Common spelling and grammar errors found on the internet


It’s the teacher/proofreader in me I guess but these are the most common errors I see while meandering around the internet:

stationery vs. stationary

  • Stationery means office supplies – I need some more stationery
  • Stationary means not moving – the man rode his bicycle into a stationary car

would of

  • I would have gone there but I was running late.

different to

  • different from

loose vs. lose

  • I need to lose weight
  • When I lose weight, hopefully my trousers will be loose

its vs. it’s

  • The door was hanging off its hinges
  • it’s getting very late (abbreviation of it is)

compliment vs. complement

  • thank you for the compliment
  • this wine will be a perfect complement to your beef

reign vs. rein

  • the Queen has reigned for 60 years
  • the goverment needs to rein in spending

And then the huge irritations of:

  • supposably instead of supposedly
  • irregardless instead of regardless or irrespective
  • pair a scissors instead of pair of scissors
  • literally instead of figuratively
  • nauseous instead of nauseated
  • he was sat/stood instead of he was sitting/standing
  • using infer instead of imply (I infer, you imply)

Not to mention:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Your used instead of you’re. As in your welcomeYour is genitive (possessive) as in your jacket is hereYou’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.
  • on tender hooks instead of on tenterhooks

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

2 thoughts

  1. As I read this, I feel my blood pressure rising; those who perpetrate such crimes against the beauty and expressiveness of the English language should be taken outside and seriously inconvenienced!

Leave a Reply