  • allusion (indirect reference) vs. illusion (a distortion of sensory perception)
  • compliment (a praising or flattering remark, or to give such a remark) vs. complement (something that completes something else, or to complete)
  • complimentary (praising or flattering, or given for free) vs. complementary (of things that together complete a whole)
  • convince (to influence by logic, proof or reason) vs. persuade (to appeal to another's emotions, feelings, etc.)
  • discreet (tactful or diplomatic) vs. discrete (separate or distinct)
  • effect (ramification, sound effect, or to cause or to bring about or effect change) vs. affect (have an effect on, pretentiously display emotion) — it helps to remember that affect is used most commonly as a verb, whereas effect is usually a noun
  • luxuriant (characterized by abundant growth) vs. luxurious (of, relating to, or marked by luxury)
  • principal (a person of primary importance or, as an adjective, most important) vs. principle (a fundamental rule or law — noun only)
  • stationery (office supplies) vs. stationary (not mobile) — associate the word letter and its vowel "e" with "stationery" and you're sure not to forget the difference between the two words
  • sensuous (implies the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of the physical appetites as ends in themselves) vs. sensual (relating to or providing pleasure through gratification of the senses)
  • unmoral (not influenced or guided by moral considerations), nonmoral (cannot be right or wrong, outside the sphere of morals or ethics), amoral (without moral standards), immoral (not moral, conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles).

Hope this helps! When in doubt, there's always Merriam-Webster Online.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never would have caught the persuade & convince. Thanks!

2:57 pm  

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