Every single day I see the following errors in English:
- Stationery, as in paper and office supplies, spelled stationary, which means not moving. Correct usage: I bought some stationery today
- Discreet, as in cautious, careful, spelled discrete, which means separate or individually distinct. Correct usage: We did some discreet investigating
- Flaunt (show off ostentatiously) used instead of flout (show disregard for). Correct usage: He flouted the rules whenever it suited him. He flaunted the fact that he had lots of money.
- Infer instead of imply. The rule is that the sender implies, the receiver infers
- Chomping at the bit instead of champing at the bit A horse champs at the bit in its mouth, eager to get going. Chomping implies eating something noisily.
- Literally used as a synonym for figuratively. As in I literally died of fright. Thanks to people like the Kardashians, literally seems to now mean figuratively as well as literally. In which case, why use it at all?
- Your used instead of you’re. As in your welcome. Your is genitive (possessive) as in your jacket is here. You’re is a contraction of you are.
- Amount used instead of number. Amount is uncountable and number is countable. The number of people there was surprising.
- Should of/would of/could of instead of should have/would have/could have
- Apostrophes to denote plurals. I have three Filofax’s
- on tender hooks instead of on tenterhooks
And the worst thing for me is, the perpetrators of these mistakes (I call them mistakes as they are permanent, rather than errors which are intermittent) are not non-native speakers of English. They are native speakers of English. Who have probably spent more time watching television than reading books. Non-native speakers generally either do not use these terms at all or use them correctly – their main problem is irregular verbs and subject-verb agreement. And they are definitely not dyslexic as dyslectics tend to have problems with writing in general, not just certain expressions.