'Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.'

Charles Eames

'To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.'
Milton Glaser

Below is a open source document that is a list of the most often spelt wrongly words, choose one and learn it, think of a sentence to use it in during the lesson

 

A

  • abdicate, abrogate, and arrogate. To abdicate  is to resign from the throne, or more loosely to cast off a responsibility. To abrogate  is to repeal a law or abolish an arrangement. To arrogate  is to attempt to take on a right or responsibility to which one is not entitled.
    • Standard : Edward VIII abdicated from the throne of the United Kingdom.
    • Standard : Henry VIII abrogated Welsh customary law.
    • Non-standard : John abrogated all responsibility for the catering arrangements (should be "abdicated")
    • Non-standard : You should not abrogate to yourself the whole honour of the President's visit (should be "arrogate")
  • accept and except. While they sound similar, except  is a preposition that means "apart from", while accept  is a verb that means "agree with", "take in", or "receive". Except  is also rarely used as a verb, meaning to leave out.
    • Standard : We accept all major credit cards, except Diners Club.
    • Standard : Men are fools... present company excepted! (Which means "present company excluded")
    • Non-standard : I had trouble making friends with them; I never felt excepted.
    • Non-standard : We all went swimming, accept for Jack.
  • acute and chronic. Acute  means "sharp", as an acute illness is one that rapidly worsens and reaches a crisis. A chronic  illness may also be a severe one, but it is long-lasting or lingering.
    • Standard : She was treated with epinephrine during an acute asthma attack.
    • Standard : It is not a terminal illness, but it does cause chronic pain.
    • Non-standard : I have suffered from acute asthma for twenty years.
    • Non-standard : I just started feeling this chronic pain in my back.
  • adverse and averse. Adverse  means unfavorable, contrary or hostile. Averse  means having a strong feeling of opposition, antipathy, or repugnance.
    • Standard : They sailed despite adverse weather conditions.
    • Standard : He was averse to taking his medicine.
    • Non-standard : He is not adverse to having a drink now and then.
  • affect and effect. The verb affect  means "to influence something", and the noun effect  means "the result of". Effect  can also be a verb that means "to cause [something] to be", while affect as a noun has technical meanings in psychology, music, and aesthetic theory: an emotion or subjectively experienced feeling.
    • Standard . This poem affected me so much that I cried.
    • Standard . Temperature has an effect on reaction spontaneity.
    • Standard . The dynamite effected the wall's collapse.
    • Standard . He seemed completely devoid of affect.
    • Non-standard . The rain effected our plans for the day.
    • Non-standard . We tried appeasing the rain gods, but to no affect.
  • aggravate and mitigate. Aggravate  means "to make worse". Mitigate  means "to make less bad". " Mitigating factor" refers to something that affects someone's case by lessening the degree of blame, not anything that has any effect at all.
  • algorithm and logarithm. An algorithm  is a sequence of instructions, often used for calculation and processing data. A logarithm  is a mathematical function that indicates, for a given base, the power (i.e. exponent) to which the base must be raised in order to produce that number.
    • Standard . The manager developed an algorithm by which he could determine which candidate would best meet the needs of the company.
    • Standard . The pH is equivalent to the negative logarithm of the concentration of hydrogen ions in solution. Thus, a solution of pH 6.2 will have an [H+] concentration of 10 −6.2  mol/L
  • allusion, illusion, and hallucination. An allusion  is an indirect or metaphorical reference to something; an illusion  is a false picture of something that is there; a hallucination  is the seeing of something that is not there.
  • assume: to suppose to be true, especially without proof, and presume: to take for granted as being true in the absence of proof to the contrary. Presume  can also mean "take excessive liberties", as in the adjective form "presumptuous".
    • Standard . They had assumed that they were alone, so they were surprised when they heard a third voice join their song.
    • Standard . Doctor Livingstone, I presume?
  • assure: to intend to give the listener confidence, and ensure: to make certain of, and insure: to purchase insurance.
    • Standard . I assure you that I will have your car washed by the time you return.
    • Standard . When you mow the lawn, ensure there are no foreign objects in the grass.
    • Standard . I plan on purchasing the collision policy when I insure my car.

