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Grammar Tips & Tidbits


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Common Misspellings in Everyday Expressions—Part II


A few months ago, we discussed several everyday expressions that contain common misspellings, such as whet your appetite (not wet) or you piqued my interest (not peaked). If you missed this tip, you can read it here in the Grammar Tips & Tidbits Archive. 

Many other everyday expressions contain commonly misspelled words. These spelling errors usually occur because two homophonesน (words with the same pronunciation but different spellings and meanings) have been interchanged.

The following expressions contain words that are frequently confused or misspelled. This information is based on the tenth edition of The Gregg Reference Manual.

●  To take a lot of flak (not flack)

●  Harebrained (not hair)

●  Moot point (not mute)

●  Martial law (not marshal)

●  Duct tape (not duck)

The last item may surprise you, especially since some adhesives manufacturers have cashed in on this common misspelling by using duck logos on their duct tape products. One manufacturer has even trademarked the name Duck®Tape.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

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1. Wikipedia contributors. "Homophone." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophone (accessed February 14, 2007).


2. Sabin, William A. The Gregg Reference Manual. 10th ed.
        (New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2005), 199-210.