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Writing Mistakes To Avoid So You Can Appear To Be Intelligent

Updated on January 4, 2014

Yes, the English Language Is Difficult

I have quite a few writer friends for whom English is a second language and I have to tell you straight out, I admire them. English is tough for those of us born speaking it. English is a language that seems so random. Words that are spelled the same way can have different meanings. Words that appear to have the same sound have completely different sounds….and then….we have little expressions that have snuck into the language over the years that are completely wrong and yet seem to be totally acceptable.

What follows are a few mistakes that are used quite often by writers. The fact that they are used quite often does not change the fact that they are mistakes and should be corrected. Oh sure, if you are simply writing on your blog to a select audience, I guess it makes little difference if you continue to make these errors, but if you one day have visions of sending your work to an agent or publisher then you really need to clean your literary house of these boo-boos.

Before I begin, though, let me state that using these mistakes occasionally in dialogue can be acceptable. Sometimes our characters speak in an incorrect manner because that’s who they are. It is realistic to have your character speak incorrectly; heck, most Americans speak incorrectly! So yes, there are times in our stories and novels when we will purposely use incorrect language.

Now let’s turn our attention to a list of silly mistakes that can easily be corrected.

Chances are excellent that all of these people use improper English
Chances are excellent that all of these people use improper English | Source

COMBINING WORDS INTO AN INCORRECT SINGLE WORD

The two examples that we see so often are “a lot” and “all right” when they are written as single words; the correct usage of these phrases are to use two words. As I type this on Word I am not even allowed to write them as one word.

ANYWAYS IS NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE

It might have been in Medieval times but today is 2013 and it has outlived its usefulness. The word “anyway’ is an adverb and it is plural; thus, to put an s at the end of a plural adverb is pure silliness.

RAISE THE QUESTION NOT BEG THE QUESTION

Let’s take a look at this in sentence form. “The fact that you sneer whenever you see me raises the question: why do you dislike me.” That is the proper way to write that sentence. To beg the question means to present as true or to take for granted a premise that needs proof. Let’s look at it used correctly. “You beg the question by stating that I must not like you because I sneer whenever we pass each other.”

BURSTED IS NOT A WORD, FOLKS!

The verb “to burst” in its principal parts is burst, burst and burst…past, present and present participle. There is no such word as bursted. It does not exist. It is an abortion of the English language spoken by people who never took the time to learn proper English. Don’t be one of those people!

More mistakes to avoid

You do not want to speak like this person.
You do not want to speak like this person. | Source

“COULD CARE LESS” MAKES NO SENSE IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT

The correct way to say this is “could not care less.” Think about it for a second. If I say “I could care less about gymnastics” I am actually saying that I do care about it but it is possible for me to care less about it. Is that what you really want to say?

I COULD HAVE BUT I NEVER COULD OF

This is a bastardization of the English language, passed down by generations of, well, bastards. No, I’m kidding, please don’t take that seriously. However, “could of” is not correct. “I could have succeeded if it had not been for some terrible luck”….now that sentence makes sense AND is correct.

SPEAKING OF BASTARDS

Oh my, I seem to have a single-tracked mind now. Okay, enough of the bastard jokes. The word “diligency” is, in fact, not a word. Diligence is a word meaning consistent effort; diligency is not a word and it means you need to have a dictionary nearby at all times.

ELIMINATE FASTLY AS FAST AS POSSIBLE

Again, this word is not a word. Fast is both an adjective and an adverb. Fastly is neither. Use fastly and you will fast be considered an idiot.

This is what bad English looks like
This is what bad English looks like | Source

FINAL ULTIMATUM IS RIDICULOUS

Ultimatum means a final statement of terms. Thus, final ultimatum means a final, final statement of terms, and that is just dumb, dumb.

ONE THAT REALLY DRIVES ME CRAZY

For all intents and purposes, the phrase “for all intensive purposes” should forever be stricken from the English language. Do not use it! It is wrong! It is sloppy! The correct way to say “for all practical purposes” is to say for all intents and purposes.

GUT-WRENCHING IS A WORD; HEART-WRENCHING IS NOT

If you must wrench your heart then say heart-rending. Heart-wrenching is one of those hyphenated words that somehow snuck out the back door of the dictionary and found its way into our street language. I repeat, it is not a word.