B to D

  • cache and cachet. A cache  (IPA: kæʃ) is a storage place from which items may be quickly retrieved. A cachet  (IPA: /kaʃˈɛɪ/) is a seal or mark, like a wax seal on an envelope or a mark of authenticity on a product. Note that cachet  is almost always used figuratively to mean "marked by excellence, distinction or superiority".
    • Standard : The pirates buried a cache of jewels near the coast.
    • Standard : Living in New York City definitely has a certain cachet.
    • Non-standard : If your web browser is running slowly, try emptying the cachet.
  • can't and cant. Can't  is a contraction of cannot . Cant  has a number of different meanings, including a slope or slant, or a kind of slang or jargon spoken by a particular group of people. "Canting arms" is a coat-of-arms which represent meaning of the bearer's surname.
    • Standard : I can't understand the dialogue in this book because it is written in cant.
    • Standard : Heralds don't pun; they cant
    • Non-standard : I cant swim; I have never taken lessons.
  • complementary and complimentary. Things or people that go together well are complementary , whereas complimentary  refers to a free bonus gift item or giving someone a compliment.
    • Standard : Orange and blue are complementary colors.
    • Standard : This sales item comes with a complimentary gift.
    • Standard : Jane was very complimentary about your new home.
  • contiguous, continual, and continuous. Contiguous  means "touching" or "adjoining in space"; continual  means "repeated in rapid succession"; continuous  means "uninterrupted" (in time or space).
    • Standard : Alaska is not one of the forty-eight contiguous states.
    • Standard : The field was surrounded by a continuous fence.
    • Standard : The continuous murmur of the stream.
    • Standard : His continual interruptions are very irritating.
  • dawn and sunrise. Dawn  is frequently used to mean "sunrise", but technically it means the twilight period immediately before sunrise.
  • diffuse and defuse. To diffuse  is to disperse randomly, whereas to defuse  is to remove the fuse from a bomb, or in general to render a situation less dangerous. Diffuse  can also be used as an adjective, meaning "not concentrated".
    • Standard : The situation was defused when Sandy explained that he was gay, and had no interest in Frank's wife.
    • Standard : The smell of urine slowly diffused into the still air of the hall.
    • Standard : The spotlights were turned off, leaving the stage lit by the diffuse glow of the lanterns.
  • disassemble and dissemble. To disassemble  means "to dismantle" (e.g. to take a machine code program apart to see how it works); to dissemble  means "to tell lies".
  • disburse and disperse. Disburse  means "to give out", especially money. Disperse  means "to scatter".
  • discreet and discrete. Discrete  means "having separate parts", as opposed to contiguous. Discreet  means "circumspect".
  • disinterested and uninterested. To be disinterested  in something means to not be biased about something (i.e. to have no personal stake in a particular side of an issue). To be uninterested  means to not be interested in or intrigued by something.
    • Standard : As their mutual best friend, I tried to remain disinterested in their argument so as not to anger either.
    • Standard : Though his initial reaction suggested otherwise, he maintains that he remains uninterested in the business proposition.
    • Non-standard : The key to attracting a member of the opposite sex is to balance between giving attention to him or her and appearing disinterested.
  • dissect and bisect. Bisect  means "to cut into two"; dissect  means "to cut apart", both literally and figuratively. Disect  is an archaic word meaning "to separate by cutting", but has not been in common use since the 17th century.
    • Standard : We dissected the eye of a bull in biology class today.
    • Standard : She dissected Smith's dissertation, pointing out scores of errors.
    • Standard : The Americas are bisected by the Panama canal.
    • Non-standard : We disected the eye of a bull in biology class today.

