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We all relax a bit online when it comes to posting messages on social networks or simply sending a private text. And, certainly, there’s nothing wrong with a little casual language. A problem I do have, however, is that I see some words written wrong so often, it becomes hard to remember the correct way to write it! I’ve noticed the same errors continually creeping up in my students’ papers. Your instead of you’re, of course, is one of the most common errors, and there, their, and they’re have plagued generations, along with two, to, and too. Here are some more trouble words I notice with increasing frequency–in my own writing, in others’, or both.

Loose, lose = You may loosen your shoelaces, but you cannot lose them if they are in your shoes (unless you lose them as well). If your shoelaces are loosely tied, you may very well lose your shoes!

’cause, cause = Shortening because to ’cause (or ‘cuz) when we speak often causes us to write cause when we mean because. (Honestly, this one nearly causes me fits!)

Could of, should of, might of, etc. = Every time I see one of these, I think the writer should’ve (should have) known better!

Spayed, spade = If you’ve ever browsed the pet section of Craig’s List, you’ll see a lot of people who insist their animals have been spaded. Since a spade is a shovel, a spaded animal must be in the ground, well beyond the need for a new home. A female animal may be spayed; a male, neutered.

What errors cause you to shake your head?

P.S. If you see any errors in this post, let me know!