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The Writer’s Craft #36 – Speeling Connundrums (sic)

September 5, 2011
Author Karina Fabian

Author Karina Fabian

Karina Fabian‘s quirky twists and crazy characters have won awards, including the INDIE book award for best fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem), an EPPIE award for best sci-fi (Infinite Space, Infinite God) and a Mensa Owl for best fiction (World Gathering), and top placer in the Preditor and Editor polls. Mrs. Fabian is former President of the Catholic Writer’s Guild and also teaches writing and book marketing seminars online. Her latest fiction, Mind over Mind, is available on Amazon.


One of my author friends on Facebook asked what words give people the most trouble.  Some folks mix up “affect” and “effect.”  (I just remember and a-ffect causes an e-ffect, and that it’s alphabetical, but whenever I come up with a mnemonic for discreet/discrete, I forget it the next time the word comes up.)  Others had the usual typos: “their” was a favorite–and, I must admit, a personal nemesis.  One of mine that elludes the spell-checker is from/form.  I actually have to do a ‘Find’ on all ‘form’s in a document to make sure I really meant that word.  My most irritating words are all derivatives of occasion. Yeah, spell check picks it up, but it’s irritating!  Why can’t I ever remember two Cs and one S?  Another thing  I’ve found as I get older, when I have a word with double letters, I double the wrong letter, even when I know not to:  “good” becomes “ggod” and “spelling” becomes “speeling.”  Is this an old-age syndrome I don’t know about?  Is there a medication or therapy or something for the double-leteer chaleenged?

What common words give you the uncommon fits?  Do you have any special catch phrases you recite to keep them straight?  Which words give you the fumble-fingers?

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Kari Terhark permalink
    September 5, 2011 6:44 am

    (Karina… just read your wikipedia page, and saw that an article was written of you called ‘Local author found success after 20 years…’ Wow, that’s a dauntingly high figure to keep plugging away, and I’d be curious to hear what motivated you)

    Anyhow- my word is receive. And I just misspelled it, and spell checker just corrected it for me. Sometimes I sit and type ‘receive, receive, receive’ for a few minutes, for no other reason than to try and learn it to memory.

    The technique hasn’t worked yet.

  2. September 5, 2011 7:02 am

    I also struggle with words that have one letter doubled. I can never remember which one. “Sherrif”, “giraffe”, and, embarrassingly, “tomorrow” are my worst offenders. I will never write a story about a time-traveling lawman in a African nature preserve.

    I often accidentally type an extra “e” in words ending in “ber”, which has led to several hilarious debates about what, exactly, an “Octobeer” is.

  3. Mishell Baker permalink*
    September 5, 2011 2:25 pm

    I spelled judgment wrong for about 400 years before I saw a wavy red line on spellcheck one day. I still don’t think it looks right. I also spelled sacrilegious wrong all my life because it made more sense to me that it would be spelled sac-religious. Oops. Once again, only the wavy red spellcheck line told me something was up.

  4. September 5, 2011 8:47 pm

    Typing too fast. Drives me nuts when I’ve working through a manuscript and there’s missing prepositions or even worse, a ‘he’ where there should be ‘she’, or an entirely wrong word that just rolled off my fingers like an auto-finish feature on a cell phone.

  5. September 6, 2011 7:44 am

    Thanks for all the replies!

    Kari, how sweet that you looked me up! (Incidentally, that wiki page needs work, but if I worked on it to clean up the problems, that would be bias. Talk about Catch 22.) The 20 years was an interrupted two decades, with kids and time in the Air Force and the Reserves. Wouldn’t trade it for anything–except maybe I’d have been more relaxed about my Air Force career. I was a bit uptight then. Sometimes, I purposely mispronounce words I have trouble with, so receive would be receee-ive. (I only do it in my head when writing, otherwise, people would not be able to understand me or might think I have aphasia or something.)

    Eli, at least you can type embarrassed without being so.

    Mishell, I totally agree on judgment. If doesn’t have an e, why does acknowledgement?

    I got a tablet earlier this year, Lynda, and it’s got one of those “smart” programs that tries to anticipate your next word, like the auto-finish, which leads to some hilarious and infuriating sentences. Sometimes, I think there’s a special division of Hell dedicated just for creating programs like that.

  6. JohnP permalink
    September 6, 2011 10:21 am

    My most prevalent spelling problems come from spelling the way I was taught in school versus the “modern” accepted way and especially proper british spelling against american simplifications.

    As someone whose name escapes me but is much smarter once said:

    “Never trust anyone who spells “honour” without a U”
    :)

    – John

    • September 7, 2011 8:14 am

      Something Horth would have said, John …. if he talked for fun. Edge wants its manuscripts in American spelling, so I’ve wrestled with the British/American things for years. Now and then an British spelling gets through.

  7. September 6, 2011 12:49 pm

    I agree that I get some annoying spelling corrections switching between UK and USA versions of words, but I also get some hilarious typos based on my “clair-audient” writing style. When I write, I hear rather than see the words in my head. Sometimes my fingers end up typing sound-alike words. Sometimes they are spelled similarly, and sometimes not.

    Last spelling mistake my copy-editor caught was me writing ‘censor’ rather than ‘sensor’, but it can get a lot worse.

  8. September 7, 2011 8:16 am

    The whole ‘s’ and ‘c’ thing is silly, IMHO. And ‘k’ vs. ‘c’. And ‘t’ and ‘s’ in word endings. The latter are bugbears for me, for spelling. Does the word end in -tion or -sion?

  9. krysia permalink
    September 7, 2011 10:45 am

    I have a learning disability like dyslexia so I rely on spell checker a lot. Sometimes I know that a word is incorrect but I don’t how to fix it. XD I’ve learnt that dictionary.com is invaluable

  10. September 7, 2011 9:17 pm

    Ah, the dictionary. Or dictionary.com. Either way, I always wondered how one looked up a word one didn’t know how to spell to start! But I could never resist using a cool word I was sort of sure of, whether I could spell it or even pronounce it. Leading to some bloopers in my time as you might well imagine. :-)

    • krysia permalink
      September 7, 2011 11:41 pm

      What you have to do is type the wrong word into google.ca and the it will say “did you mean…” and if it’s used in the right context you copy and paste that into dictionary.com AND HOPEFULLY google guessed right. Or you can ask your family.

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