Let’s start this post with a simple logic path: Successful people typically read a lot. People who read a lot make less typos. People who make less typos often encounter more opportunities in life. People who have more opportunities are more likely to be successful. See how that loops back? These common typos are figuratively holding you down.
I have some dear friends who make a LOT of typos. To those people I highly suggest they pick up a book, read it, then pick up more books and read them.
The typos I’m going to illustrate here are VERY common and it seems it is becoming normal. That scares me. These typos are ones that, if you were to encounter them enough times in books where they are written correctly, you’d learn to write them correctly yourself. My theory in all this isn’t that people who make typos are NOT dumb, they are just not well read. Making these mistakes yells to me, hiring managers and your friends and family quite a few things, none of them are positive.
If you fall prey to these errors, reading this isn’t likely going to help you. Go ahead and read it, then go read a book and when you are done, make a habit of it. I used to never read. It was painful to me. Making reading a habit has had a great deal of positive impact on my life.
- There – Their – They’re
They’re: A contraction that imply means “They are”. When using this, try to simply remove the contraction and use “They are”. It is hard to make this mistake when you spell out both words
Their: This implies possession. When something belongs to a group, it is “theirs“.
There: This is used to describe a location or place. “The store is over there.”
- Then – Than
Then: It is an adverb that usually describes a position in time. It is used often in describing a sequence of events or steps. “Then, he went to the store.”
Than: Is used to compare two things. “My car is faster than yours.”
- Your – You’re
Your: Implies possession. When something belongs to you, it is “yours”.
You’re: Another contraction. Like “They’re”, try using the full words of “You are” in your sentence and if it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t.
- To – Too – Two
To: It is a preposition. While I’m not going to give an English lesson to explain this usage as to how it can go before a noun or as an infinitive before a verb, just know that you can rule this one out by following the next two examples.
Too: A synonym for “aslo”. If you can use the work “also” in your example, then that spot in your sentence is “too”-friendly.
Two: This is a number.’Nuff said!
- Were – Where – We’re
Were: Simply the past tense of “are”.
Where: This refers to a place and is most commonly used in a question.
We’re: One more contraction. Like the precious ones, use the full words instead to see if it makes sense. “We are…”
- Are – Our
This one has started rearing it’s ugly head lately.
Are: 2nd person singular and 1st, 2nd and 3rd person plural of the verb: be yadda yadda yadda… it is a verb
Our: Means “belonging to us”
- Some of the others are hear/here, off/of, effect/affect, accept/except,…
The common element these have is they are either homophones, or almost homophones. These typos are usually a result of someone hearing them in spoken language, but never seeing them written. So, as I said earlier, pick up a book and make a habit of reading. Your Facebook friends may not thank you, but they will have one less reason to talk smack about you behind your back.
In complete transparency, effect/affect still gets me. I usually do get it right, but a ALWAYS second-guess myself with those two.