Top Misused Words Part III

Top Whether Authority Predicts Fare Skies with Intermittent Flashes of Lighting

We’re back again with the next 5 most commonly misused words in the English language.

Before we jump in, imagine you’ve painted the walls of a room. How long do you wait before hanging curtains and artwork or moving furniture against the wall? Until the paint has dried, right? That way, you can easily see areas that need touch-ups and you don’t run the risk of doing more harm than good.

Proofreading is similar to painting. After writing your article, let the “ink” dry before you proofread by walking away from the article for a while. This ensures you have given yourself enough space to proofread with a fresh perspective. Try it out and discover how this strategy actually saves time and maintains your credibility!

Here are the next 5 most misused words in the English language:

lighting vs. lightning

lighting – the arrangement or effect of lights; equipment for producing light.

Incorrect: You should install track lightning in your kitchen!
Correct: You should install track lighting in your kitchen!

lightning – a flash or discharge; very quick; the occurrence of a natural electrical discharge of very short duration, accompanied by a bright flash and typically also thunder.

Incorrect: Don’t stand at the top of the hill during a lighting storm.
Correct: Don’t stand at the top of the hill during a lightning storm.

setup vs. set up

setup – the result of something having been arranged or put together.

Incorrect: The cops got him; it was a set up.
Correct: The cops got him; it was a setup.

set up – to put something together.

Incorrect: Let’s setup the cake display in the window.
Correct: Let’s set up the cake display in the window.

whether vs. weather

whether – a conjunction used when expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives; expressing an inquiry or investigation.

Incorrect: “I’m not sure weather I should get chicken or beef,” thought Patrick.
Correct: “I’m not sure whether I should get chicken or beef,” thought Patrick.

weather – to wear away or change the appearance; the state of the atmosphere.

Incorrect: The whether here is nice, when it’s not raining!
Correct: The weather here is nice, when it’s not raining!

fair vs. fare

fair – without cheating or in accordance with the rules; a traveling show; fine or pretty good.

Incorrect: The weather this afternoon will be fare, so let’s go to the fare!
Correct: The weather this afternoon will be fair, so let’s go to the fair!

fare – the money a passenger on public transportation has to pay.

Incorrect: How much is the bus fair to Ithaca?
Correct: How much is the bus fare to Ithaca?

peak vs. peek

peak – the summit of a mountain; the highest point; to bring or achieve a maximum of development, value, or intensity; to become sickly.

Incorrect: Don’t give up until you’ve reached the peek!
Correct: Don’t give up until you’ve reached the peak!

peek – to glance quickly; to peer from a place of concealment.

Incorrect: Watch this preview to get a sneak peak!
Correct: Watch this preview to get a sneak peek!

We will have another installment of the most commonly misused words in the next few weeks, so stop by the Blog again for new grammar and spelling tips to ensure your articles are error free. Not only will these tips help you maintain your credibility, they also can be applied across multiple platforms and help you drive more traffic to your blog or website!

Did you miss our last edition of Top Misused Words? Check it out here!


Kenneth Watson writes:

Another of my pet peeves is the use of “fun” as an adjective rather than a noun. A person may say “I had fun at the party” but should refrain from describing it as a “fun party”. And of course, never use it as a verb as in “I was just funning you”

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 10:46 AM


Hsegan writes:

Thanks for the write ups.
Yes, I did come across some of the words you referred above, which were misused in the articles. I also feel it is not out of place to mention here, one more misuse of the word ‘Conerned’

For Eg. The official concerned
The concerned Official

There is a lot of difference between those two
I have seen people misuse this word habitually.


Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 12:40 PM


Richard Goutal writes:

The setup vs set up pair makes me think of a similar puzzler in the online marketing niche: optin and opt in. So perhaps it is like this:
opt in (V) You can opt in using the form.
opt-in (ADJ and N) Use the opt-in form to subscribe. We love to have responsive opt-ins.


Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 12:46 PM


Richard –

This seems to be correct and it’s the way we do it with any of our communications … though I couldn’t find any supporting information on the topic.

– Marc


Hsegan writes:

I have some more words which you can please explain in your blog subject to the availability of time and space.


