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Writing Tips … Don’t Let a Sounds-Like Word Snag You!


Leave it to Mark Twain to remind us, “Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” 


One of the most common snafus I come across in editing a manuscript is the confusion of same sounding words. Partly from auto-corrections, dictation of copy and just not knowing the correct spelling.


All authors stumble here—yes, ALL. Oh, you’ve spelled the word correctly … BUT … is it the right word with the right meaning? Often, it’s not.


Did you know that there are many words and phrases which (should it be that?) cause authors too (oh-oh … is it spelled to?) question weather (hmmm … maybe whether is correct?) their (yikes … definitely not there either … try they’re!) used correctly? If you know what you’re (your is correct here) snafu words are, use the Word search function to do a “search” for every possible variant of that word or phrase.


Let’s try the above paragraph again …


Did you know that there are many words and phrases that cause authors to question whether they’re used correctly? If you know what your snafu words are, use the Word search function to do a “search” for every possible variant of that word or phrase.

Much better!


One of my “go to” tools I use is Mignon Fogarty’s Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. A book that I suggest you get, read, then use as an ongoing reference pronto. To help you consider what your hiccup words might be, here’s a starting list, excerpted from her first chapter:


  • a lot/alot

  • affect/effect

  • can/may

  • further/farther

  • good/well

  • i.e./e.g.

  • into/in to

  • it’s/its

  • lay/lie

  • less/fewer

  • that/who

  • their/they’re/there

  • then/than

  • who/whom

  • your/you’re




If you’re unsure of how to use the above words, get a little help … the Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing is an excellent companion to have at your fingertips!






Writing for you …



Dr. Judith Briles started writing notes to her classmates in first grade … and got into “disruptive trouble” from her teachers. She’s now the author of 45 books and counting, still being a disrupter. Her books have won over 55 book awards and been Amazon bestsellers.You can follow her professional side at www.TheBookShepherd.com where she works with writers to become published authors. Listen in to her weekly podcast: AuthorU: Your Guide to Book Publishing at https://bit.ly/AuthorUPodcast


©2024 Judith Briles – The Book Shepherd™ All Rights Reserved

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