YOU HONE A BLADE; YOU DO NOT HONE IN ON ANYTHING

When you home in on something you are aiming at a target. When you hone something you are sharpening it. It is impossible to hone in on a target. I want to see the hands right now; how many of you have written “hone in on” in the past? Well you were wrong. J

More mistakes to avoid

IGNORANT DOES NOT MEAN RUDE

But somehow it has become a synonym for rude rather than a synonym for uneducated. I blame “No Child Left Behind” for this one; somehow when that legislation was passed we left quite a few students behind.

QUIT MISUSING NAUSEOUS

Nauseous means “to cause nausea.” Nauseous means “able to cause nausea.” Thus, you cannot write…I feel nauseous….rather you have to write….I feel nauseated.

SORRY, THERE IS NO QUICKER

The word quick exists. The word quickly exists. The word quicker is a figment of your imagination, passed down to you by equally imaginative people.

SUPPOSE TO OR SUPPOSED TO?

Here is how they should be used. “I know I’m supposed to practice my writing, and I suppose I’ll be sorry if I don’t.” The phrase “suppose to” should never be used.

REOCCURRENCE DOES NOT EXIST

Sorry but it is not a word. Recurrence is a word and it means to occur again. Reoccurence means you should think about getting some more sleep because you are making up words.

There, Now, Don’t You Feel Smarter?

Smarter than the average bear at least, right Yogi?

Hey, I’ve just scratched the surface with boo-boos made by writers. Don’t feel bad; we have all made these mistakes from time to time. It’s easy to do and fortunately, correcting the mistakes is easy to do as well. I am willing to bet that all of you reading this have made at least one of the aforementioned mistakes in the past. Right? Right? Of course you have.

Now, though, you know better. Like I said earlier, using these mistakes in a certain context is perfectly okay. Maybe your main character is a bit, shall we say, ignorant. In that case feel free to toss in all of these mistakes while your character is speaking. If, however, you are writing your query letter to an agent, it might be a good idea to leave these out of that letter.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thanks Michelle. You are a doll. Good luck and I hope you are well.

    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      Just got my book in the mail: 50 Strategies. I'm excited to dig in. I hope you get credit for referring it! Thanks Bill! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, these are mistakes that many English-speaking natives make; for those of you for whom English is a second language, it would be quite normal to make these mistakes. You are doing fine my friend.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Hello Bill.

      Very helpful especially for new-practioner of this though, beautiful, often confusing English language . Surely, (I'm) smarter learning from each of these articles directed to those who's desire is to excel in art of writing.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

      Great day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have too, Lesley! I think we all have at one point or another....so here's a little reminder for all of us. :) Thanks for the visit and have a wonderful weekend.

    • profile image

      Jane Arden 3 years ago

      Another one for my bookmark. Even though English is my mother tongue. Boy, I have done some of these.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Becki! I appreciate the visit.

    • beckisgiftguides profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Very nicely done here! Voted up, UAI.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Michele, and great job on your hub....a really great job.

    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 3 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      Please note I referred the readers of my hub to this hubpage. If that is a problem in any way, feel free to email me on aol. Hope you are having a great day! ~Michele

      Hub I included this one on:

      https://hubpages.com/literature/ImproveHubpageGram...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Deb, deers will drive me right up a wall. I heard one of these in a conversation yesterday and cringed. LOL Happy New Year my friend.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I think nearly everyone had done one or two of these things. My parents were educated people, and I heard them say a couple of these things. Don't forget about 'deer' and 'deers'.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE and Happy New Year to you.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You just know how to lay it out here and with such helpful information writers can be proud of their work.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dusted off it is, Mary, and ready for a picnic. :) Happy New Year my friend.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      I have to admit to bursting out laughing as I read your descriptions. Some so obvious to us, others may be questionable. Either way guess it's time to dust off the picnic basket Yogi!

      Voted up, useful, and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      L.M., that is a very easy one to make. Glad yo u caught it and very happy to have you here. Happy New Year to you.

    • L.M. Hosler profile image

      L.M. Hosler 3 years ago

      I almost made one of those mistakes today with the words chance and change. That is an easy mistake to make. Spell checker doesn't catch it either.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brandi, I laughed while I wrote this. Oh my goodness, I have seen some horrible mistakes while teaching middle school students...and many of those mistakes are still used when those kids become adults. :) Thank you my friend and Happy New Year.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      I laughed all the way through this because I am guilty of almost all of them. Except for "anyway". I tell people "anyways" is not a word all of the time. Most people don't believe me. It sounds like nails scratching on a chalkboard when I hear it. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      L.M., that mistake might be in the top five of all-time grammar mistakes. Affect is the verb....if you can remember that then you've got it made. :) Thank you and Happy New Year.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, I've made that mistake myself a few times. Oh well, live and learn. Thank you and Happy New Year to you as well.

