Conquering English Editing Errors
Having taught English for 18 years now, I can tell you that there are three different types of commonly confused words — and there’s a technique to combat each kind. Come along to learn… and smile, too, since I’ve drawn cartoons to help remember!
The first type of commonly confused words are: homophones: words which sound the same, but mean different things. An example would be whose and who’s or weather vs. whether. Each homophone set has different tricks to help remember it, so keep reading to learn those.
The second kind of commonly confused words are errors in concepts: mixing up two ideas which actually mean quite different things. An example fo this would be confusing former and latter.
The best way to fix these mix-ups is to get a visual image of each word’s definition implanted in your brain — ideally through a funny picture or story. (Stay tuned: I have good examples of those for you! This drawing is a sneak preview…)
The Hardest Words to Spell…
Third, there are mistakes with spelling. What’s funny is that the most confusing words to spell in English are often frequently-used ones which just don’t follow usual conventions. For example, “Its” is a short, simple word which we use every day, but which doesn’t adhere to the usual English language rules for apostrophes. The way to combat these spelling errors is via mnemonic devices: funny memory tricks to stick the spelling in your brain.
Now let’s learn how to swat down the most frequently mixed-up words of ALL these three types so that your writing can sparkle with perfection! I will continue to add to this list, so feel free to send in your requests for which to do next.
Commonly Confused Words Worksheet
How to TEACH Commonly Confused Words
Want a printable (or electronic) four-page interactive lesson on the most commonly confused words? Click to see this grammar and editing worksheet from my online store, which gets high reviews! I hope you find it as useful and enjoyable as my students do.
(Honestly — former pupils come back years later and say they remember these grammar and usage lessons fondly! It warms the heart of this teacher.)
VIDEO: Commonly Confused Words
More English Language Arts Lessons:
Curious to see other English lessons from this friendly middle school ELA teacher and artist, Lillie Marshall? (Don’t be frightened by the fact that I teach 7th grade — these articles are good for all ages.) Check them out here:
- Juxtaposition Examples
- Why is School Important?
- Liminal Space
- Traveling or Travelling?
- Why is Art Important?
- Foreshadowing Examples
Other Commonly Confused Words
There are oh-so-many other frequently mixed up words in the English language, and I would love your help picking the next commonly confused words for me to teach through cartoon lessons! Do use the comment section below to make your request…
The author and artist, Lillie Marshall, is a National Board Certified Teacher of English and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. All art on this site is original and hand-drawn by Lillie. She launched DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoons in 2020, building upon the success of her other two sites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009) and TeachingTraveling.com (founded 2010). Subscribe to Lillie’s monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media to stay connected!