Link: 100 most misspelled English words

“Misspell” is one of them. Miss Pell? Looks wierd. Don’t be embarassed if you miss alot of words the list. Its normal. See for yourself. If you get through the first 100, there are 150 more.

Some of these trip me up with some regularity, because I type phonetically. Thank goodness for spellchecking-as-you-type. Unfortunately, spell checkers don’t help with homonyms—I often find “to” when I meant “too” when I proofread my writing.

I wish I could find a similar list for 100 most common grammatical errors. I do pretty well with semi-colons, hyphens, and em-dashes, but the combination of commas and quotation marks drive me to distraction. As a software engineer and writer of programming tutorials, I need to express literal text very precisely. For instance, it’s grammatically incorrect to write:

    Type “OK”.
    Do you see the prompt, “C:/”?
    If I enter “Yes”, the program acts as if I entered “No”.

All of the punctuation in these examples should be inside the quotation marks to be grammatically correct. This would be misleading to a reader, who might actually type “OK.” That is, including the period. Most computer programs are not that forgiving. (Most computer programs don’t use text input for Yes/No/Cancel user interaction any more, but these are just examples.)

This reminds me of another bad writing habit I’ve learned from programming: nested parentheses. I probably overuse parens as it is, from a strict interpretation of the grammar. The last paragraph is an example. I probably shouldn’t have parenthesized the last sentence. It wasn’t necessary, but it conveys an aside-like quality, a tangential quality, that I like. I think that way, so I write that way. I try very hard not to overuse parentheses, but (and this is an example (well, a really contrived example)) there are times when my tangents have their own tangents. I read once that people who write software (program, code, call it what you will) make better writers. Maybe that only applies to readers who are also coders?

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