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Which word?

Have you ever read a document that was full of incorrectly used words?

What impression did it give you?

It is quite common for people to use words incorrectly that sound the same but have different meanings. Is this due to laziness or because they never learnt the correct word to use in the first place?

In a business context, the incorrect use of common words can make you and your business appear unprofessional.

Here are some words that are commonly used incorrectly:


Do you have words to add to this list?

How to ensure that you use the correct word

Some simple techniques can help ensure you come across as a credible professional.

Here are three tips to help you use the correct words in your documents.

  1. Keep a dictionary nearby if you're not sure which word should be used. By checking its meaning you'll be able to avoid some embarrassing moments
  2. Check if there is another word that could be used which has the same meaning and won't cause any confusion
  3. Ask someone else to check your document – a fresh set of eyes can often find errors that we don't see.

We know what we mean to write. Unfortunately, it is not always what we actually write.

You may be thinking, "I'm ok, I'll just use the spell checker."

What a great back up tool. However, BEWARE!

Look at this passage which made it through the spell checker with flying colours.

Catch that Spilling Error

As an addled service, I am going two put this peace in the spilling checker where I tryst it will sale threw with flying colons. In this modern ear, it is simply inexplicable to ask readers to expose themselves to misspelled swords when they have bitter thinks to do.

An adaptation of a passage written by Norwood B Gove in the Scholarly Publishing October 1989.

One final note …

In this day and age of smart phones and texting, remember that if you reply to or write a business email on your phone you should be using 'real' words and complete sentences.

For example:

Are you coming to the meeting tomorrow?


R u coming 2 the meeting 2morrow?

By focusing on using the correct words you're on your way to writing a professional looking document.

Share your thoughts and writing experiences.



Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. Her programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
30 Business Communication Tips

Looking for tips to help you with your speaking, writing and interpersonal communication?

Then download my free ebook, 30 Business Communication Tips.

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  1. Ewa Kapusniak

    Thank you Maria for this interesting blog. It is not easy to write what you say, especially if English is your second language. I do try and correct as I go if I realise the mistake. Writing this comment should be an easy task, and it is not. I stop and think of the correct grammar and spelling, and it takes me a long time to put it together because I know that a well spoken, English trained person, will be reading this! On the other hand it's good to train my brain and receive a feedback for future improvements.
    Kind regards,
    Ewa K.

    • Maria Pantalone

      Thank you for your comments, Ewa.
      I applaud you for making the effort to write a comment. Practise helps you to become confident when writing – especially if you know others will be reading what you write. Well done!


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