    • L.M. Hosler profile image

      L.M. Hosler 3 years ago

      Great hub as always. I am sure I have made some of those mistakes a time or two. I do have some trouble sometimes with affect and effect on which one to use. Thanks for another interesting, informative hub.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, thanks for the reminders. I'm sure I am guilty of some of these boners, but you are the only one I'd admit that to, Teach! The one that makes me scratch my head is 'in to' and 'into'.

      I wish you and Bev and Happy New Year, my friend ;) Pearl

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, you just named the number one mistake over my eighteen years of correcting papers as a teacher....so you obviously are not alone. "Affect" is a verb.....I will affect you in a positive manner by leaving a good comment on your hub. Easy peasy, right?

      Thanks buddy. Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      Ok, ok have you been reading between my lines? I mean, shoulda woulda coulda are words ain't they?

      But seriously folks, this is dead on. We have gotten so lapse in how we use the English language that it has become acceptable to use poor grammer. Good for you Bill to correct us!

      Now, the one that drives me crazy: when to use "effected" and when to use "affected". I never can be sure when I am right and when I am wrong!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I did that a few months ago...went back and read some of my earlier work...Oh My God! Who wrote that junk? LOL

      Thank you dear friend. Blessings to you always.

      bill

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, this is a very interesting hub, you've set the cat among the pigeons and what a great response!

      I hate going back to read my work because of the careless errors I'm sure to find, but hey!.. this is why God created editors, no? :)

      My best as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vkwok, it is always my pleasure. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, those are actually two of the most common mistakes. They are so common that few people even realize they are incorrect...which leads one to wonder if they really are incorrect now that they have become accepted. :) Oh what a tangled web we weave. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wiccan, I didn't even bother to mention your/you're.....that is so commonplace as to almost seem correct. LOL Thanks for the visit....I love that your daughter is a great proof reader.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Alan, you always entertain. I look forward to your comments so much. Thank you for once again raising the level of discussion.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, there is no doubt that we all have slipped into this kind of writing from time to time. Intelligent or not, an agent or publisher will notice and be duly unimpressed by it. :)

      blessings and a hug my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks John!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nicely stated, Nadine. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are having a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, thank you! We are all paying our dues, aren't we? I know you do....the struggles continue, but if we love what we are doing then the struggles aren't that bad. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martie, that's always the challenge now isn't it? :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, I have no doubt that you see these daily. I know I did when I was teaching.

      Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa, if I had been smart when I was teaching, I would have written down all the mistakes I saw and then written a book about it. I blew my millions right there. :)

      blessings and thanks always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      gitachud, I have enough for a new article now. :) Thanks for the additions.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      fpherj48....Paula...thank you! I have learned to keep my mouth shut regarding errors on other hubs....the best I can do is send a private note so I don't embarrass them in public....but often that is still taken wrongly. I agree...best to just bite the tongue.

      Thanks Sis! I hope your weekend is running smoothly so far.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I love that one...that person just made it into the dum dum Hall of Fame. LOL Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith. I had great fun writing it.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, the odd thing about that particular mistake is that it is so obvious if you just take a look at it.....it makes no sense!!!!! LOL Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, Hail to the bastards! Thank you young lady; I did have fun in the classroom.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara, that's the trick now isn't it...remembering all these darn mistakes. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, good luck with your honing. LOL When we was???? Oh my goodness; certainly no worse than some of our phrases here in the States.

      Have a great weekend my friend and thank you!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      lifegate...LOL....you can say anything you want in my comment section. :) Thank you Sir!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, when I was teaching that was one of the most common mistakes. You aren't alone. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Imogen, it grates on me as well. I like Lizzy's comment that good readers make good writers.....if you haven't taken the time to witness good writing there is no chance of being a good writer....thanks....I didn't mean you.....just you in general for those who don't know the basic rules of writing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, my internet has been down and I'm woefully behind in comments, so I'll make this short.....bravo! LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you dragonflycolor....fpherj48 is one funny lady.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Now these are advice writers should keep in mind. Thanks Bill!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      “COMBINING WORDS INTO AN INCORRECT SINGLE WORD.” Guilty as charged, Billy. I do this too often: Namely, alright and awhile. I frequently forget to check the context in which I use these words. It’s amazing how often we miss what is right in front of us.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Sweet, I always like to appear smarter-- even if it's only an illusion, it's nice to appear that way. I think 'could of' is one of my bigger pet peeves here, but I always hate 'intensive purposes' as well. Nothing beats the great you/you're/your fiasco, though. I've always been a lot better at writing than at editing, though; that goodness my daughter is a great proof reader.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Somehow or t'other my message got garbled and ended with that Swiss cheese being cut off in its prime.