Thanks & have a great day

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 12:58 PM


Chuck Marx writes:

Some of my pet peeves include the misuse of “your” and “you’re”, “to” and “too”, “personal” and “personnel”, “bought” and “brought”. I often see so much misuse of these types of words relating to product description labeling, user application directions, terms and conditions explanations and in some cases formal documents, which fits with article writing as well.

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 1:45 PM


Allie Anders writes:

For me it’s got to be ‘laying’ for ‘lying,’ as in, ‘She was laying on the bed.’ Is she a hen or a person?

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 1:50 PM


Jeff Kontur writes:

My biggest pet peeve is the misuse of “pique”. Far too often, people will say that something “peeked” their interest (or “peaked” their interest). That’s just wrong wrong wrong! The proper word is “piqued”.

Though, if you don’t know that you really have no business throwing two dollar words around in the first place.

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 2:41 PM


Susanne Warren writes:

Thanks for your comment about the misuse of “peaked” or “peeked” for the word “piqued.” This one drives me crazy and I see it all over the Internet, even in material representing people who seemingly should know better!


Michael Reynolds writes:

This reminds me of a single-pane comic I saw a long time ago. A man was being interviewed for a position, and the interviewer—looking at the man’s resume—says, “It says here that you have more than five years experience as a poofreader.”

To this day, whenever we carefully go over something we write, we always refer to it as “poofreading”.

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM


Kerry01 writes:

My pet hate is in Australia the word “youse” everyone uses that word – you are…..
There is a lot of slang over here.

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 3:54 PM



Actually, this leaves out some that belong in here with the ones listed.

Like Lighting/lightning also needs lightening – such as, “He removed the boxes from the top, lightening the load.” As an editor, I see ‘lightening’ used all the time to mean the stuff from the sky and ‘lightning’ used for making something weigh less. I’ve never seen lighting confused for lightning though.

And for ‘peek/peak’, I think we should also include ‘pique’. I see this one all the time, in stuff I edit and in things on the internet where someone will say, “Yeah, I saw that and it peeked my interest.” (or peaked my interest) When what they really mean to say is that it ‘piqued’ their interest.

This is a great list – I just wanted to add to the ones you used some other common confused words that go along with them.

Thanks for this series!

Love and stuff,

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 3:55 PM


Great point! I was going to meantion “lightening” myself.


Amy McFarland writes:

I love the idea of walking away from what you’ve written and then come back with new eyes! That is something that I am going to immediately do from this point forward! Your list is also very useful, thank you. We sometimes forget the small details that can create a big error.

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 5:33 PM


David Thomson writes:

What drives me nuts these days is the proliferation of this one: ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’. Word is that it has its roots in the world of text messaging, but it now seems to be showing up everywhere!

Interesting reminder of how little attention we seem to pay to what we write!


Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 6:00 PM



My biggest pet peeve is how people describe something that is no longer working as being “BROKE” instead of “BROKEN”.

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 9:05 PM


Tammie Graem writes:

As a beginning article writer, I deeply appreciate your lists of misused words and the additional helpful comments from other authors. I had forgotten about the word “piqued.”
I believe that the fast paced world we live in today contributes to shortened, slang versions of words such as what we see in “phone texting.” For example, the use of the letter “r” is frequently used to replace the word, “are.”
Texting shortcuts have their place, but in other forms of writing, it is best to leave out the slang and use proper forms and spellings of words.

Comment provided April 4, 2012 at 9:46 PM


David King writes:

Just a general observation that anyone who makes these basic mistakes in writing should NOT call themselves a writer. I despair of the standard of education in the world today. Social media demonstrates this continually.

Comment provided April 5, 2012 at 1:48 AM


Geoff writes:

I’m a bit surprised at those ‘next 5 most misused words in the English language’ on the list. I would have thought those words were taught at school.

There/their/they’re sometimes get mixed up, but they probably appeared somewhere in ‘Top Misused Words Part I (or part II)’.

Comment provided April 5, 2012 at 4:39 AM


John writes:

Wow, nicely described. My word spelling knowledge got polished by this thanks.

Comment provided April 5, 2012 at 10:07 PM


Albert writes:

I am really amazed to see the big difference of these spelling blunders:
lighting vs. lightning
setup vs. set up
fair vs fare

I used to make mistake in using these, however I won’t now and all this is possible just because of hard work of you guys. Thanks to the whole EzineArticles team.


