Spell Check

I might be talking to the converted here (and I hope I am) but here goes. And I hope I'm not stepping on toes here, with my big boots, but I do want to help improve the world in some tiny way, so please take this as intended :-)

One of my pet peeves in the scrapping world is seeing a beautiful layout lovingly created, only to be spoiled by a spelling mistake or some poor grammar. It just looks so glaring to me and sad. It doesn't bother everyone of course, but if it bothers you, here are some tips, posted with love.

Here are some commonly mixed up words, and sentences that show their meanings and right usage. I'll add to the list so come back again :-)

there - (a place) The brown dog is over there.
their - (shows ownership) Their big dog is on it's leash.
they're - (short for they are) They're my dogs.

your - (belonging) That's your bag on the table.
you're - (short for you are) You're standing on my bag.
yore - (long ago) In days of yore, people had hessian bags.

wear - (clothing or damage) Would you like to wear the red dress? & There's a lot of wear on that dress.
where - (place) I'm not sure where the red dress is.
we're - (short for we are) We're arguing about who looks best in Mum's red dress.

accept - (saying yes) I accept your invitation, thank you.
except - (excluding) Everyone can come to the party except George.

then - (timing) My sister came home, then went straight to her room.
than - (comparing) My sister has a softer bed than I do.

When do you use me and I when you are talking about a group? The rule is that if you'd normally say me without the group, you still say me, and if you'd normally say I without the group, then you still say I. Here are some examples:

Mum made chocolate cake for Jack and me. (mum made cake for me)
Millie and I are going to the park. (I am going to the park)

There are a few other grammatical horrors out there in the world of blogging, forums, emails and the like that also need to be given the flick. (please?)

*Using capitals or upper case lettering is shouting, and considered rude. Don't do it unless you actually are shouting.

*The exclamation mark should be used to make an emphasis of something. Using exclamation marks all over the place makes text very hard to read, and can also denote shouting. To be grammatically correct, you should use a maximum of one exclamation point per paragraph and it should be used to denote surprise or shouting, such as in these sentences: She opened the box and found diamonds in it! and Look out!

Let's have a little look at the apostrophe... that great confuser! An apostrophe is an innocuous little mark, but so misused and abused it's a wonder it's still alive.

* Use an apostrophe to show that a word is a combination of two words and shortened, such as isn't (is not), we're (we are), o'clock (of the clock) and I'm (I am).
* Use an apostrophe to denote ownership, such as Billy's bike (the bike belongs to Billy) and yesterday's lessons (the lessons happened yesterday and therefore belong to yesterday).
* Some names have apostrophes and of course you should always use one if they do, such as O'Brien.
* Do not use an apostrophe if the word is just a plural, saying that there is more than one, such as 14 lemons or a couple of books.
(If you are talking about something about the lemons or books, they would have an apostrophe, as in "the lemon's colour" [the colour belongs to the lemon], but if it's just saying there is more than one, no apostrophe. )

Some words seem to cause more confusion than others with apostrophes. Its/it's for example. It's is to indicate that the word is "it is" or" it has" for example, and its is to indicate possession.  Here are a couple of indications about when to use the apostophe here:

It's my suitcase. (it is my suitcase) and I'm tired, it's been a long journey (it has been a long journey).
The suitcase has some of its buttons missing and The mouse is in its little hideyhole. (belonging) - which is strange, because it's the opposite way of most apostrophes, just to keep us on our toes.

Now, to one that should never happen: confusing the past and present tenses... here's what I mean by that.

She come around the corner and seen him standing there and she said, "He done it!"

Here's what it should have been:

She came around the corner and saw him standing there and she said, "He did it!"

Australians often shorten words and sometimes the original is lost in the mists of time. Here is one group that maybe needs a little explanation: Should've, would've, could've... The original was should have, would have, could have, not should of, would of, could of, had of, etc. So if you want to use the long version, use have, and if you want to use the shortened version, use 've.

Another one to remember is lose and loose. Here's how it should go: Loose means not tight. Lose means you don't win. As in loser. If you have loose pants, you might just lose them.

Sometimes words sound the same but have different spellings for different meanings, especially when it's the difference between plurals and ownership. If there is more than one of something, it's a plural, which may change the spelling of a word (for instance if it ends in a y) and if something belongs to the something, it's ownership. Like this example: 

The berries are so full of flavour. (More than one berry - plural.)
This berry's flavour is better than all the rest. (The flavour belongs to this berry - ownership.)

And for those of us who like to end things with a flourish, the word is voila, from the French, and not, as I have seen sometimes, wallah. It sounds similar to wallah, so I guess that's where it comes from.  

I hope that all helps in your quest for better understanding. 

love Heather x :-)


  1. I love this page! Are you an English teacher? If not, you should be.... :)

  2. No, Paula, but I did love English as a subject in school. I love the ways it works, as complicated as it is, and I know that a lot of us didn't have an easy time at school, or great teachers, so I'm just trying to make it make sense, if you know what I mean.


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