Top Spelling Blunders Part IV

Whoops! Make that “The Last Set of Knives…”

It’s that time again! So far we’ve covered 15 spelling keys in the Top Spelling Blunders series. Why? To help you strengthen your article writing skills by avoiding glaring errors that could lower your credibility!

Let’s kick off this next batch of the most common spelling blunders with this proofreading tip: Catch those pesky errors by changing your perspective or proofreading environment. Change your font, read from the bottom-up, change your screen size, etc. This will help you focus on areas of your writing that you may unknowingly skip over.

Without further ado, here are your next 5 spelling blunders to include in your proofreading checklist to strengthen your article writing skills.

Thier vs. Their

Remember that rule “I” before “E” except after “C”? When it comes to the word their, throw that rule right out the window. Their is the possessive form of they, which is used before a noun. It can also be used to replace his or her.

Example: Their home is just around the corner.
Example: John forgot his lunch. Susie forgot her lunch. They forgot their lunch.

Key: Their heir is on the weir.

Layed vs. Laid

Before the Grammar Police raid this post on the differences between lie, lay, and laid, let’s get this spelling blunder out of the way – “layed” is not a word. What this blunder is attempting to achieve is the past form of lay, which becomes laid.

Example: The police told him to lay down his weapon, so Jack laid down his pen.

Key: Like the words paid (not “payed”) and said (not “sayed”), it’s laid (not “layed”).

Special Note: Don’t worry, we’ll earmark this one for a later date to discuss Lie vs. Lay vs. Laid.

Knifes vs. Knives

Most of the time, common nouns ending in “f” or “fe” are made into the plural form by adding an “s” to the end of the word (this is always true for proper nouns or names given to specific persons, places, or things). Irregular nouns ending in “f” or “fe” (e.g. knife) are made plural by changing the “f” to “ves” (e.g. knives). This is one of those weird English language rules you will want to reference from time-to-time until you are sure.

Example: This is the last set of knives you will ever need to buy!

Key: Thieves hide knives up their sleeves.

Aswell vs. As Well

The phrase as well (in addition; as much) does not form a compound. Similar to the word “every time”, the phrase “as well” should always be a phrase (i.e. two words separated by a space because they just don’t get along).

Example: Although I don’t like tacos as well as I once did, I will have the tacos as well.

Key: I’ll take a space as well.

Targetted vs. Targeted

Why should “targetted” be targeted? The confusion is caused by past tense words ending in ed that may require an additional letter, such as occur and occurred or permit and permitted. Instead of getting up on my linguistic soapbox and going into stressed vs. unstressed vowels, let’s chalk this one up to one of the silly rules of the English language best served by memory and a dictionary.

Example: They targeted their missiles at the incoming asteroid.

Key: Ted targeted the target with one “T”.

The robots’ knives may not have targeted the balloon as well as their lasers, but they laid down on the grass before we could discover other balloon bursting weapons!

Due to popular demand, we will be postponing our Top Spelling Blunders series over the next few weeks to uncover common grammatical errors. Keep an eye out for more of our spelling and grammar keys to ensure your articles are error free. Doing so will increase your credibility and drive more traffic to your blog or website!

Did you miss our last edition of Top Spelling Blunders? Check it out here!


Kevin writes:

Here’s another one for your audience. Trial vs. Trail. So frustrating when one reads it and it gets missed. Guilty. Oh and even past a second perosn.

Free trial software came across as free trail…

Happy Trails!

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 9:49 AM



Hey Penny

Thanks, thanks and more thanks. The simple proofreading tips were just what I needed. I know they’ll help me catch more of those pesky errors that I’d normally overlook.

Keep those great ideas coming.

Thanks again,


Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 10:00 AM


PABAN writes:

There’s one more error that we used to observe with the new article writers. That is the unappropriate punctuations. Right?

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 10:14 AM


Donitta K Booth writes:

What do you think about canceled vs cancelled? Is there a right and wrong way? I’ve been told both are acceptable…?

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 11:57 AM


Donitta –

This is according to “Turns out they are both correct spellings depending on where you come from. Cancelled is the British spelling while canceled is the American spelling. Both are completely acceptable but will sometime trip up your spell check depending on how you have it set up.”