Comment provided April 6, 2012 at 12:52 AM


Don writes:

My son says ‘whether’ or ‘wheather’ is a bad spell of weather.

Comment provided April 6, 2012 at 7:26 AM


H Segan writes:

Hi Don,

Your son is correct, but some times we can attribute such spelling mistakes to one’s typing habits, if one doesn’t proof read what one typed, some times such spelling mistakes do occur may be intentionally or unintentionally.


Vijay Khosla writes:

Another set of interesting words which ‘piques’ the concise every now and then. Yet, most of us prefer to go our own way.

I hope EzineArticles team will find time to explain the words quoted by ‘Hsegan’ Comment No. 4.

Comment provided April 8, 2012 at 12:37 AM


Rose Emerson writes:

Thanks for the list!
I think I have a very bad habit of correcting people when they either misuse or misspell words. My family and friends just says ‘yes Mother’ and ignore me. I am sure that some appreciate it but others get annoyed. I am slowly learning to grin and bear it.

Comment provided April 9, 2012 at 3:46 PM



I see myself using the word “Weather” instead of the correct one “whether”. Like Seriously, also, whenever I write something, I always have this feeling that I might have bad grammar, wrong spelling or something, reason why I can’t come up with a great content sometimes for myself.

Comment provided April 11, 2012 at 5:49 AM


Werner writes:

Nice, spelling blunders are the one where we need to be focused on, whenever it’s about writing something or anything. Because in English one character make a big difference.

Thanks EzineArticles staff, you guys are doing good job by providing us useful spelling blunders time and again.

Comment provided April 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM


Jon writes:

Life is a learning process and we learn at each stage of our life. There are lots of word in English which sometimes get wrongly spelled by us thus we need to keep improving our knowledge. EzineArticles staff doing a good job by providing spelling blunders like this.

Comment provided April 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM


Mirak Inariv writes:

These are great opportunities for many of us to brush up on our English grammar. It is particularly helpful to me as I write a lot. I also find the in-built spell checkers very useful as well.

Comment provided April 13, 2012 at 12:18 AM


Elena writes:

Your right about–I mean you’re right about letting the ink dry. I have made it a practice to do this, and have discovered a better way of expressing myself, which makes my articles more interesting to read.

Comment provided April 27, 2012 at 7:10 PM


mustafa eraslan writes:

EzineArticles staff doing a good job by providing spelling blunders like this.

Comment provided May 10, 2012 at 11:44 PM


Dawn Alice writes:

Pronunciation has always been difficult, because I simply cannot get my tongue around certain words. As a child, my father would correct my manner of speech. The essence of what I wanted to express was squashed. Now I am a grandmother and still experience the odd embarrassing moment when my eloquence lets me down.
Oral communication spills over to the written language. Becoming an author has been a long and well-travelled road towards the use of correct grammar. I recognize a multitude of common mistakes in my own writings, and sometimes wish I could gather it all up and re-edit. The fact is: my work is out there exposed to all the elements of criticism.
Thank you to EzineArticles for such informative advice.

Comment provided May 12, 2012 at 4:28 AM


priyajit singh writes:

Beautiful description… Good write up, people often misuses the above given words…..

Comment provided July 3, 2012 at 9:35 PM


Vijay Khosla writes:

We ought to keep learning to improve…
For the words to fall in their groove…
The list of words is endless…
What to fail…what to approve!


Comment provided July 5, 2012 at 4:47 AM


Durgam R SRINIVASAN writes:

I think it is always better to check spelling at least twice and if you are in doubt check it with the dictionary. Though I am normally good in spell check, my mistakes occur due to my poor typing.

The article 11 and 111 are very useful and educative and always make you to realize that if you are not sure check the spelling and read the sentence once or twice to make sure that reads well and feel happy.

Comment provided October 31, 2012 at 4:52 PM


Durgam R SRINIVASAN writes:

This was very educative and very useful for article writing.

Checking the spelling more than once is better and reading the article full once again before we send is very good practice too.


Comment provided October 31, 2012 at 4:58 PM


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