lettersSpelling mistakes happen to the best of us. But, not all spelling mistakes are perceived equally. While a potential employer may overlook a misspelling of the word “chrysanthemum” on your resume, it is not likely that she will be so forgiving when confronted with your confusion between “there” and “their.”

By making common spelling errors in your everyday writing, you may be inadvertently leaving employers and co-workers with a negative perception about your intelligence, your attention to detail, or your ability to do the job.

However, a quick review of some common spelling errors can go far in redeeming you:

There/Their/They’re

The misuse of these three words is one of the most common mistakes in the English language. The word “there” describes a place or an idea. The word “their” means there’s possession or ownership of something. The contraction “they’re” is just a combination of the words, “they are.”

Example: “If they’re planning on driving through the storm in their van tonight, it might be a good idea to set the extra windshield wiper fluid over there in the back seat.”

Lose/Loose

“Lose” is the opposite of win, so sports teams may occasionally “lose” a game. The word “loose” is used, for example, when a person drops a significant amount of weight and their pants seem larger than normal.

A good tip to use for remembering the difference: Adding an additional “o” makes the word physically bigger – much like the pants that become physically bigger during weight loss.

Definitely

For some reason, many people want to add the letter “a” to this word. Remember this phrase to stay on track: “There is definitely no ‘a’ in definitely!”

Effect/Affect

In most cases, the word “effect” is used as a noun, which is a person, place, or thing. “Affect” is a verb, which is an action word. If you are unsure on which way to spell this word, simply replace it with another verb to see if the sentence still makes sense, if it does, the word “affect” should be used.

A Lot/Alot

Many people make the mistake of combining two separate words, “a” and “lot,” into one word, “alot.” Keep in mind that there is always a lot of space between an “a” and its “lot.”

Who’s/Whose

“Who’s” is simply an abbreviation for “who is.” The word “whose” is defined as a possessive adjective, meaning it is used to establish ownership.

Example: “Whose telephone are we going to use for the conference call?”

Weather /Whether

“Weather” includes all things related to the outdoor elements like the sun, rain, and snow.  The word “whether” is a conjunction, and it’s used to combine one or more alternatives.

Example: “Whether or not something is completed will determine the outcome of all of our projects.”

Weird

As confusing as it may be, the age-old phrase, “I-before-E, except after C” does not apply with this word. Weird, right?

Quite/Quiet

“Quiet” describes when little noise or activity is occurring. “Quite,” on the other hand, is an adverb that describes something that’s of a measurable extent.

Example: “The break room in back is quiet, but I also noticed it is quite clean today.”

Misspell

There’s likely no other word that is more embarrassing to get caught misspelling than the actual word, “misspell.”

The good news about learning these rules is that once you understand them, it’s likely that it will become second nature to use them correctly. However, as the old saying goes, “If you don’t use your skills, you lose your skills.”

Or is it “loose” your skills?



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