I love to read as much as I love to write.
And let’s face it, neither is easy to do. Reading and writing aren’t natural skills integrated into our genetic material. We must force our brains to restructure themselves in order to make reading and writing happen.
That’s why it is so important for writers to carefully consider every word they put on the page and ensure it’s the correct word. I try to be forgivable on many aspects of writing, such as comma usage and international differences in word spellings and phrases, but I am so quickly turned off by someone who claims boldly to be a great writer who then publishes the phrase “[he] peaks my interest.” That’s it. I’m out.
Frankly, I have a broad working vocabulary. (I thank my mother for her love of books.) I use this skill on a regular basis no matter the company I’m keeping. You can hear the evidence of this in my three-year-old’s speech as she tells me “You are frustrating me!” instead of “You make me mad.”
Even so, every once in a while I use a dictionary to make sure the word I have in mind is being used correctly in the content I’m writing. Whether you have an old, dog-eared paperback copy or utilize one of many on-line dictionaries available, don’t hesitate to use it. There are also dozens of on-line grammar resources for using tricky words properly.
Below are a few examples of words that are often – quite innocently – misused, but are frustrating nonetheless.
peak vs. pique:
hanger vs. hangar:
capital vs. capitol:
capital = the city or town that is the official seat of government in a country, state, etc. Ex: “Topeka is the capital of Kansas”
capitol = Ex. “the representatives met at the capitol”
passed vs. past:
passed = past tense of pass. Ex. “the speeding car passed me on the highway”
past = after. Ex. “
pore vs. pour:
pore = to read carefully. Ex. “she pored over the proposal document”
pour = to cause a flow. Ex. “he poured the milk into a glass”
See this list of 200 homonyms, homophones and homographs.