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)

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