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Most Commonly Misused English Words Part 3

Updated on April 6, 2015

This is part 3 of my series of hubs on commonly misused English words. The first two parts of this series can be found here - Commonly Misused English Words and Commonly Misused English Words Part 2. In this part, I will be discussing another set of commonly misused English words. As I've stated before in my other two hubs, some of these words won't show up in spell check and hence can be tricky.


Common English Error # 26: a lot versus a lot

I see 'alot' being used quite often here on HubPages, as well as on the Internet - not sure why that is so. I guess it is just one of those words! The correct word is 'a lot.' The one word 'alot' does not exist. Perhaps, one of the most irritating errors ever, albeit one that is all too prevalent on the Internet.

a lot - nonexistent word

a lot - meaning a great deal

NOTE: If you were to do a search using the HubPages search feature with 'alot' as the query, you'd get at least 1000 results with the nonexistent word 'alot' featuring in various hubs, forum topics, etc. I give this example just to demonstrate the widespread misuse of 'a lot' as 'alot.'


Common English Error # 27: grammer versus grammar

So, which one is it? Do you know? Most people get this wrong. Most think that 'grammer' is the correct spelling when in fact it should be 'grammar' - there is no "E" in grammar, only As.

NOTE: About 542 results show up for 'grammer' if you use the HubPages search feature.

This is an example of a misspelled word rather than a misused word, but I thought of putting this in because this is an error I see often. Of note, this error won't pass spell check, and hence if you are using spell check, you should be able to catch this. However, spell check isn't always an option and hence knowing your spellings is always good!!


Common English Error # 28: capital versus capitol

Have you seen this error? Bet you have! Both sound the same, yet have nothing in common.

The 'capitol' with the 'O' is the building - as in Capitol Hill.

The 'capital' with the 'A' is a city that serves as the seat of a government.

HINT: Capitol is the building - capital is the city where it is located.

NOTE: Capital can also refer to wealth/resources in a business context.


Common English Error # 29: instead versus instead

Another error I see quite often is this one. You see 'insted' being used so often, even though there is no such word. The correct word is 'instead' with the 'A.'


Common English Error # 30: pique versus peek versus peak

pique - to excite/arouse/provoke OR (to cause to feel resentment)

Example: My interest is piqued / He piqued my interest.

peek - to glance quickly/peep

Example: I peeked at him.

peak - a tapering, projecting point, to bring to a maximum (value, any other parameter)

Example: The peak of the roof OR the mountain peak OR the peak velocity achieved

Example demonstrating the difference between the three words above:

She piqued my interest when I peeked at her up on the peak of the roof.


Common English Error # 31: lead versus led

lead - means the metal 'lead' OR the verb 'lead' which means to show the way or guide

The element 'lead' is pronounced 'LED,' whereas the verb 'lead' is pronounced 'LEED.'

Example 1: Soil can be contaminated with lead.

Example 2: Who will lead the parade this year?

led - past tense of the verb 'lead'

Example: Last year, who led the parade?


Common English Error # 32: past versus passed

past (adjective) - a thing that has already happened (Example: Past achievements).

past (noun) - Example: My past is no secret.

passed (verb) - refers to the action of passing

Example 1: Time passed so quickly.

Example 2: The students passed the test.


Common English Error # 33: emigrate versus immigrate

emigrate – to leave one country to settle in another (move abroad)

HINT: starts with the letter "E." E = exit - leave the country

immigrate – to enter another country and reside/settle there/change residency

starts with the letter "I." I = in - go IN to a country

Example 1: My great grandfather emigrated from Poland.

Example 2: Many Asians immigrate to the United States to find work.


Common English Error # 34: appauled (appauling) versus appalled (appalling)

I am appalled that so many people out there spell this word 'appauled,' truly appalling!! There is no such word as 'appauled' or 'appauling.'

NOTE: A cursory HubPages search reveals 86 results for the nonexistent word 'appauled/appauling.'


Common English Error # 35: as well versus as well

The one word usage is wrong. It is always two words.

NOTE: The one word usage seems to be quite popular here at HubPages and on the Internet in general. A HubPages search shows up greater than 1000 results for the one word form 'aswell.'


Common English Error # 36: prostate versus prostrate

prostate - refers to the gland men have, i.e. the prostate gland

prostrate - lying flat, facedown

People often use the word 'prostrate' instead of 'prostate' when they refer to the prostate gland, cancers of the prostate, etc.

Why you shouldn't rely on your spell checker alone!!

If you rely on your spell checker all too often and believe that it can catch all the errors you make, here is an excellent example of why you shouldn't. This isn't my work but a reproduction of work widely available on the Internet. I believe the original author of this funny poem is a certain Jerrold H. Zar. Well, kudos to him for coming up with a poem as wonderful as this to demonstrate the perils of relying on your spell checker. Do run a spell check on the following poem - an excellent example of why you shouldn't be relying on spell checkers alone!!

Eye halve a spelling chequer.
It came with my pea sea.
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it.
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.


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    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Twilight, thanks again for visiting by and for your comments. I've seen them too and have been tempted myself to point out these errors to the concerned authors. However, you can't always go about doing that and so I thought a better option would be to create a hub about it in hopes it would help some, if they happen to notice it that is.

      Yes, would love to cover the 'greengrocers' apostrophe' and also create a few more hubs on this theme, hopefully! Thanks again for stopping by - it has been a pleasure to read your comments :)

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      8 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thank you. I have read several pieces on HubPages since I joined only a couple of weeks ago, and was horrified to see so many of the examples that you point out above. I don't like hurting the feelings of others, but was sorely tempted to point out these errors, saying that they would make me more comfortable when reading their work if the spelling were correct or the right homophones had been used. You were ahead of me on the Spell Check facility. Great hub again.

