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Here are, in reverse order, the top 10 spelling mistakes you see on Facebook.
10. loser v looser
Loser means the opposite of winner; looser means more loose (not as tight).
I often see looser on Facebook when someone resorts to the insult: "You're a looser!" (my instinct is to ask, "A looser what?").
Even worse, I have seen one person write: "Your a looser!" And, as if to add extra emphasis, she repeats herself: "Looser! Looser! Looser!"
I suspect that the irony of her calling someone else a "looser" might be lost on her.
Remember that lost and lose have the same number of letters; adding an extra o to lose will just make it loose... and make you look like a loser.
9. definitely v definately v defiantly
Apparently, a third of people on Twitter misspell definitely as definately. I suspect the same applies to Facebook users.
I also quite regularly see defiantly being used in place of definitely, sometimes in unconsciously humorous contexts such as "I defiantly recommend this book!"
If definitely trips you up, then try linking definitely to the word finite: if something is finite then it has a definite ending.
In any case, definitely is definitely the way you spell definitely.
8. he's v his
He's is short for he is or he has; his is a possessive pronoun (his means belonging to him).
I have seen people write on Facebook sentences such as "It's all in he's mind" when they mean "It's all in his mind".
The apostrophe in he's is never possessive (unlike, say, It's all in Troy's mind). So, to avoid the mistake, simply say out loud "He is" when you write he's. The sentence "It's all in he is mind" makes no sense, which tells you that you've made a mistake. Also, compare she's and her. You would never say "It's all in she's mind".
7. there v their v they're
There is used for there is or there are or to indicate a place; their means belonging to them; they're is short for they are.
Some people on Facebook have their own interesting (and wrong) definitions for these words. Consider this exchange:
- A: I love your boots. Their sexy.
B. Actually, it's they're not their.
A. Haha. No, it's their because it's 2 boots not one.
- A. I really hope their is macaroni in the fridge.
B. You spelled there wrong.
A. No I didn't idiot. The one you spelled is used where something is like "The table is over there". Don't act like you're on my level.
(In case you didn't know, B is correct in both instances.)
The only way to remember the difference between there, their, and they're, is to memorise these rules:
- There means over there or there is/there are.
- Their means belonging to them.
- They're means they are.
6. to v too
Too means also and excessively; otherwise, use to (unless you mean the number two).
Read this sign:
HOT TAP MAY BE DIFFICULT TOO
The person who wrote this sign used the wrong too.
On Facebook, it's much more common for people to use the word to when they mean too than the other way around. So use too when something is too much or where the word also would fit your sentence in place of too.
5. should of, could of, would of, must of
Should of, could of, would of, and must of are corruptions of should have, could have, would have, and must have (or should've, could've, would've, and must've).
If you use could of etc, it's because you've misheard could've as could of and that's how you write it. But it's wrong.
Whenever you write should of, or could of, or would of, or must of, you've made a mistake.
The simple solution is to get rid of should of, could of, would of, and must of from your vocabulary.
4. it's v its
It's is short for it is or it has; its is a possessive pronoun (meaning belonging to it).
If you get confused, it's because you think its must have an apostrophe when talking about something belonging to someone or something (eg, "Facebook and all its rules"). But its belongs to the group of words my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their. None of these words use an apostrophe, but they're still all possessive.
Getting it right is simple: if you can replace it's with it is or it has, then your word is it's; otherwise, it's its.
3. a lot v alot
There's no such word as alot. Simple.
2. then v than
Then is used for time; than is used for comparison.
Knowing the difference between then and than can save a lot of potential embarrassment on Facebook.
Here are a few famous examples of Facebook statuses that confuse then and than:
- "I'd rather be pissed off, then pissed on" (this means the person would rather be angry and then have someone urinate on him)
- "I'd rather tell it like it is, then blow every guy I know" (this means the person would like to tell things honestly and then give oral sex to every male they know)
Then there's the guy who tattooed on his arm: "I'd rather live for something then die as nothing".
To remember the difference, remember thEn has to to with timE and thAn is used for compArison.
1. you're v your
You're is short for you are; your indicates possession.
In one online conversation, a girl refused to even accept that you're is a word.
The Facebook meme that's going viral puts the matter well:
- Knowing the difference between you're and your is the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit.
To check you've got the right your or you're, use this test: If you're able to replace you're with you are, then you're wanting you're. Otherwise, your only choice is your.
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