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Common errors in English usage - misspelled words list - daily 10 words - Part 3


When you're hit over the head, the instrument could be a "lead" pipe.
But when it's a verb, "lead" is the present and "led" is the past tense.
The problem is that the past tense is pronounced exactly like the
above-mentioned plumbing material ("plumb" comes from a word meaning
"lead"), so people confuse the two. In a sentence like "She led us to
the scene of the crime," always use the three-letter spelling.


"Marital" refers to marriage, "martial" to war, whose ancient god was
Mars. These two are often swapped, with comical results.


Some dialects substitute "near" for standard "nearly" in statements like
"There weren't nearly enough screws in the kit to finish assembling the


The misspelling of the two-word phrase "of course" as "ofcourse" should
be caught by any good spelling-checker, but it seems to be extremely


If you paid attention in school, you know that the past tense of "pay"
is "paid" except in the special sense that has to do with ropes: "He
payed out the line to the smuggler in the rowboat."


This is probably caused by a slip of the fingers more often than by a
slip of the mental gears, but one often sees "quite" (very) substituted
for "quiet" (shhh!). This is one of those common errors your spelling
checker will not catch, so look out for it.


Computer programmers have been heard to say "the program's been ran,"
when what they mean is "the program's been run."


"Seem" is the verb, "seam" the noun. Use "seam" only for things like the
line produced when two pieces of cloth are sewn together or a thread of
coal in a geological formation.


When comparing one thing with another you may find that one is more
appealing "than" another. "Than" is the word you want when doing
comparisons. But if you are talking about time, choose "then": "First
you separate the eggs; then you beat the whites." Alexis is smarter than
I, not "then I."


You can stress points by underlining them, but it's "underlying" in
expressions like "underlying story," "underlying motive," and
"underlying principle."

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