Let's spell it right

I'm trying to put this in alphabetical order as much as I can...when there are two different words (as in the case of borrow and lend) I shall take the word that comes first to determine its place.

I am trying to provide short and simple explanations, but I cannot guarantee that they work for you! So when in doubt, do consult a dictionary.

Feel free to suggest any common mistakes that I may not have added yet. ;)


You advise someone, but you give people advice.

If something affects you, it means that it has an effect on you.

To afford something is to have enough money to buy it. Something that you can afford is affordable.
An effort in the energy spent to do something.

Anyways is not correct, though it has crept into common English :(
The correct word is anyway.

You bathe, but you take a bath.

The right expression is to bear with something. (not bare)

Something that is boring makes you feel bored.

You borrow something from someone. That thing is not yours.
You lend something to someone. That thing is yours.

You breathe, but you take a breath.

We speak of open tournaments (anyone can join) or closed tournaments (only members of a certain association/group can join). A close tournament is where the result was close (it wasn't won easily).

A cloth is the fabric used to make clothing.
What we wear are clothes or pieces of clothing.
To clothe is also a verb: A piece of clothing clothes someone.
You need cloth to make clothes/clothing.

A compliment is praise.
A complement is something that completes or makes whole.
These two words can also be used as verbs, i.e.:
We can compliment someone (praise someone).
A cup of coffee can complement some home-made biscuits, making the biscuits taste better than if they were eaten on their own.

A deadline is the date at which you have to complete something (usually an assignment).
A dateline is found at the beginning of an article, stating when it was written. It can also refer to the International Date Line, an imaginary line in the Pacific Ocean where the date changes as you cross it.
(Thanks to Chang Yang for making me think of this)

You extend something to a certain extent.

When we say that there are few things in a box, we are trying to say that there are not many things in the box (less than expected).
When we say that there are a few things in a box, we are trying to say that there is something in the box (as opposed to nothing).
(Both still mean that there is a small number of things in the box)

An incident is an event that happens.
An incidence is an occurrence of that incident, or the rate of that incident happening.
Perhaps it would be easier to remember this:
The incidence of an incident = the occurrence of an event
(Thanks to Jeffrey Matisa for this suggestion - see comments)

It's is a contraction of it is.
Its shows possession: The cat is waving its tail.

To lose is the opposite of to win.
Loose is the opposite of tight. (the verb is to loosen)

Lost is the past tense of lose.
We usually say "I lost something" because the thing is already lost. (in the past)
A loss refers to something which has been lost, or the event of losing something.

You pay a price, and you win a prize.

You prove something by showing proof.

You respond to a question by giving a response.

When you have a cold, you have a runny nose.
If you have a running nose, it should not be the one on your face, it should be a fake one with legs! :P

Stuff is like furniture, it never takes an 's' "in plural"!
We say: a lot of stuff
or: a lot of furniture
without an 's' at the end of the word!
Other words that follow the same rule: work/homework, money

Something is tiring when it makes you tired.


  1. You are very observant. I get irritated with how the English language/spelling is butchered these days.

    Many have resorted to using their text messaging spellings in regular e-mails and notes. I feel like dropping a dictionary on them! :)
    I am not perfect and always have the online dictionary for reference but basic spellings that one learned in school should not be forgotten.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more...the problem starts when people stop even trying to use correct spelling!

  3. Ahhhh....try this one on for size, and everyone does it: the use of incidences substituting incidents.

    A root canal is less annoying.

  4. Thanks for the suggestion, Jeffrey ^_^ I'll add that the next time I do an update!

  5. i think this is very comprehensive of all the mistakes malaysians do on a daily basis. i can't think of anything to add right now, but will surely drop by if I come across something annoying. haha.

  6. That's very educational, thanks for sharing.

  7. You're welcome. And thanks for your comment!

  8. You've done a great job. Thanks :)

  9. Thanks. And you're welcome. :)

  10. I just read the word "vessal" in a post about a shipwreck. I read it 3 times with furrowed brows, wasting valuable moments of my life. Exposure to poor spelling is eroding my mind. Why didn't the use "ship" or "boat"? Maybe you could include some vowel(my hyphen is broken)replacements in this rant?

  11. *they... My keyboard is a bit unresponsive. That is embarrassing. But still, I fixed my mistake. Go and do likewise.

  12. Are you teaching English btw WP?

    1. No, I'm not. I like to get my words right, though... :)