If he formerly stepped down, does that mean he never stepped down, or he stepped down in the past and now he has resumed his position as CEO?
Even the most adept Expert Authors will make grammar mistakes because of distractions. However, there is also another phenomenon that occurs – too much focus! Such strenuous focus on one area may be causing your brain to filter out incoming information, which may be causing some errors to hide in plain sight.
What’s the remedy? Give your brain one task at a time to focus by writing in stages:
- Outline (Everything you need to say)
- Draft (Flesh out the outline)
- Edit (Add/Remove content)
- Proofread (Search for grammar errors)
What should you be looking for? Aside from misspelled words, run-on sentences, and the usual suspects, keep an eye out for these commonly misused words.
Upmost vs. Utmost
upmost – another term for UPPERMOST; highest in place, rank, or importance.
Incorrect: Jed said he would clean the utmost stairwell in the building.
Correct: Jed said he would clean the upmost stairwell in the building.
utmost – most extreme; greatest.
Incorrect: Ping pong is a sport that requires the upmost display of athleticism.
Correct: Ping pong is a sport that requires the utmost display of athleticism.
Unkept vs. Unkempt
unkept – a commitment not honored or fulfilled.
Incorrect: Kim’s calendar is full of unkempt appointments.
Correct: Kim’s calendar is full of unkept appointments.
unkempt – (especially of a person) having an untidy or dishevelled appearance.
Incorrect: Sally’s hair looked unkept today.
Correct: Sally’s hair looked unkempt today.
Wont vs. Won’t
wont – as a noun, one’s customary behavior; as an adjective, (of a person) in the habit of or accustomed to doing something.
Incorrect: David said he would wont to stay on the couch all day and play video games with his friend Jack.
Correct: David, as is his wont, stayed on the couch all day playing video games with his friend Jack.
won’t – contraction of will not.
Incorrect: Line dancing is something Jessica wont do.
Correct: Line dancing is something Jessica won’t do.
Bellow vs. Below
bellow – to emit a loud roar in pain or anger; a deep roaring sound.
“What was that?” asked Jack.
“That’s the below of a dying beast,” replied Jeanne.
“What was that?” asked Jack.
“That’s the bellow of a dying beast,” replied Jeanne.
below – extending underneath; at a lower level.
Incorrect: Adhere to the tips bellow to succeed!
Correct: Adhere to the tips below to succeed!
Formerly vs. Formally
formerly – in the past; in earlier times.
Incorrect: Mike formally believed that rabbits produced chocolate eggs.
Correct: Mike formerly believed that rabbits produced chocolate eggs.
formally – in accordance with the rules of convention or etiquette; officially.
Incorrect: The headline read: “CEO Formerly Steps Down.”
Correct: The headline read: “CEO Formally Steps Down.”
Proofread to maintain your credibility with your audience by focusing on these misused words. Keep your eyes peeled for more words to add/remove to or from your grammar arsenal. If you have any misused words you’d like to see added to the Top Misused Words series, fire away by sharing them in the comments section below – we’d love to hear from you!