Spelling Mistakes: Common Examples & Overview

Instructor: Mary Firestone
Learn about some of the most common types of spelling mistakes and how to correct them. Read the lesson and take a brief quiz to test your new skills.

Spelling Mistakes Happen

Everyone makes spelling mistakes at one time or another. Mistakes can be caused by not taking the time to proofread or lack of knowledge about what the correct spellings are, and other times it's from confusion about usage. The examples shown below will help you stay on the right track.

Spelling Mistakes and Homophones

Homophones are one of the main causes of spelling mistakes. A homophone is a word that sounds like other words, but is spelled differently. One of the best ways to remember the correct spelling is to consider their usage in the sentence, as shown in these examples:

their, there, they're

The neighbors are on their lawn. (their is a pronoun)

We haven't ever been there. (there is a place)

They're coming over to our house tomorrow. (they're is a contraction for they are)

through, threw

He threw out the garbage. (threw is past tense of the verb to throw)

I drove through a small town. (through can mean physically going from one side to another, or it can mean finished, as in 'I'm through now.')

to, too, two

Charles is going to work now. (to is an article)

I am going to work, too. (too means also)

The two of us work late hours. (two is a number)

use to, used to

I used to shop at that store. (used to is a habit done in the past)

This is the car I'll use to drive to the shore. (use to is a verb meaning to utilize something in the present)

break and brake

I'll need a break before going back to work. (break means to separate or interrupt)

This car needs a new set of brakes. (brake is a mechanism for slowing down or stopping)

complement, compliment

That pink blouse complements your gray pants. (complement means to make complete or makes perfect)

My instructor gave me a compliment on my essay. (compliment means to give praise)

advice, advise

Diane gave him great advice. (advice means to give recommendation)

The doctor will advise you about which exercises work best. (advise is a verb that means counsel)

affect, effect

This medicine has a long list of side effects. (effect is a noun that means result)

The amount of sunlight affects the way some people feel. (affect is a verb that means influence)

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member

Already a member? Log In

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 100 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,900 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Click "next lesson" whenever you finish a lesson and quiz. Got It
You now have full access to our lessons and courses. Watch the lesson now or keep exploring. Got It
You're 25% of the way through this course! Keep going at this rate,and you'll be done before you know it.
The first step is always the hardest! Congrats on finishing your first lesson.
Way to go! If you watch at least 30 minutes of lessons each day you'll master your goals before you know it.
Congratulations on earning a badge for watching 10 videos but you've only scratched the surface. Keep it up!
You've just watched 20 videos and earned a badge for your accomplishment!
You've just earned a badge for watching 50 different lessons. Keep it up, you're making great progress!
You just watched your 100th video lesson. You have earned a badge for this achievement!
Congratulations! You just finished watching your 200th lesson and earned a badge!
Congratulations! You just finished watching your 300th lesson and earned a badge!
You are a superstar! You have earned the prestigious 500 video lessons watched badge.
Incredible. You have just entered the exclusive club and earned the 1000 videos watched badge.
You have earned a badge for watching 20 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 50 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 100 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 250 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 500 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 1000 minutes of lessons.