E to H

 

  • economic and economical. Economic  means "having to do with the economy". Economical  means "financially prudent, frugal" and also figuratively in the sense "sparing use" (of time, language, etc.)
    • Standard : Buying in bulk can often be the most economical choice.
    • Standard : The actor should be economical in his use of movement.
    • Standard : He attended the School of Economic and Business Sciences.
    • Non-standard : Leading economical indicators suggest that a recession may be on the horizon.
    • Non-standard : The actor should be economic in his use of movement.
  • e.g. and i.e. The abbreviation e.g.  stands for the Latin exempli gratiā  "for example", and should be used when the example(s) given are just one or a few of many. The abbreviation i.e.  stands for the Latin id est  "that is", and is used to give the only example(s) or to otherwise qualify the statement just made.
    • Standard : A Briton is a British citizen, e.g. John Lennon.
    • Standard : Tolkien's The Hobbit  is named after its protagonist, i.e., Bilbo Baggins.
    • Non-standard : A Briton is a British citizen, i.e., Paul McCartney (at the last count, there were about 60 million Britons—Sir Paul is far from being the only one)
  • emigrate is the process of leaving a country; immigrate is the process of arriving in a country—in both cases, indefinitely.
  • eminent, preeminent, imminent, and immanent. Eminent , originally meaning "emerging", means "illustrious or highly-regarded". Preeminent  means "most highly-regarded". Imminent  means "about to occur". Immanent  (less common than the other two, and often theological) means "indwelling, pervading".
    • Standard : The eminent doctor Jones testified on behalf of the defence.
    • Standard : Rumours that war was imminent soon spread through the population.
    • Standard : God's grace is immanent throughout the entire creation.
  • exacerbate and exasperate. Exacerbate  means "to make worse". Exasperate  means "to exhaust", usually someone's patience.
    • Standard : Treatment by untrained personnel can exacerbate injuries.
    • Standard : Do not let Jack talk to the state trooper; he is tactless and will just exasperate her.
  • flesh and flush. To flesh out  is to add flesh to a skeleton, or metaphorically to add substance to an incomplete rendering. To flush out  is to cause game fowl to take to flight, or to frighten any quarry from a place of concealment.
    • Standard : The forensic pathologist will flesh out the skull with clay.
    • Standard : The beaters flushed out the game with drums and torches.
    • Non-standard : This outline is incomplete and must be flushed out.
  • flounder and founder. To flounder  is to be clumsy, confused, indecisive or to flop around like a fish out of water. A flounder is also a type of flatfish. To founder  is to fill with water and sink.
    • Standard : The ship is damaged and may founder.
    • Standard : She was floundering on the balance beam.
    • Non-standard : The ship is damaged and may flounder.
  • flout and flaunt. One flouts  a rule or law by flagrantly ignoring it. One flaunts  something by showing it off.
    • Standard : If you have it, flaunt it.
    • Standard : He continually flouted the speed limit.
    • Non-standard : If you have it, flout it.
    • Non-standard : He continually flaunted the speed limit.
  • hay and straw. Hay  is a grassy plant used as animal fodder, while straw  is the dry stalk of a cereal plant (e.g., barley, oats, rice, rye), after the grain or seed has been removed. It is used to line an animal's stall or for insulation.
  • hang. To hang  something or someone in the present tense, one uses the same form. In the past, however, pictures are hung  and criminals are hanged .
  • hangar and hanger. The aeroplane is in the hangar; the coat is on the hanger.
  • historic and historical. In strict usage, historic  describes an event of importance—one that shaped history or is likely to do so. Historical  merely describes something that happened in the past.
    • Standard : The president made a(n) historic announcement. (The announcement was of historical importance.)
    • Non-standard : The office kept an archive of historic records. (The records are not necessarily of historical importance—they are simply records from the past.)
  • hoard and horde. A hoard  is a store or accumulation of things. A horde  is a large group of people.
    • Standard : A horde of shoppers lined up to be the first to buy the new gizmo.
    • Standard : He has a hoard of discontinued rare cards.
    • Non-standard : Do not horde the candy, share it.
    • Non-standard : The hoard charged when the horns sounded.