      Now, what about one on 'The Greengrocers' Apostrophe'?

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you, Georgie, for stopping by and commenting. Glad you found it useful :)

    • georgiecarlos profile image


      8 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for another great hub! Very useful and I am sure this will help a lot (not a lot) of people :)

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      You are very kind with your words Robert. Yes, it is for free :) Oh yes, the 'a lot' versus 'alot' misuse - I see that quite often. Well, now you know better, don't you?

      English teacher, well don't think I am that good, but I am mighty pleased that you seem to think I'd make a good teacher :)

    • Robertbloggert profile image


      8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank You! Thank you! Thank you! And all this for free? Looks like I have bookmark #3.

      Sadly I have to say I am so guilty of trying to use a lot a lot. Again you have done wonderful with the hints.

      Your great Shil you actually make this fun! Oh and please be easy on me I haven't got to the Hub on placing commas and such yet.

      It sure would have been nice to have an English teacher like you in school.

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you SG for stopping by and commenting :)

    • Sunnyglitter profile image


      8 years ago from Cyberspace

      I enjoy grammar tips. Thanks!

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you KKG for stopping by and commenting. Appreciate your positive feedback on this hub. Yes, there are many similar poems like that, which demonstrates the need for human editing. Thanks again for stopping by!!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Love the poem, it really brings home the need for human editing. This information in invaluable. Bookmarking, rated up and useful.

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Jeff - just for the record (again), the credit for the poem goes to a certain 'Jerrold H. Zar.' Am glad you loved it, I loved it too!!

      I just checked out the work of Taylor Mali - very nice indeed!

    • Jeff Berndt profile image

      Jeff Berndt 

      8 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Mighty. I especially love the poem at the end.

      Have you read the work of Taylor Mali, by chance?

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you SilverGenes for stopping by and commenting. Yes, the lay/lie one is a great addition. I'd include that in Part 4!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      These are a great collection of hubs. I would add one: to lay and to lie. That one drives me crazy LOL.

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Shalini - always nice to have you around! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

      FF - thanks yet again for stopping by this hub. Am glad you found all the hubs in this series useful. Thanks again for visiting :)

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      This is a wonderful lesson in correct spelling and usage of certain words. I'm so interested that I'm going back to read the first two. And the poem was a great example of the lack of the ability of the spell checker to make needed corrections of our work. I really like this hub, Shil.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      8 years ago from India

      Shil - what a great series of hubs! Yes, one sees so many of these words misused - and you're right - depending on the spell-checker is no way to go.

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Petra - thank you for stopping by and commenting. Always nice to have you around :) Yes, Petra, those are the basics! It is good that you don't mix up your "its/it's," "their/there," etc. Thanks again for visiting!

      Kim - Good on you :) Yes, I agree with you on the reasons for the 'grammer' misuse. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

    • kaltopsyd profile image


      8 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      When I was little I ALWAYS wrote a lot. I kept writing a lot for the longest while (I think until 6th grade). Don't worry though, I finally learned, Haha. I guess people think that grammer is a word because of the pronunciation. Well, that's English for you! Great Hub!

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Another great hub, Shil, Thank you. While many times I have difficulties with spelling of words that sound the same "raw/row" or "soul/sole" and others I would have nevere imagined that people will not know the difference between "their/they're/there" or between "its/it's" - those are such basic things that even I (as a foreigner) have lerned a long time ago

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you Dave for stopping by and commenting. Just trying to do my bit, that's all!! Grammar, well, yes, and the list goes on....

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      8 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      It is so good to see someone taking the time to correct the spelling of others, now if we could only correct their grammar too.

      Brother Dave.

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Cybersupe, great to hear that! Wish you a healthy life! God bless!!

    • CYBERSUPE profile image


      8 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

      Shil1978, I am doing very well and I am honored that you recalled my comment on prostat biopsy. God Bless you Shil1978

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Cybersupe - thank you for stopping by and commenting. Sorry to hear you had to go through the experience of being a prostate cancer victim.

      Glad to know though that you are doing well now. Saw your comment on a hub about a prostate biopsy procedure, in which you stated you are healthy now!!

      As for the 'prostate/prostrate' misuse, it is quite widespread. I see it all the time! Thanks again Cybersupe for visiting :)

    • CYBERSUPE profile image


      8 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

      Yo shil1978, love reading your hub, great stuff, but so right. As an example I am a PROSTATE cancer victum and am so surpized how many people misuse this word. Thanks shill1978 and God Bless!

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Woody Marx - yes, I agree! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Rochelle - oh, that's quite annoying, so are the rest! Yes, very/vary, just so many of them around :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      8 years ago from California Gold Country

      The one that annoys me-- and I see it daily-- is there -- their -- they're. They sound the same, but are vary... (ooops!) very different.

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is the kind of thing that should be taught to all aspiring writers. I myself have been guilty of the first one 'alot' instead of 'a lot', and certainly some of the others. I'm going to go to your first Hub in the series to see what else I may be doing wrong. :)

    • Shil1978 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Lol, yes, that poem said it all. I love your wit :) Glad you found it fascinating! Thank you drbj for stopping by and commenting!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      That poem buy missed her Zar tolled it awl. Thank you, shil, four a fascinating read. Or is it red?


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