Nine Words to Avoid

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Today we’re looking at nine mistakes that people often make when speaking/writing. The correct version of each word – what you should be saying/writing instead – is italicised.

  1. Alot

    Don’t forget the space! To help you remember, think of the opposite to ‘a lot’. We rarely accidentally write ‘alittle’ instead of ‘a little’, so why do we write ‘alot’? Watch out that you don’t mix up ‘a lot’ with the verb ‘allot’ which means ‘to give out’.
  2. Alright

    People have used the spelling ‘alright’ since at least the 1600s, but it’s still considered incorrect in Standard English. While this spelling does better mimic how some people might say the word, and other similarly-merged words (like ‘already’) are deemed ‘correct’, we suggest playing it safe and using ‘all right’ in academic or professional writing. Save ‘alright’ for dialogue and informal written conversations (such as in personal text messages or emails).
  3. Climatic

    Actually, if you’re referring to the climate, ‘climatic’ is the perfect word choice. However it’s incorrect if you’re describing, for example, the climax of a film. The word you need is ‘climactic’ – don’t forget the ‘c’ in the middle.
  4. Hisself

    Unless you’re writing in vernacular, make sure you’re using ‘himself’ and not ‘hisself’.
  5. Interpretate

    The ‘tay’ sound in the word ‘interpretation’ might make you want to add an extra syllable, but make sure you don’t! Use ‘interpret’ not ‘interpretate’.
  6. Irregardless

    You may find yourself wanting to say ‘irregardless’ instead of ‘regardless’, but doing so is considered incorrect in Standard English. This is because the Latin prefix ‘ir-‘ meaning ‘not’ does the same work as the suffix ‘less’ – making ‘irregardless’ a double negative. If you’re looking for an ‘ir-‘ word to use in place of ‘regardless’, try ‘irrespective’.
  7. Preventative

    Here’s another word that often gets spelt with one syllable too many. Make sure you use ‘preventive’ not ‘preventative’.
  8. Supposably

    We featured this word in our blog on common mispronunciations. This word should be said/written with a ‘d’ – ‘supposedly’.
  9. Undoubtably

    Here’s another word that often gets said/spelt with a sneaky ‘b’. Use the past tense of ‘doubt’ – ‘doubted’ – to help you remember to use ‘undoubtedly’ instead of ‘undoubtably’.

If you found this article useful, why not check out some of our other posts?

Have a great week!

21 Jul 2015
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"Thank goodness for Spellzone during this remote learning phase. The site is easy for students to navigate independently and they're really enjoying the activities and spelling games. You get an awful lot for your money with Spellzone. Really reassuring is the very prompt response with helpdesk queries. I've very rarely needed the helpdesk, but when I have, the issue has been addressed and sorted within a very short time."

Sarah Taggart, Oasis Academy Lord's Hill