I to J

 

  • imply and infer. Something is implied  if it is a suggestion intended by the person speaking, whereas a conclusion is inferred  if it is reached by the person listening.
    • Standard : When Tony told me he had no money, he was implying that I should give him some.
    • Standard : When Tony told me he had no money, I inferred that I should give him some.
    • Non-standard : When Tony told me he had no money, he was inferring that I should give him some.
  • inherent and inherit. A part inherent in  X is logically inseparable from X. To inherit  is a verb, meaning "pass down a generation".
    • Standard : Risk is inherent in the stock market.
    • Standard : The next president inherits a legacy of mistrust and fear.
    • Non-standard : There is violence inherit in the system.
  • it's and its. It's  is a contraction that replaces it is  or it has  (see apostrophe). Its  is the possessive determiner corresponding to it , meaning "belonging to it".
    • Standard : It's time to eat!
    • Standard : My cell phone has poor reception because its antenna is broken.
    • Standard : It's been nice getting to meet you.
    • Non-standard : Its good to be the king.
    • Non-standard : The bicycle tire had lost all of it's pressure.
  • irony. Something is ironic  if it is the opposite of what is appropriate, expected, or fitting.
    • Standard : It is ironic that the center for the handicapped has no wheelchair ramp.
    • Standard : It is ironic that Alanis Morissette wrote a song called " Ironic" about things that are supposedly ironic even though she evidently does not know what constitutes irony.
    • Non-standard : It is ironic that Bill O'Reilly is right-handed and conservative while Bill Clinton is left-handed and liberal.
    • Non-standard : It is raining on our wedding day! Is it not ironic?

K to L

 

  • lay ( lay , laid , laid , laying ) and lie ( lie , lay , lain , lying ) are often used synonymously. Lay  is a transitive verb, meaning that it takes an object. "To lay something" means to place something. Lie , on the other hand, is intransitive and means to recline (and also to tell untruths, but in this case the verb is regular and causes no confusion). The distinction between these related verbs is further blurred by the fact that past tense of lie  is lay . An easy rule of thumb is to replace the words with sit  and set . If sit  makes sense (e.g. sit down) then lie  should be used (lie down). If the sentence works with set  (e.g. set the book on the table) then lay  should be used (lay the book on the table).
    • Standard : I lay my husband's work clothes out for him every morning. Yesterday, I decided to see if he paid attention to what I was doing, so I laid out one white sock and one black. He did not notice!
    • Standard : You should not lie down right after eating a large meal. Yesterday, I lay on my bed for half an hour after dinner, and suffered indigestion as a result. My wife saw me lying there and made me get up; she told me that if I had waited for a couple of hours I could have lain down in perfect comfort.
    • Non-standard : Is this bed comfortable when you lay on it? (Should be lie )
    • Non-standard : Yesterday I lied down in my office during the lunch hour. (Should be lay )
    • Non-standard : There was no reason for him to have laid down in the middle of the path, it unnerved me to see him laying there saying nothing. (Should be "have lain down" and "him lying there")
    • Non-standard : Lie the baby down, and change his diaper (Should be "lay", as "lie" is intransitive)
    • Non-standard : "It could be easy for those guys to lay down. After I left, they could have just laid down.
    • Non-standard : I'm going to lay out in the sun and work on my tan. (Should be lie . In general, the term lay out  when referring to sunbathing is always grammatically incorrect.)
  • levee and levy. A levee  is a structure built along a river to raise the height of its banks, thereby preventing nearby land from flooding (see: dike). To levy  is to impose (1) a tax, fine or other assessment, or (2) a military draft; as a noun, a levy  is an assessment or army thus gathered. The two words share a common root, but they are not considered interchangeable in Standard English. Because they are homophones, misuse is usually only apparent when observed in writing.
    • Standard : The Netherlands is well known for its elaborate system of levees.
    • Standard : This statute allows the state to levy a 3% tax.
    • Non-standard : Recent storms have weakened the levy.
  • loathe and loath or loth: Loathe  is a verb meaning "to strongly dislike", and "loath" or "loth" means "unwilling" or "reluctant"
    • Standard : I loathe arrogant people.
    • Standard : I was loath to concede defeat.
    • Standard : I was loth to submit to a body-cavity search until I saw who would be administering it.
  • lose and loose. Lose  can mean "fail to win", "misplace", or "cease to be in possession". Loose  can mean the opposite of tight, or the opposite of tighten. Lose  is often misspelled loose , likely because lose  has an irregular rhyme for the way it is spelled: it is more common for words ending -ose  to rhyme Rhymes:English:-əʊz, like nose , or rose , but lose  rhymes Rhymes:English:-uːz, like news  or confuse . This may cause poor spellers to guess the correct spelling should match another -uːz rhyming word like choose , although choose  is itself also an exception to the regular rhyme for words ending -oose  (typically such words, including loose , rhyme Rhymes:English:-uːs, like goose  or caboose ).
    • Standard : We cannot afford to lose customers to our competitors.
    • Standard : A screw is loose and I need a wrench to tighten it.
    • Non-standard : If the team cannot score any points, they will loose the game.

