Everyone makes the occasional grammar or spelling mistake, even professional writers.
Sure, there are some that are super common.
These include mixups like “you're/your” and “its/it's.” A lot of people struggle with these things.
But there are also some really common mixups you might be making that are far less well-known.
A good example would be “discreet” versus “discrete.”
The first, “discreet,” is arguably quite a bit more commonly used. But a lot of people never realized that “discrete,” as in individually separate and distinct, actually uses a different spelling.
There's also “capital/capitol.”
That one's especially easy to make, especially since it's not that often that you find yourself using the word “capitol.”
A recent post from Copyblogger highlights some of the trickiest homophone pairs, which you might not even realize had two distinct spellings.
1. Compliment vs. Complement
A “compliment (noun)” is an “expression of praise.” When you “compliment (verb)” someone, you praise something about her.
“I like your neon-rainbow, unicorn t-shirt” is a compliment.
The word “compliment,” spelled with the letter “i,” should remind you of saying “I like” — how you begin a compliment.
A “complement (noun)” is “something that completes something else.” When something “complements (verb)” something else, it “makes it whole/adds value to it/completes it.”
Complete is part of the word “complement.”
2. Premiere vs. Premier
“Premiere (noun)” is “the first showing of an event.” “Premiere” as other parts of speech conveys a similar meaning.
Premiere could describe a movie premiere. The words “premiere” and “movie” both end with the letter “e.”
Use the adjective “premier” to describe “the best ___.”
Premier means premium. Neither word ends with the letter “e.”
“Premier (noun)” is less common. The term describes a person who is first in rank.
For example, a “premier” may be a chief executive officer or president of a company.
3. Beside vs. Besides
If you want to convey the meaning of “next to or alongside,” use “beside.”
Associate the word “beside” with the word “alongside.” Both words end with the letters “s-i-d-e.”
Beside can also mean “not connected to.” You would write “that is beside the point.”
The word “besides” means “in addition to.”
“Besides” ends with the letter “s,” which reminds us of a plural word — two or more of something, additional items.
“Besides can also mean “other than/except.”
Associate the “s” sound in the word “except” with the word “besides,” which ends with the letter “s.”