Friday, May 30, 2008

The single most misspelled word

I see it all the time in presentations. I saw it twice this morning alone in newsletters. Your spell checker won't catch it. And obviously proofreaders rarely catch this error either.

I'm talking about "you" and "your".

So often I see one of these words used when the other should be. It's not that the writer doesn't know the correct word, it's just that as they are typing, they miss a letter or add a letter and they rely on spell checkers to catch the error. Which they won't.

Here are the two examples from this morning (I have emphasized the mistake):
1. If your have a local business -- like a service or a store -- you know you MUST have a website.
2. ... but what about you living room?

Other spelling mistakes that a spell checker won't catch:
"the" and "they"
"be" and "by"
"late" and "later"
"best" and "bets"

All occur because of mistyping, but are never caught because they are still proper words - just not the word we intended.

How do you catch these mistakes? Do what professional proofreaders do. Read backwards. That's right. Start with the last word and start reading back to the first word. Your brain isn't anticipating what the next word should be, so it doesn't skip over the incorrect word assuming that since the letters look right that the word must be OK.


Blogger Andrew is getting fit said...

Another one that I see A LOT is lose and loose.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Lisa Braithwaite said...

And there's always a misplaced apostrophe somewhere.

I like the backwards-reading technique; I'm going to give that a try.

1:19 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home