Okay, so no-one is perfect…I may be an editor and proofreader who spends her days correcting other people’s mistakes, but just like I see the same errors over and over—such as ‘loose’ instead of ‘lose’ and ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’ (which I previously featured on this blog)—there are four words that consistently trip me up. They are:
Here is a tutorial on how to spell them. This time it’s for myself just as much as for all of you!
– Restaurant: the part that confuses me is the ‘au’; for some reason my brain always wants to transpose it to ‘ua’. The only way to trick my brain into not transposing it is to sound it out—I know it should sound like ‘rest-or-rant’ and if it were spelled with a ‘ua’ it would be pronounced ‘rest-you-a-rant’. I know once I sound it out that ‘rest-you-a-rant’ is incorrect, so therefore I know it has to be ‘au’ and not ‘ua’. The crazy thing is that I have this inner conversation every time I need to spell this word. Unlike thousands of other words for which the correct spelling is natural to me, this word requires an inner dialog each time!
– Tomorrow: is it one m and two r’s, two m’s and one r, or two of each? As I was writing this, I came up with a trick to remember it—there are two syllables and the first one is a man’s name (Tom). Since the name is not spelled ‘Tomm’ and my brain now knows the man’s name rule, I should have no problem remembering that it’s spelled ‘tomorrow’ as opposed to ‘tommorow’ or ‘tommorrow’. Hope that trick helps you all too!
– Desperate: For some reason my brain wants to spell it ‘desparate’. I suppose because of the way it is pronounced—des-pah-rate. It assumes the ‘pah’ sound should be ‘pa’ not ‘pe’.
Either way, remember that when you are desperate for editing and proofreading help, I’d love to be your go-to proofreader!
– Separate: The reason for my confusion with separate is similar to that of desperate. However, here my presumptuous, know-it-all brain feels there should be two versions of the word; one spelled ‘separate’ as in “If you want to do the laundry by colors, we will need to separate all the clothes” and another spelled ‘seperate’ as in “There is seperate seating for boys and girls.”
One last: “I’m desparate to go to the restuarant tommorrow to seperate eggs” should be “I’m desperate to go to the restaurant tomorrow to separate eggs” or better yet:
“I want to go to the eating establishment really badly the day after today to remove the yolk and albumen from their eggshells.”
I hope the previous line made you smile; if not, you’re in desperate need of a separate restaurant tomorrow!
Yours in crisp, error-free writing,