M

 

  • macerate, marinate, and marinade. (From post-classical Latin marina  brine, short for classical Latin aqua marina  sea water.) In Standard English, marinade  is a noun and not a verb. Macerate  means "to soften by steeping in a liquid" and in culinary terminology is used for non-protein items, specifically fruit . The word macerate  is also used in science "to soften bone, rock etc. in a liquid".
    • Standard : The meat will taste better if you marinate it in olive oil before cooking.
    • Standard : Prepare the marinade by mixing vinegar and soy sauce.
    • Non-standard : Marinade the meat in wine for half an hour.
    • Standard : Macerate the fruit in wine for half an hour.
    • Non-standard : Marinate the fruit in wine for half an hour.
  • me, myself, and I. In a traditional prescriptive grammar, I  is used only as a subject, me  is used only as an object, and myself  is used only as a reflexive object, that is to say when the subject is " I " and the object would otherwise be " me ". Myself  is often used incorrectly, often in a form of hypercorrection. Like the other reflexive pronouns, myself  should be used only when both the subject and object of the verb are the speaker, or as an emphatic pronoun (intensifier).
    • Standard : Jim and I took the train.
    • Standard : He lent the books to Jim and me.
    • Standard : That is I in the picture. (This is very formal, and seldom found in speech.)
    • Acceptable : That is me in the picture. (This is typical in informal English.)
    • Standard  (intensifying): I myself have seen instances of that type.
    • Standard  (reflexive): I hurt myself. I did it to myself. I played by myself. I want to enjoy myself.
    • Non-standard : Me and Jim went into town.
    • Non-standard : It was clear to Jim and I that the shop was shut.
    • Non-standard : As for myself, I prefer the red. (Just use me  here)
    • Non-standard : He is an American like myself. (Just use me )
    • Non-standard : He gave the paper to Jim and myself. (Just use me )
    • Non-standard : My wife and myself are not happy with all the development going on in town. (Just use I )
  • mitigate and militate. To mitigate  is to make something milder. To militate  is to fight or exert pressure for something to happen or not to happen.
    • Standard : The seriousness of your crime was mitigated by the provocation you were under.
    • Standard : Over-protective practices in this factory militate against increased efficiency.
    • Non-standard : Over-protective practices in this factory mitigate against increased efficiency.