– Marc


Andrea Connell writes:

so here’s another one: as a canadian I use the word ‘centre’. I have a healing centre. But I also use the word center to describe the middle of something. Here’s my conundrum…when adding ‘ed’ to the word I prefer to use ‘centered’ but I have an editor who uses ‘centred’ …what are your thoughts?

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 1:43 PM


Andrea –

I did a little quick research and found that both “centered” and “centred” are correct. The preferred spelling all depends on where you live. For those speaking American English, it’s “centered”. For those who speak British English, it’s typically “centred”.




Thanks for the tips!

It’s understandable to make these simple grammatical mistakes when you’re pressed for time and/or tend to spell things phonetically.

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 3:28 PM


Elle Blitz writes:

Great article! What about thankyou vs thank you? One of my pet hates. Would love to hear your view.

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 5:29 PM


Elle –

I can say without a doubt that “thank you” is always two words. :-)

– Marc


Sybille writes:

The “blunders series” is brilliant. It’s actually quite amazing how many websites don’t appear to worry about correct spelling and/or grammar.
There is just one thing which I would like to mention – proofreading is best done by another person. It’s part of human nature that we see what we expect to see, which leads to easily missing mistakes when proofreading our own work.
I have noticed quite a few mistakes in EzineArticles, which obviously evaded the editors.

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 6:23 PM


Sybille –

Thanks for the note. Can I assume that you’re talking about the articles themselves when you commented on the number of mistakes you’ve found in EzineArticles? If so, then I’m afraid I can’t really argue the point. We receive thousands of article submissions each day, so there simply isn’t time for our editors to review each article word-for-word and make the necessary corrections. That’s one of the main reasons that we do blog posts and newsletters like this one – to educate our authors about the typical errors they might make and how to hopefully prevent them in the first place.

– Marc


Sybille writes:

just another comment, which is mainly aimed at non-native English speakers, a group which I belong to – and it is in regard to American v British English. When I learned English at school oh so many years ago, we had to write either English or American, however, we were not permitted to mix the two. I still try to stick with that rule as I think consistency makes for a better reading experience.

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 6:32 PM


Sheryl McGinnis writes:

There are too many spelling mistakes that bug me to enumerate them all here. But at the top of the list, or at least sharing the top place, are:

Using loose for lose
Using alot for a lot
Using should of for should have

Stop me now before I go on and on :-)

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 6:57 PM


Elle Blitz writes:

Oh that bugs me too. My boss always writes alot inhis emails but I haven’t had the balls to correct him yet.


Joseph Dabon writes:

I think we all do commit some misspellings every now then. Trusting so much on spell checker is not a very wise move. It is pretty dumb.

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 7:35 PM


hema writes:

Children get confused with quite and quiet, despite the difference in the spellings. To help them, I would give some verbal clues-Keep quiet, putting a finger over the mouth. To remember the spelling,use this…….q on the head, u on the forehead,i on the nose, e over the smile, t the smiling teeth!

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 11:16 PM


Anil Joshi writes:

Thanks to describe such a little but meaningful difference between some words. We will remember always when we write a new article.

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 11:26 PM


Ernest writes:

Very useful as well as interesting post ,Oh yes lots of humor as well. when I do my proofreading I usually find typing errors tapping the wrong key so many of us know how to spell but in out haste we hit wrong keys,or forget to complete the word spell, …a good example I see often is … ” Get you free sample today” the R seems to left out many times.

Enjoyed this post and many comments very good
Thank You

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 11:52 PM


Peter Akparanta writes:

These two words:’ order’ and ‘other’ do get on my way when I’m writing. When used in such phrases as ‘in order to’ and ‘in other words,’ (Oops! Hope I got them right?) I tend to mix them up. I sure would do with more clarifications on this.

Thanks for the good job you are doing.


Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 11:55 PM


Tony Larrain writes:

How about to too and two.
Correct or incorrect

I am going to sleep. I am just way too tired to play. i have to get up in two hours. That would be two a.m. your time. The desert was great but there was too much of it.

Comment provided February 11, 2012 at 1:48 AM


Rwanda safaris writes:

Thank you very much EzineArticles.those are very interesting tips and we should be very keen when coming up with good articles.

