10 of the Most Common Spelling Mistakes in English


Writing has never been an easy task, not even if you’re a native English speaker. There are so many factors you must consider and one of the most common errors is spelling mistakes or confusing words. Some words may look similar or even sound similar, but they have different meanings. We’ve gathered some of the most common spelling mistakes for you. Let’s get started. 

1. Affect or effect?

They’re both words with different meanings. When you use affect as a verb, it usually means to change, impact (verb), alter, or influence. It’s usually confused with effect (usually used as a noun) which means results, outcome, consequence, or impact (noun). 

Example 1 – Insomnia can affect your performance at work. 

Example 2 – A flood is an effect of heavy rain. 

2. It’s or its?

“It’s” is an abbreviated form (short form) of ‘it is’ and ‘it has’ while “its” shows ownership like when you use the word my, your, her, and his. 

Example 1 – It’s my responsibility to take care of my sister. 

Example 2 – That dog loves its owner to death. 

3. Whole or hole?

When something is whole, it means it’s complete. It can also mean entire or all together and is usually used as an adjective describing a noun. 

On the other hand, hole means something totally different. It’s a noun that means a hollow space like a hole on the ground. 

Example 1 – I’ve been studying Thai my whole life. 

Example 2 – There’s a rabbit hole in the backyard. 

a Sample Edit


4. They’re, their, or there?

You might not believe it, but people get confused with these 3 musketeers all the time, even native speakers! So, to make it simple, they’re is a contraction of ‘they are’, while there can be used as an adverb of a place or used as a pronoun to introduce something in a sentence. Lastly, their is a possessive pronoun that shows ownership just like the word mine or yours. 

Example 1 – Lily’s dog is over there. 

Example 2 – They’re going to a concert for their daughter’s performance.  

5. Lose or loose?

Did I just lose an explanation of these two words? I hope not! As you can see, the word lose is a verb that means you’re unable to find something, or it can also mean the opposite of the word win, while loose is an adjective that means the opposite of tight. 

Example 1 – If I don’t perform better at work, I’ll lose my job soon. 

Example 2 – I lost a lot of weight. These pants are loose now! 

6. Your or you’re?

Now, these are the other easy but slightly tricky ones. To make this simple for you, your is a possessive adjective that shows ownership, but you’re is a contraction of ‘you are’.  

Example 1 – Your books are on the desk. 

Example 2 – You’re an amazing person. 

7. Desert or dessert?

Both words are nouns, but they mean totally different things and are often confused when it comes to writing more than speaking. 

Desert is a place full of sand like the Sahara Desert where it is hot and dry. 

Dessert is sweet stuff (that’s why the word has a double ‘s’) that can cause you diabetes if you have too much of it, and trust me, you don’t want that! 

Example 1 – The Sahara is the hottest desert in the world. 

Example 2 – Miki’s favorite dessert is chocolate cake. 

a Sample Edit


8. Patients or patience?

These two words may sound the same, but the meanings are different. Patience is a noun that means the ability to tolerate problems or wait for a long time. When a person has patience, he or she is being patient (in this case, the word patient is an adjective so you will never need ‘s’ for that).  

Patients is a noun as well. It’s the plural of the word patient (noun) which means an ill person that needs medical care. 

Example – Those patients at the hospital must have a lot of patience to be able to wait that long. 

9. To or too?

To is a preposition that tells you direction or motion toward something, somewhere, or someone while too is used as an adverb that means more, as well, or excessive. 

Example 1 – I’m eating that ice cream too! 

Example 2 – My husband and I are going to a mall this weekend. 

10. Accept or except?

When someone says he’s accepting something, that means he’s receiving that something willingly (the word accept is a verb). When it comes to except, though, it means you leave something out, skip it, exclude it from a list or a group. However, except can mean but, unless, and only as well. 

Example 1 – Jane accepted her boyfriend’s proposal. 

Example 2 – Everyone will be joining this trip except Joe. 

While we’ve introduced you to these common spelling mistakes, there are still so many other commonly confused and misspelled words out there. That’s why proofreading is so important if you’re working on a thesis, document, blog, or even an essay. Having at least 2 different people proofread the work for you is an effective way to ensure the quality of your papers. 

That’s why proofreading Asia is the most popular proofreading and editing service in Thailand. Contact Proofreading Asia today for a free quote! 

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