N to R

 

  • novice and novitiate. A novice is a prospective or trainee member of a religious order. The novitiate is the state of being a novice, or the time for which one is a novice. However, a novice monk or nun is often incorrectly described as "a novitiate" (perhaps confused with "initiate").
  • of and have. In some dialects of spoken English, of  and the contracted form of have ,  've , sound alike. However, in standard written English, they are not interchangeable.
    • Standard : Susan would have stopped to eat, but she was running late.
    • Standard : You could have warned me!
    • Non-standard : I should of known that the store would be closed. (Should be "I should've known")

 

  • overestimate and underestimate. There is frequent confusion between things that cannot  and should not  be over/underestimated, though the meanings are opposite.
  • Standard : The damage caused by pollution cannot be overestimated (i.e. it is so enormous that no estimate, however high, is excessive)
  • Standard : The damage caused by pollution should not be underestimated (i.e. it is wrong to regard it as minor)
  • Non-standard : The damage caused by pollution cannot be underestimated (literal meaning: it is so minimal that no estimate is too small. Intended meaning: one of the previous two)
  • past and passed. Past  refers to events that have previously occurred, while passed  is the past tense of "to pass", whether in a congressional action or a physical occurrence.
  • Standard : Congress passed the bill limiting the powers of the President.
  • Standard : History is mainly concerned with the events of the past.
  • Non-standard : He past my house on his way to the store.
  • Quartary  and quaternary. Quartary  (from quartarius) is the fourth member of an ordinal number word series beginning with (primary, secondary, tertiary) and continuing with (quintary, sextary, ...). Quaternary  (from quaternarius) is the fourth member of a distributive number word series beginning with (singular, binary, ternary) and continuing with (quinary, senary, septenary, octonary ... centenary).

 

In biology, the non-standard usage " Quaternary structure" is so firmly entrenched that to refer to "Quartary structure" would be incorrect.

 

  • redundant does not mean "useless" or "unable to perform its function". It means that there is an excess of something, that something is "surplus to requirements" and no longer needed, or that it is obsolete.
    • Standard : A new pill that will instantly cure any illness has made antibiotics redundant. (Antibiotics could still be used to cure illnesses, but they are no longer needed because a better pill has been invented)
    • Standard : The week before Christmas, the company made seventy-five workers redundant.
    • Non-standard : Over-use of antibiotics risks making them redundant. (This should read: over-use of antibiotics risks making them worthless)
  • regimen and regiment. A regimen is a system of order, and may often refer to the systematic dosing of medication. A regiment is a military unit
    • Standard : The sick soldier was removed from his regiment.
    • Standard : The sick soldier was ordered to complete a regimen of amoxicillin.
  • reign and rein. A reign refers to the rule of a monarch. Reins are the straps used to control the movements of an animal (typically a horse). Thus, to "take the reins" means to assume control, and to have "free rein" means to be free of constraints.
    • Non-standard : ...the Suns gave Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum free reign of practices...
    • Non-standard : Bobby Jindal, a whiz kid takes the reigns of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospital

