Spelling errors, like this example, can be distracting...

Why does correct spelling matter?

When a word is misspelled or is mistakenly substituted for a word with a meaning that is inconsistent with the ideas surrounding it, the inaccuracy can create confusion in the mind of the reader. The flow of the passage is temporarily interrupted; frequent spelling and meaning errors can compromise the credibility of the writer.

How might you choose a word that is spelled correctly and communicates your meaning accurately?

  • Consult a dictionary: If you are uncertain of the spelling or meaning of a word, consult a reliable dictionary.
  • Consult a grammar and style guide: Many college-level grammar and style guides contain a list of commonly misspelled words.
  • Make cautious use of your computer’s spelling and grammar check: Correct any errors that are indicated by the grammar and spell check function. However, keep in mind that a word that is spelled correctly may not have the correct meaning in the context of your paper.
  • Ask someone else to read your paper for you: Another set of eyes looking at your paper will increase the chance of catching a spelling or meaning error.
  • Read widely and often: The more frequently you see words spelled and used correctly in reliable text, the more likely you are to use them correctly in your own writing.

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