Comment provided February 11, 2012 at 2:27 AM


Vijay Khosla writes:

Another delightful article! Kudos to EzineArticles team to bring it in such a good taste.

I have learned a lot from these writings and enjoy reading them time and again.

Thanks you Penny!

Comment provided February 11, 2012 at 2:59 AM


Vijay Khosla writes:

Sorry, an error crept in! Let me correct it now itself!

The last line should read: Thanks to you, Penny! (in place of “Thanks you Penny”)

I should say that even “Thank you Penny” would have worked fine…. but for that additional ‘s’ after Thank!

Comment provided February 11, 2012 at 3:14 AM


Sarah Hind writes:

Great article – spelling seems to have got so much worse and mistakes can really damage a company. What about its & it’s – the number of times I have to explain the the apostrophe replaces a letter – ‘it’ is short for ‘it is’! However, I do get confused with dispatches and despatches. Which one is correct (in the UK)? Thanks!

Comment provided February 11, 2012 at 9:39 AM


Sarah –

I did some quick research and it appears that both spellings are correct, although “despatches” is the less common spelling and actually comes up as misspelled on my American spell checker. I’ve been an American writer for many years and I have never seen that particular spelling before, so it would appear that “despatches” is more commonly a British English spelling. From what I found, though, it’s also less common in the UK.

– Marc



Great Article…..
It is very informative article and highlight the common mistakes that commonly occurs in our daily written have done a great job, thanks for this informative article.

Comment provided February 11, 2012 at 10:11 AM


Sheryl McGinnis writes:

We cannot rely on Spellcheck because it doesn’t know you mean ‘your’ when you type and since ‘you’ is a legitimate word, then the poor thing gets confused. LOL
What really bugs me is when I type a perfectly gramatically correct sentence and WORD underlines something and suggests I am wrong in my choice. The suggestions they make are ludicrous and sound more like street talk. I guess we just have to rely on the original computer-our brain.

Comment provided February 11, 2012 at 10:45 AM


Howtozed writes:

Really Nice Guide about Spelling Blunders for everyone who writes content for websites or himself. I greatly appreciate EzineArticles for such great effort for making correct content on the internet

Comment provided February 12, 2012 at 4:28 AM


Jose Bulao writes:

Thanks very much for these spelling tips. It is so frustrating to read so many misspellings around. But even we tend to forget sometimes the correct spelling. It is good to be reminded here and now.

Comment provided February 12, 2012 at 9:02 PM


Vijay Khosla writes:

“Despatches” is more commonly a British English spelling. It was more commonly in use during the 2nd World War when ‘Despatch Riders’ used to carry the ‘Despatches’ given out by the Commanders from the war front. These ‘despatches’ carried each and every information pertaining to the war position and Platoon’s requirement.


Comment provided February 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM


hema writes:

likewise with Teachers’ Day and Children’s Day……do you agree that the above spellings are right?

Often people use Teacher’s Day (In India it is celebrated on the 5th of September each year)

Comment provided February 16, 2012 at 5:44 AM


Hema –

Teachers’ Day would be correct since the celebration is for ALL teachers (plural), though one could contend that Teacher’s Day is also correct since each teacher is recognized as an individual … but that would be a questionable justification. In the case of Children’s Day, the apostrophe definitely goes before the “s” since children is already the plural of child.

– Marc


Sarwar Tch writes:

This is so nice articles,Thanks very much for these spelling tips.

Comment provided February 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM


Debra Jason writes:

How about “your” and “you’re” and “its” and “it’s”.
I’ve seen others get these mixed up on many occasions.

Comment provided March 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM


Rwanda safaris writes:

Thank you very much for the tips. Will watch out and try to minimize the spelling errors. it takes a lot of observation and will to want to end it.

Comment provided March 16, 2012 at 3:13 AM


comparizon writes:

Great Article…..
It is very informative article and highlight the common mistakes that commonly occurs in our daily written articles.
I will share this information with m friends.
Please keep it up.

Comment provided July 6, 2012 at 8:43 AM


hema writes:

A doubt in Grammar-how to distinguish between emphasizing adjective and adverb of degree?
He reads very well (here very is an adverb, right?)

He is a very hard working teacher (here very is an emphasizing adjective, right?)

Comment provided August 28, 2012 at 7:27 AM


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