Common Word Misuses and Misspellings

Most of these words are homophones. Homophones are words that sound alike but are spelled different with different meanings. The problem is they are often confused and misused. Maybe I can clarify a few of the common mistakes.


Lose has one O because the other O was lost.


Loose is not as tight as lose because it has an extra O.


The word eat is in weather, good weather makes me hungry.


Whether gives you a choice, whether you like it or not.


Wheather is not a word. It either needs an “h” or an “a” to be a word, but not both.


Affect is a verb. Replace it with another verb in a sentence and if it makes sense you did good.


Effect is a noun. It is usually followed by “A”, “An”, or “The”.


Shows possession of or belongs to someone


There is a contraction of “they” and “are”.


There answers the question of where; e. g. The book is over there.


Currency, change, plural for one penny, or one cent. .99 cents is less than a dollar.


Plural for scent or the smell of more than one thing


Refers to a span of time. I haven’t seen her since the ‘80s


As a verb sense is a feeling: I sense trouble. As a noun sense is intelligence: He has no common sense. Or in reference to one’s perception; smell, touch, hearing, sight, and taste.


Cell can refer to a type of phone, an allotted space (jail cell), or a biological unit of an organism.


Sell is a verb meaning to exchange something for money.


Sale is a noun in reference to items to be exchanged for money.


To purchase something


Near or next to something (The tree by the house) or conveyance (by way of…).


Usually paired with the word good (Good-bye). Used as a farewell gesture.


To compliment is to say nice things (He complimented her for the hard work she did).


Complement is to go match or go with (Her shoes complement her dress).

Alot I see the work “alot” a lot. Alot is not a word. A lot refers to a measured area of land (a car lot) or a bundle of items. We tend to use the word loosely to mean in abundance of. Anyway, a lot is not a four letter word.

Yall, Ya’ll, or Y’all

Y’all is the correct spelling. Y’all is a contraction meaning you all. It is commonly misspelled without an apostrophe or with the apostrophe after the “a”.

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Writing | Non-Fiction | How To

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