Potpourri of Misspellings

By Maeve Maddox

Strolling along Internet Boulevard one morning, I encountered more than the usual quota of misspelled-words-per-minute.

INCORRECT: My level of stress is nothing compared to your personal battles with illness and other life hurtles.
CORRECT : My level of stress is nothing compared to your personal battles with illness and other life hurdles.

hurtle verb: to dash, rush, or hurry, especially with force. “The bull hurtled through the crowd.”
hurdle noun: an obstacle. Literally, a hurdle is a frame that runners jump over.

Figuratively, a hurdle is something that stands in the way of a desired achievement. “Even though she is cancer free, she still has one more hurdle to overcome.”

INCORRECT: We want to be sure we don’t loose our earnest money.
CORRECT : We want to be sure we don’t lose our earnest money.

loose adjective: not tight. “Since I lost weight, these jeans are too loose to wear.”
lose verb: to part with. “Don’t lose your lunch money again.”

One sentence, from a bewildered college student, yielded not one, but three misspellings in a row.

INCORRECT: There’s to much of a differents in the trilagy
CORRECT : There’s too much of a difference in the trilogy

to preposition: function word that indicates spatial relationships. “The children have gone to the movies.”
too adverb: to an excessive degree. “He reached the station too late to catch the train.

different adjective: unlike, not the same. “You are wearing two different socks.”
difference noun: the state of being different. “Please explain the difference between refugee and migrant.”

trilogy noun: a group of three related things, such as plays or novels. “Have you read The Lord of the Rings trilogy?

I expect to find—and enjoy finding—different registers of grammar and diction used in informal contexts. Non-standard usage in a non-standard register doesn’t jar.

Misspellings, on the other hand, distract in every register. Spelling, it seems to me, is a “cross-platform” sort of thing. Unless the intention is to write like Artemus Ward, native speakers who have completed eight or more years of formal education can be expected to spell common words correctly in every context.

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