Grammar: One Word or Two?

Writing

Something that I touched on in my blog post about word that I commonly misspell, related to “all right” and “a lot” being two words. Since writing that post, I’ve come to realise that there are actually quite a few words that are similar, whereby getting it wrong creates the completely wrong mean or you’re just using a word that doesn’t actually exist. Here are a few of the one that trip me up, and how you should really be spelling them:

Alright / All right

The word “alright” does not exist, so just remember the phrase “It is either All Right or All Wrong” to remind you that it is either two words, or it’s wrong!

Alot / A lot

Again, the word “alot” doesn’t exist either, so it is always two words…try to remember that if you have a lot of something you can spread them out, so imagine that you’re spreading a lot of letter out! Yeah, that made sense in my head, but doesn’t sound quite so good now that I’ve typed it out, but hopefully you can grasp the point that I was at least trying to make!

Altogether / All together

Anyone / Any one

Everyday / Every day

Everyone / Every one

This time, both spellings are correct, depending on your overall meaning. However, for me, this is a confusing one, because both words have quite similar meanings, no matter how they are spelt, but the word that you use alters the way that you say it.

This is actually my second attempt at explaining this, because – as I’ve said – I do find it a little confusing, and I wanted to make it as easy as possible. The easiest way, I feel, to describe which word is correct, is to determine what you are trying to convey.

For example, if you are describing something as a collective, or as a whole then you only want one word – which makes sense. Nevertheless, if you are describing something that is a small part of the collective, then it is two words.

 Into / In To

I’ve noticed that “into” and “in to” have been catching me out a lot recently, and I have spent more time than I care to admit trying to decide which one is the correct usage for what I am writing.

The term “into” is the action of literally doing an action, for example: “I’m going to dive into the ocean”, whilst “in to” is more a description of what you are going to do, for example: “When I reach the ocean, I go in to a dive.”

Always / All Ways

Always is similar to “into” and “in to”, but I think this rhyme helps to remember which spelling you want:

I always get lost at the Shopping Centre

All ways lead to the Shopping Centre

Okay, so all ways probably don’t lead to the Shopping Centre, but hopefully it helps to figure it out 😉

 

Words that I Commonly Misspell

Word of the Week, Writing

As writers, there is this idea lodged into our brains that we have to be perfect at spelling and grammar, but I will be the first to admit that there are a few words that catch me out, every single time. I would – quite literally – be lost without my Dictionary. The most annoying thing is that these are words that I should know, because I have probably written them a million times before, and I know that I should know better.

Nevertheless, here are the words that I commonly misspell:

Misspell:

It seems so ironic to start with a word taken from this blog posts title, but it’s true. My brain gets confused by the s’s and I automatically want to write “mispell”!

Accidentally:

For me, “accidentally” is a victim of localised speech, whereby I spell it the way that I say it (kind of like how “could have” has become “could of” to a lot of people on Facebook!). So, because I don’t pronounce the “tally”, but rather pronounce it more “tly”, that is how I spell it.

Other words that fit into this category include: allege (I want to put a “d” in between the “e” and “g” because it sounds like there is one in there when the word is said out loud!)

Liaison:

Silent letters are the little devils of the English language, hence the second “i” is often missing!

Rhyme and Rhythm:

Those darn silent letters are out to get me. Now, when it comes to “rhyme” and “rhythm”, I always know that there is an “h” and a “y” in there, but I just cannot remember which way around they go!

Accommodate and Accumulate:

Ironically, when I wrote the word “accommodate” down in my book of misspelled words, I managed to miss out one of the “m”‘s. Anyway, I’m putting this two words together, purely because they are the opposite of each other, but create the same problem: is there one “m” or two?

Necessary:

I know that there are both “c” and “s” in this word, and I know that there is one of one of them, and two of the other. However, I can never remember which way around.

The same happens with “harass” 0r is it “harrass”, as I wrote in my book – again with the irony!

All Right and A Lot:

Two words. These are two words, not one. I must remember that! Also applies to “after all”.

Broccoli:

Brocoli? Broccolli? Brocolli? Yep, another case of how many “c” and how many “l”! Also see “Caribbean”, how many “r” and “b”? And “parallel”, I just have “l” all over the place!

Separate:

In my head, this should be spelled “seperate”…maybe I should start my own dictionary. This also works for “desperate”, except this time it is an “e” whilst I always want to write an “a”.

Humorous:

Funnily enough, this is a word that I do indeed find quite “humorous”. As an English gal, it’s easy to want to add that all-important “u”, that Americanisation likes to remove, such as in the word “colour” or even (of course) “humour”, which is where things – for me, at least – get a bit confusing. Whilst “humour” does indeed have a “u” in British English, the word “humorous” does not. Explain that one to me!

Consensus:

Kind of similar to the word “humorous”, I want to spell it as “concensus”, purely because of the word “census”! Sometimes the English language really does prove to be quite inconsistent with spelling!

Coincidentally, my dictionary just had a mild heart attack spell-checking this blog post, and I can imagine it screaming something along the line of: **So many errors. Must correct them. Mean blogger will not let me. Will self-destruct instead**

What words trip you up every time?

Do you have methods to remind you about particular spellings?