      I was going to add about the worst excesses being exercised by Hollywood scriptwriters (current pet hate) mashing up the English language. Even worse is everybody over here copying the way they talk in 'Cheers', 'Neighbours' (Aussie mash-up) etc.

      At school I had a character sit next to me because he couldn't spell to save his life so he copied off me and still got it wrong (couldn't read my writing), but his maths was healthy enough.

      No names, no pack-drill. After WWII people here used military jargon whether they'd been in uniform or not, and it found its way into the next generation's usage (i.e., us). It faded away by the following generation, now civilians definitely don't understand the argot used by the uniformed masses (even the police). It that what's meant by 'civilised'?

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      hi bill

      It is funny to read this ...how many of us have not appeared intelligent in our writing or speaking??

      As I read this I recalled the times that I heard folks from back in the day (is that an unintelligent phrase, o, dear, I fear it is) who said expressions like this and many others like 'if you've a mind to'.

      I guess in polite company and in formal writing we should refrain from slipping into those expressions from our youth.

      Enjoyed reading this...from beginning to end...

      Know that many Happy New Year Angels and hugs and blessings are headed your way today ps

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      I really hate when people mutilate the English language..My favorites are "I should have went" and I need to loose weight. Fun read and food for thought. Sounds like things are going well for you--you have and continue to pay your dues.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Well said Nadine.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Challenges,Challenges and more Challenges. Personally I feel that Intelligence has nothing to do with writing no matter what language, as long as you have an editor who knows her job in that language. For me it's the content of the writing that reveals the person's intelligence and how it is shared through the written word. I've listened to several different editors about the English language, all from different backgrounds - from the U.S.A, UK, AUS and SA. None of these editors could ever agree on anything. When I listened to their arguments as the author, me being Dutch and on top of that dyslexic, I came to the conclusion that the only editor who knows the content of my writing in depth, and can read between the lines, was the only editor I used in the end, the rest I fired.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks a lot for these tips, Bill. I need more of them. The challenge is to remember them....

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the title to this hub! A lot of the mistakes that you describe appear in the school work that I mark. Thanks for publicizing them.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Bill - I am so disappointed...I don't want to appear intelligent, I want to be more intelligent. :)

      Actually, what I really want is for all my students to be more intelligent, or I at least want them to learn how to use the English language correctly. That alone would make me a pretty happy teacher. :)

      Take Care.

      Theresa

    • gitachud profile image

      David Gitachu 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks for your insightful article. Now I cannot write without wondering the kind of mistakes am making. Let me add two more to your list:

      I can be able to......

      Please avail the documents......

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Please believe me when I tell you that although I KNOW we are all apt to error now and then......I am guilty as can be, at allowing my spine to tingle & the hair on my neck to rise when I HEAR or READ really POOR use (should I have said, usage?) of our English language. I am especially horrified when it is written or spoken by people whom I least expect would do this. Know what I mean? Yes, you know what I mean.

      I greatly appreciate this hub. It's another MUST READ.

      Confession: It has been a difficult journey for me, to adopt the habit of biting my tongue. However, several unpleasant reactions from individuals who are HIGHLY insulted by being corrected....no matter how kindly or gently done....helped me to realize I simply must not do it. I am always pleased and grateful to be corrected. I see a correction as a gift from someone who realizes if I knew BETTER, I would do BETTER.

      Obviously, there those who prefer to continue TO APPEAR IGNORANT......Just do NOT correct them and we'll all get along just fine......as I bite my tongue bloody.

      I tried to keep Daisy away from the computer, but as soon as she came in from the Hog-Roping contest, she insisted on commenting. Her...ah....English classes are coming along...um...er....really well, don't you think?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      My personal favorite was one that my corporate coworkers previously used. Instead of wanting to "touch base" with a client or with one another, they repeatedly wrote that they wanted to "touch basis" with them. It made be giggle to myself and think they were dum-dums. Unnecessary apostrophe's and "quotation marks" also can make you look less than stellar. I love fpher48's response.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      LOl, Dear Bill, I just love your title about appearing to be intelligent! LOL Hilarious. The one that gets me all the time is irregardless! There is no such word folks!

