two gray pencils on yellow surface

Remember the limitations of spellcheck systems.

They can’t spot misused homophones.

Below are some of the words most commonly confused:

  • affect (verb): to influence, to move emotionally;
  • effect (verb): to cause something to occur. (Unless you are writing about psychology, the noun you want is almost always effect: result)
  • aural: relating to the sense of hearing; oral: relating to the mouth or speech
  • chord: group of notes sounded simultaneously
  • cord: thin rope
  • council: an assembly; counsel: advice, guidance
  • to complement: to add to or complete; to compliment: to express admiration
  • currant: dried seedless grape; current: relating to the present
  • discreet: tactful; discrete: separate or distinct
  • licence: noun; license: verb
  • practice: noun; practise: verb
  • principal: most important; principle: a standard or rule of conduct
  • sight: the power of seeing; site: land with something on it; cite: to quote
  • stationary: still; stationery: paper, etc
  • storey: floor or level of a building; story: tale
  • yoke: collar for attaching draught animals; yolk: yellow part of an egg.
  • Ampersands (&): Avoid the use of “&” for “and” except in brand names or recognised abbreviations such as R&B.

More from the Stylebook