Stop the Press! 10 Commonly Misspelled Words

photo and art by  Dionna Hayden

photo and art by Dionna Hayden

Remember the good ole days when we participated in spelling bees? We would be in the running for champ until a single misspelling knocked us out the competition. My moment was in the 7th grade, I was quickly moving towards the title, until being taken down by a carelessly absent "u" in "manufacture"---ARGH, the tragedy! Thankfully, at the age of 12, I didn't have much to lose; but now as a working professional, the effects of misspelling becomes a horse of an entirely different color.

For all that read this post, seeking and receiving professional graphic and print services, I come with a friendly warning. As brilliant as the human mind is, it's prone to make mistakes and no one is exempt! So it's imperative to carefully proof your work for dear life of any mistakes before signing off on a job that can either make your business or break your pocket books fixing it. Consider the recent incidents of Wet Seal's tunic shirt typo disaster and the embarrassment of the Vatican misspelling Jesus' name on a papal medal; mind slips DO happen to ANY and EVERYone! So to help buffer this nightmarish trend from happening to your business affairs, I present to you 10 commonly misspelled words in the English language. Enjoy!

Affect/ Effect:
Affect - to change.
Effect - result.

A lot/ Alot:
A lot - very or many.
”Alot” isn’t a word.

Accept/ Except:
Accept - to receive willingly, to approve, to agree.
Except - exclusion or leave out.

Ensure/ Insure:
Ensure - to make sure.
Insure - to hedge against loss.

Its/ It's:
Its -  possessive of "it".
It’s -  contraction of "it is".

Their/ There/ They're:
Their -  possessive word that shows ownership of something.
There - place or position.
They're - contraction of "they are".

To/ Too:
To - preposition i.e. "I went to school" or part of an infinitive as in "to go, to work".
Too - also i.e. "I like you too" or in excess as in "That is too much".

Weather/ Whether:
Weather - the atmospheric conditions in area, with regard to sun, cloud, temperature, wind and rain.
Whether - introduces indirect question involving alternative possibilities.

Who's/ Whose:
Whose - the possessive form of “who” i.e. "Whose books are these?"
Who's - contraction of "who is".

Your/ You're:
Your - possessive case of "you".
You're - contraction of "you are".


Although we are aware that mistakes are a part of everyday life, there is hope to avoiding the worst case scenarios from happening to our work. With regular practice, these pointers can greatly improve the approval process before production.

Use a spell checker!
This may seem like an obvious solution, but yet not always practiced. For safe measure, use a spell checker for the entire piece you are prepping before and after handing it over to the designer. For added security, double check it. The extra few minutes could mean a world of difference.

Avoid tight deadlines at all times if possible.
Giving yourself ample time to review proofs is a great option because it gives you time to check over the work, sleep on it and get back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. This can work wonders for what you are able to catch later that you may not have caught before. If all you have is very little time, take at least a fraction of it to give yourself a quick break for a better chance to spot potential errors. It's always best to be safe than sorry!

Get an extra set of eyes.
Sometimes errors can slip right through without you realizing it, especially those tricky heterograph words (like the ones listed above). So use an additional person or two to help you review proofs, even for the most simple projects, to assure everything is good to go.