      Thank you for setting us straight, and not one is perfect, but we can at least try!

      Great hub to publish on Friday. A good way to end the week for sure!

      Up and more and sharing.

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I was such a shy student but I always stood up about the I could care less, they all said that was correct and I just knew I couldn't care less and I don't know if it was ever on a test but if it was I got it wrong, cause I was determined I was right. Good to have a smart teacher after all these years!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      If only I had witty teachers like you while I was in school, I might have actually enjoyed learning more! Well, you know what they say...one is never too old to learn, not even the bastards! :)

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      I've seen all of these mistakes and used some of them. Now I wish I could remember all of them.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello Billy,

      Born to British parents living in Africa, I grew up thinking that everyone who lived in England must speak 'kings' English! Not true, many of the inhabitants here barely know how to speak it, never mind write it correctly. Our education system is in complete shambles!

      A common phrase used here is, 'when we was' living in .........

      Now, I am off to hone my writing skills.

      Sally

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Bill,

      I don't suppose I would be allowed to say, "That is the most unique hub I've ever read". Anyways, for all intensive purposes, that was a great hub, even though I read as fastly as possible. Thanks as always!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Oops Imogen, I admit to having trouble with 'affect' and 'effect'. I know I shouldn't, must be a mental block there somewhere. I really need to be more careful with these.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England

      Well, you have stirred up some strong feelings here. "Could of" - also one of my pet hates, along with the confusion between "affect" and "effect", "comprised of" instead of "comprising" or "composed of", the misuse of "there" and "their" ... the list is endless, and each one grates on me terribly when I read it, making me dismiss the writer as a fool - a little harsh of me perhaps, but you know what I mean. We all slip occasionally, I guess, so thanks for the reminders, written in your usual humorous and eloquent style.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Oh, my gosh! "It's déjà vu all over again!" I've written more than one hub on this topic, and it galls me no end that people continue to make these ignorant errors.

      English IS a tough language, and since you "went there," I'll continue, claiming that the entire language is a bastard language, having borrowed words and grammar from everything from Latin to German to French and more. No wonder it's confusing!

      Your mention of "could of" is one that particularly sets my teeth on edge. I do, however, know the source of this one. It is a mis-hearing, or misunderstanding of the contraction form, "could've," perhaps by those who have never seen that usage in print.

      People who will not read do not make good writers; the best way to look uneducated is to refuse to read for entertainment as well as just for school.

      Another pet peeve: people who substitute "shutter" when they mean "shudder."

      Now, if you want to add some real confusion to the issue--try looking up why "Ambulatory" (able to walk) sounds as if it should share a root with "Ambulance" (a vehicle for transporting critically ill or injured people unable to walk)--a totally opposite meaning. The answer will surprise you.

      (And LMAO @ fpherj48's comment!)

      Voted up, interesting, useful, shared and pinned.

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      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      fpherj48, that was the funniest response yet!

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      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Well, billy-buc-a-roo......Ah'll be gol-derned. Sum a dis stuff, ah awreddy knowed. but a hole dern crap lode, shur dun edyakated me. speshlee that thar movie pikchur ya'all put in thar. ah luv it. ain't nuthin lok lurnin how to tawk gud. thank ya kahndlee. ya'all r a rockin boss man.

      I dun neer plum fell on mah ass wen i seed we dont need to be dubble spacin tween sentises! HO LEEE....that thar was a reel SUPRAHZ!!!

      Ah luv U billi boy, xxxoooDaisy.

      (I'll lay odds.....THIS is exactly what you expected of lil ole me!) :)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, thanks for the classic comment. An N instead of an M? Maybe we all come from ancestors who were illiterate and could not spell. Maybe it's as simple as that. LOL

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, I just knew you could solve the riddle for us. :) Germans with their pork sausages indeed my friend. We are a mish-mash sort of people here in the States and we rarely know what's good for us. Thanks for the laugh.

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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Billybuc in the "YOU DO NOT HONE IN ON ANYTHING?"

      But, you do HOME in on your target. You have homed in on your readers. Pigeons home in on their roost.

      I think this was just someone using an N instead of an M.

      I know I make a lot of mistakes and I am trying to HONE my writing skills, but with a living language like ours it is hard.

      Voted up, UAI, shared.

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      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello, hello... rumblings from across the Pond? Not happy with your inheritance? Tut-tut!

