Your trusty proofreader is still in holiday mode but I thought I’d share some mixed-up sets of words that you may hear, or see, often.
- In the throws [throes]: This was in a major newspaper. I guess they can’t afford editors any more.
- Please be more pacific [specific]: This is a classic but I don’t see it very often in copy. You’re more likely to hear it.
- Predominately [predominantly]: This is another one that pays the mortgage.
- Tenents [tenets]: This one has surfaced a few times recently. I can only assume that the writer learned the word aurally, not visually…and has bad hearing.
- Brought/bought: It surprises me still when I read, for example, ‘She bought her friend to the party’ or ‘I brought a new folder yesterday’.
- Horde/hoard: It can be quite funny when these get mixed up.
- Foregone/forgone: Oldies but goodies. I admit that I have to stop and think most times I come across these. My little mantra is: ‘Fore is before.’
- Slither/sliver: I can’t count how many times I hear people say, for example: “I’ll just have a tiny slither of cake.” Snakes slither; what they want is a sliver.
- Miniscule [minuscule]: I understand how this error happens. Small = ‘mini’. However, the word derives from the Latin, ‘minus’, or less, rather than from ‘minimum’ meaning smallest or least.
And just for fun: found by the eagle-eyed Aysha, who should be doing my job but I’m pretty sure hers pays better.
I was hoping to get to 10 sets of mixed up words but I can’t think of any others. Can you? Let me know and I can get to double digits.