Edit Me

quote mark

Today’s focus is on word traps. You’re typing along, your muse somewhere in the upper stratosphere, your fingers moving mindlessly. When you read over your work later, you’re still on a high.

“Who’s the goddess? I am.”

Then you get your edits back and your jaw drops at the number of messy errors you’ve made. Here are a few to look out for. These words have big old stop signs attached to them. As you type them, I’m giving you a yellow light. Type with caution.

Here’s why:


This guy really, really needs you to stop at his garage sale. Because, well, he needs that education. A collage is a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric onto a backing. College is the word he’s looking for.

More word traps taken from http://www.stage-door.org/stampact/traps.html. Please visit this helpful site for more.

alright–it’s never ALL RIGHT to use this spelling

afterward is not the afterword of a book (rel. foreword)

antennas are aerials; antennae are insect feelers.

bait, bate. Bated breath.

barbed wire. Barb and Bob should have nothing to do with it.

barrette hair ornament, beret French cap, biretta Catholic priest hat, Beretta James Bond’s gun.

bemused is bewildered. We are not amused.

biceps is a single mucsle. It just ends in an “s”.

cavalry (soldiers on horseback) / Calvary (hill of Jesus’ crucifixion)

disburse money and disperse crowds.

drudge (hard, annoying work), dredge (muck up from the bottom, or sprinkle flour on meat).

effect is a result (the song has an effect…) AFFECT is to make a difference in such as: affect my health

enquiry is asking a question; inquiry is a formal investigation

flare temporary or sudden, flair instinctive talent.

gibe taunt; jibe with the truth.

heyday–we aren’t bringing cows and livestock into it with HAY

iced tea; not “ice tea.”

jamb is the door or window side-post. You can jam your finger against the jamb.

Ku Klux Klan. It’s Ku, not “Klu.” Smart people know this already, as do some extremely stupid people (that is, members of the organization) who don’t have a klu.

lode as in mother lode.

mantel over a fireplace; mantle over your shoulders, around the earth, job responsibilities or (v.) to conceal. *I had to look this one up about 300 times before I remembered it.)

notorious is never admirable.

on to, onto. Jump onto the horse, move on to the next subject.

peak of a mountain or a cap, maximum; peek glimpse; peke, Pekingese dog; pique displeasure; provoke or excite; piqué fabric.

rack up points; rack or wrack to cause agony, but go to wrack and ruin. Nerve-wracking or -racking, depending, I guess, on the degree of damage.
(American: rack only for pain). Rack your brain.

riffle a deck of cards or pages; rifle someone’s belongings (at rifle-point?)

skulk when you sneak around; sulking is reserved for teenagers.

tendinitis. No O, even though it does affect the tendon.

urban describes a city; urbane is sophisticated.

viola is a musical instrument. Voila is the French word that means something like “There it is!”

wangle through trickery (“wangle an invitation”); wrangle quarrel or herd livestock.

whet [not wet] your appetite.

I hope some of these stick out in your mind next time you’re writing! Watch for stop signs!

Thanks for reading!


6 comments on “Edit Me

  1. One error that I often see when I’m reading, and for some reason notice, is passed and past. When they talk about something happening in the passed, it drives me crazy. LOL!

    I always have to look up effect and affect. You would think someday I would remember, but I have to look them up all the time!

  2. I have some unfortunate brain lapses when I write effect/affect. Always have to look them up. Also outrageous confusions with peak/peek. @_@ Thanks for the handy tutorial. 🙂

  3. Hm, I am not sure that “tendinitis” is always correct rather than “tendonitis,” or else there are a whole lot of doctors, insurance companies, and hospitals spelling it incorrectly. I know this because I suffer from tendonitis, and I have always seen it spelled this way.

    • It’s possible that this list I pulled the word from is outdated. Time will change a word’s spelling as it becomes more mainstream. For instance, years ago, we always saw e-mail. Now the world is okay with us dropping the hyphen for email. I think in time e-books will be the same. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  4. That is a great list of word traps to consider. I am using your “Edit Me” to help the boys with their college writing.

  5. Great list! Thanks for sharing. My favorite is the garage sale sign – priceless.

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