Publick Skool Has Failed U: Spelling Edition

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

After a lot of time on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, I have found spelling errors that plague ill-educated or forgetful users. I’m not an English language expert nor do I play one on TV. This post is more of a rant but maybe it will help you out…do you make any of these cringeworthy mistakes? Find out for yourself.

Apart vs a part

While just a space apart, “a part” and “apart” are essentially antonyms.

Apart is an adverb meaning “separate.” Taken from the Latin a parte meaning at the side.

Example Usage:

We need to move this furniture, should we take it apart?

A part isn’t a single word but a phrase with the article “A.” So let’s look at the word “part.” Part is a noun meaning “segment” or “piece,” coming from the Latin partire for divide.

Example Usage:

I’m so excited to be a part of the organization!

Then vs Than

Then is an adverb usually used in the context of time. Then can be used to define “a moment in time” or “next.”

Example Usage:

We will go to the grocery store, then we will go pick up our lunch.

Than is a preposition used in comparisons, before the second element.

Example Usage:

The caliber of the Western Conference is greater than that of the Eastern Conference.

There vs Their vs They’re

Below, I’ve listed the appropriate usages and you should be able to deduct when not to use the respective word.

There is an adverb used to allude to a position or location.

Example Usage:

I will be going to the mall at 6 pm, you should meet me there.

Their is a possessive determiner used to denote ownership.

Example Usage:

Their dolphoodle bit my finger because he thought it was baby corn!

They’re is a simple conjunction combining “They” and “are.”

A pattern I’ve found is the apostrophe is often replacing a letter or two of the second word in the contraction so that is something to keep in mind when writing.


I’ve: I’ve → Ihave → I have

Weren’t: Weren’t → Werenot → Were not

Couldn’t: Couldn’t → Couldnot → Could not

They’re: They’re → Theyare → They are

Example Usage:

They’re going to be arriving about an hour late so they said we should start without them.

Should of vs Should’ve

This should be an easy fix because “should of” simply does not make sense. I could explain it but the more important thing is to remember the contraction tip I wrote about just a paragraph ago. I’ll give you an explanation anyway.

Should is an affirmative verb suggesting obligation or mandate. Of is a preposition used to complement the succeeding noun.

With the common word usages below, you’ll find why “should of” makes no sense.

Example Usages:

You should put the event on your calendar!

I, Eddard of the House Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, sentence you to die.

To vs too

To is a preposition often used when preceding a destination or verb.

This issue has another simple fix. Surely, you’ve written a birthday or Valentine’s day card and delivered it or physically handed it to the recipient. The standard for cards like that is nothing new. It looks like the below.

To: recipient

From: sender

Example Usage:

I’m headed to the bars, I’ll see you later tonight.

Too is an adverb meaning “in addition” or “also.”

Example Usage:

A: What would you like to drink, sir?

B: I’ll take a gin and tonic, please.

A: And for you, sir?

C: I’ll have that too.

Systemic vs systematic

The distinction between systemic and systematic is a slightly difficult one to catch.

Systemic is an adjective suggesting the relation to a system as a whole.

Example Usage:

The group has observed a systemic issue with obedience.

Systematic is an adjective suggesting the undertaking of a procedure or system.

Example Usage:

The group leaders conducted a systematic investigation to identify the purveyors of disobedience.

Whose vs who’s

The differentiation here brings up my reference to conjunctions.

Whose is a possessive pronoun used to convey ownership.

Example Usage:

Whose line is it anyway?

Who’s is a simple conjunction of “who” and “is.”

Example Usage:

Who’s bringing the chips and dip?

My pet peeve, Pavel, has grown which inspired me to write this post.

Keep the above as a cheat sheet so your careless mistakes don’t slither their way into your professional work!

Thanks for reading, heart and share with someone who makes the above mistakes often!

A human, just like you. This blog is a sneak peek inside my brain. Find me on Twitter ->