Ever experienced that moment after you press send and reread your email only to realize you've let some typos sneak in? Avoid that icky feeling from here on out by being hyper aware of some of the most common missteps. Whether you're applying for a job (don't forget to triple check that cover letter!) or sending emails to the boss, you don't want to look unprofessional by making mistakes that can easily be avoided. Here are some words you're bound to use in the working world and how to master them.
Misspellings to keep in mind
- Amateur: The vowels at the end can get tricky, but pretend you are texting an Australian friend and say, "a mate u r."
- Definitely: Just think of the word "definite" and add an -ly to the end. Never put an "A" in definitely.
- Referred: Some people spell it refferred or refered, but remember it as a combination of two words: refer + red.
- Separate: Not spelled "seperate," separate will be easy to write out if you think of a grade-school trick — there is always "a rat" in the word.
- Occurrence: Ditch the singles and double up on the first two consonants for this one. Pretty soon it will become a regular occurrence.
- Affect vs effect: This one is tricky because just one letter can throw you off. Typically, "affect" is a verb and "effect" is a noun. If you can substitute a verb for affect, then you'll know that you're using it right (I was affected by the merger; I was surprised by the merger).
- Loose vs. lose: Saying these words out loud will help you distinguish the two. "Loose" means not tight (The letter on my keyboard is loose). "Lose" is the opposite of win (We will lose this client if we don't pay him more attention).
- You're vs. your: Although you probably learned this one in grade school, it's easy to type one word when you really mean the other. "You're" is shorthand for "you are." The word "your" indicates possession (You're not going to believe how much they loved your presentation).
- Who vs. whom: Even a grammar wiz can get these two confused from time to time. But if you can switch the sentence around so that you use the word "him" as opposed to "he," then "whom" is the way to go. For example, instead of saying, "Sam is the guy whom we interviewed for the position," you could say "We interviewed him for the position." But in reversing the sentence "Sam is the guy who got the job," you would say, "He is the guy who got the job."
- Its vs. it's: "It's" is a contraction for "it is" or "it has," whereas "its" signals possession. Actually saying "it is" aloud will remind you of the difference.
- Every day vs. everyday: They key here is to know that "everyday" is an adjective, and "every day" is a phrase. If you can replace "every" with "each," then what you mean to use is the two-word phrase.
- Than vs. then: These two words are easy to confuse because they sound almost identical. But remember that "than" is used to compare something (I think this partnership is a better bet than the other), while "then" is used for time (First we called her, then we followed up with an email).
Do you have any tricks for remedying common mistakes?