From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Polishing Your Writing

I will admit up front that misspelled words are a pet peeve of mine. Perhaps it's because I’m a bit...ahem, shall we call it “diligent” about grammar and spelling? Or perhaps it’s just because I love words. Yes, all of them. (Thank you, Mrs. Alexander)

I imagine we’ve all seen an article or blog post (or 2, or 10) bemoaning the decline of the written word in the era of texting, Twitter and the like. If you’re looking for the other side of that argument, this isn’t it. Sorry.

As writers, our job – our whole job – is about choosing the right words. We have a reason for choosing the word “conundrum” instead of the more commonly used “problem.” So after carefully choosing your words, it’s just as important to make sure you’ve spelled them correctly, especially if it’s one of the “problem” words that sound alike but have different spellings. We all remember this from 2nd grade – their, there and they’re come to mind. And don’t forget the words that are misused – effect and affect, for example.

Consider the following sentence: I don’t no what there whether is going two bee tomorrow, but it won’t effect me to much.

Phonetically, you can figure out what is being said, but technically it's not even close to being correct. So you’re probably thinking that Word (or similar word processing program) will catch and/or fix your spelling and grammar mistakes – and I’ll admit, it probably will catch most of them. But it probably won’t catch all of them. There are 7 misspelled or misused words in the above sentence – can you find them all?

If spelling and grammar is something you struggle with in polishing your writing, there are some websites that can help.
Grammar Girl – a great resource for all of your grammar questions
Your Dictionary – there are links on the home page to help with navigating
Google search – sometime the easiest way to find something quickly

Having a friend or group to read your work can also help with this problem. In our local critique group, no surprise, I’m known as “grammar chick” – but really, everyone in our group is good at finding problem words. Yes, even I have been known to screw up a word or two.

Challenge for today: In the comments, rewrite the above incorrect sentence and make it “right.” No peaking peeking at other peoples answers either!


  1. I don't know what the weather is going to be tomorrow,but it won't affect me too much.


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