S to T

  • sensual and sensuous. Both words mean "to do with the senses". Sensual  is more often applied to a pleasure or experience, or to a person's character; sensuous  to someone or something of enticing appearance.
    • Standard : Don Juan is the most sensual character in fiction.
    • Standard : Ascetics believe in avoiding all sensual pleasures.
    • Standard : Marilyn Monroe looks extremely sensuous in this film clip.
  • set and sit. When used as a verb, to set  means "to place" or "to adjust to a value", whereas to sit  means "to be seated".
    • Standard : Set the pot upon the stove.
    • Standard : Set the temperature-control to 100 °C.
    • Non-standard : Set down over there.
    • Non-standard : Sit the pot on the stove.
    • Standard : Sit on the chair.
  • shrink and shirk. To shirk  means "to consistently avoid", "to neglect", "to be too afraid to engage". To shrink  means "to contract", "to become physically smaller in size"; also, to shrink away  means "to suddenly jerk away from something in horror". However, to shrink from  may also mean "to hesitate or show reluctance toward".
    • Standard : I will not shirk discussion.
    • Standard : I will not shrink from discussion.
    • Standard : She shrank away from me.
    • Non-standard : I will not shrink discussion.
    • Non-standard : I will not shirk from discussion.
  • sight, site, and cite. A site  is a place; a sight  is something seen. To cite  is to quote or list as a source.
    • Standard : You are a sight for sore eyes.
    • Standard : I found a list of the sights of Rome on a tourist site.
    • Standard : Please cite the sources you used in your essay.
    • Standard : You must travel to the site of the dig to see the dinosaur bones.
    • Non-standard : One must be careful on a construction sight.
    • Non-standard : I will site the book I saw the statistics in.
  • temblor and trembler. A temblor  is an earthquake. A trembler  is something that trembles.
  • than and then. Than  is a grammatical particle and preposition associated with comparatives, whereas then  is an adverb and a noun. In certain dialects, the two words are usually homophones because they are function words with reduced vowels, and this may cause speakers to confuse them.
    • Standard : I like pizza more than lasagne.
    • Standard : We ate dinner, then went to the movies.
    • Non-standard : You are a better person then I am.
  • there, their, they're, and there're. There  refers to the location of something. Their  means "belonging to them". They're  is a contraction of "They are". There're  is a contraction of "there are".
    • Standard : There're five of them and they're all coming to the restaurant for their dinner; we will meet them there.
  • there's, where's, etc. A common spoken mistake is using a singular contraction when it should be plural in words like there's  and where's . This stems from the fact that there're  and where're  are more difficult to enunciate and are often avoided for that reason in colloquial speech.
    • Non-standard : Where's the cars? (Should be Where're )
    • Non-standard : There's many types of cars. (Should be There're )
  • trimester. A trimester  is a period of three months. Because it is most commonly used in conjunction with a nine-month academic year  or a nine-month term of human pregnancy, it is sometimes wrongly assumed that trimester  is simply a synonym for one third.
    • Standard : One calendar year contains four trimesters.
    • Non-standard : Without further delay, then, comes ESPN.com's annual (and overdue) First Trimester Report, ushering folks back to the office by taking stock of the season's opening third:

U to Z

  • venal and venial. These words are sometimes confused; venal  means "corrupt", "able to be bribed", or "for sale"; venial  means "pardonable, not serious".
    • Standard : According to Catholic doctrine, eating meat on a Friday is a venial sin, but murder is a mortal sin.
    • Standard : All ages have examples of venal politicians.
  • whose and who's. Whose  is a question, who's  is a contraction for "who is".
  • won't and wont. Won't  is a contraction for "will not", while wont  is a rare, slightly archaic word meaning "accustomed" or "inclined to" (as an adjective) or "habit or custom" (as a noun). The two are traditionally pronounced the same.
    • Standard : He won't let me drive his car.
    • Standard : He spent the morning reading, as he was wont to do.
    • Standard : He took a walk in the evening, as was his wont.
    • Non-standard : I wont need to go to the supermarket after all.
  • you're, your, yore, and ewer. While they sound the same in many dialects, in standard written English they all have separate meanings. You're  is a contraction for "you are", and your  is a possessive pronoun meaning "belonging to you". When in doubt, just see whether you can logically expand it to "you are". The third homophone, yore , is an archaism meaning "in the distant past", and is almost always used in the phrase "in days of yore". The fourth is the name of a once common piece of household equipment made obsolete by indoor plumbing: the large jug holding washing water.
    • Standard : When driving, always wear your seatbelt.
    • Standard : If you're going out, please be home by ten o'clock.
    • Non-standard : You're mother called this morning.
    • Non-standard : Your the first person to notice my new haircut today!
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© Julian Kupper