      Let's face it, when these Pilgrim Fathers disembarked from their leaky old ships on t'other bank they took their East Anglian and Devon usage. Then down the years other clodhoppers came along and stirred the mixture to their liking, Germans with their pork sausages, Swiss with their holey ch

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I tell that to all of my foreign-born friends who are trying to learn this language. This may well be one of the hardest languages to learn, and I'm always impressed when someone learns to speak it better than most people born here in the U.S.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, I agree, it is one of the most misused words in the language and I hear it constantly and see it in print constantly. I wonder where that little trend started? Oh well, now we are armed with the truth. :) Thank you as always for your visit and I'm glad you got a laugh out of this.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donna, why is it always LOL....lol says the same thing, right? :)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, the older I get the more I ask myself "is that right?" I seem to have forgotten quite a bit over the past few decades. :) Don't tell anyone, okay? LOL

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joelle, that's interesting. I guess when I think about it, it makes sense that all languages have these grammatical errors inherent in the language. Thanks for mentioning that.

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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, I love the title of this one. It's amazing how many mistakes we (me) make on a daily basis. English is not easy, even for those who speak it as their primary language. Thanks for the lesson.

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      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Yes, I do feel smarter, Bill, and I also feel cheerful from all the laughs. Great hub.

      I'm so glad you included misuse of the word "nauseous"--one of my pet peeves because I read and hear it so much. What frustrates me intensely is that it's frequently used by published authors who should know better, as well as in movies and TV shows whose scriptwriters should also know better. Then, there are talk show hosts, news reporters and narrators of documentaries who insist on saying "nauseous" when they should say "nauseated." Arrgghh! It makes me nauseated! (Ah...I feel better after that rant.)

      Voted Up+++ and shared

      Jaye

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      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      Maybe I will have to write that one, lol (or is it LOL?).

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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi billy, I totally agree with you, I know I make mistakes too, and sometimes sit there scratching my head thinking, was that right? lol! the one thing I have noticed reading American articles is that you all say could care less ' over here in England we always say 'I couldn't care less' so I did think that was strange I must admit! lol! great words and advice as always, nell

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm a little surprised I forgot "irregardless" too, Donna. LOL Oh well, there can always be another article, right?

      Have a great weekend and thank you.

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      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      Irregardless, I think you have made quite the little article here. I'm surprised that word didn't make it into the article. American Dad episode "Irregarding Steve", was centered on an article based on that adulteration of regardless.

      As you know, I feel the same way about "No Child Left Behind".

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, you are asking the wrong person about Word tools. I'm brain dead when it comes to technology of any sort. :) I do know that at times Word is wrong as you pointed out. I'm glad we enlightened you about all right instead of alright. :)

      Have a great weekend.

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      Melissa Propp 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Great list! Okay, I definitely have committed a sin or two, but I'm not going to admit to which ones....But thanks to you, I won't make those mistakes again!

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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I know that some of the mistakes I make are because some English words are translated by the same word in French. For example, "do" and "make" are translate by "faire" in French. So I had to learn when to use which.... and I am sure that I am still choosing sometimes the wrong one ;-)

      But what you say in your article is true in any language (I think). I can see some of these mistakes in French. I am sure I have heard people use the word "ultimatum" with "final" associate to it in French as well.... as many other things that don't make sense.

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Well, I've learned something. For 56 years, I thought 'alright' was another way of saying 'okay'. I just looked it up and although, the word is used frequently, it is not proper English. The single space between sentences gets me all the time. I grew up with the rule of double spacing between sentences. I have to catch myself every time. It just doesn't seem comfortable to me, but I'll work on it. I also wasn't aware of the quote block. Is that tool available somewhere in Word?

      One thing I have noticed about Word spell/grammar check is it wants the writer to separate my self, him self, etc. I'm relieved to know I'm right and the tool is wrong! Myself, himself, herself and itself are words, Word!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donna, great comment. We all have used these words....and sometimes they seem like the only word that fits. :) Thanks for stopping by.

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      Donaisabella 3 years ago from Fort Myers

      Hi Bill, I actually don't feel smarter, I feel a little dumb for even entertaining some of those words. Thanks for sharing

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...thanks Sheila. I'm trying to remember who was first credited with that phrase....for whatever reason I want to say it was Yogi Berra...sounds like something he would say. :)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, they do indeed. I'm not all that convinced the staff of HP knows any more about writing and grammar than we do. :) Shhh, don't tell them I said that. LOL