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Top: A cute angel. Bottom: Acute angle. If you can't tell the difference, you're being obtuse. Right?




They're as different as night and day

Don't you think that night and day are different?

What's wrong with you?"

Sum riders our nut-or-yes-lee ink-lined too ether knot used eh spill-checquer hat awl (pro-due-sing Miss Steaks suck ass day new Morris clams off Ms. Spellings awn dis paige), ore truss tam blind-lee. [1]

This leads to two distinct problems:

  • On the one hand, if the mistyped word happens to be a legitimate word itself, the spell checker will let it go without mention. This leads to errors like those in this trope's name: rogue/rouge, angels/angles, and satan/satin.
  • On the other hand, a mistyped word, proper noun, or even valid English word that isn't part of the dictionary (for whatever reason) can get "corrected" to something utterly preposterous, especially if the spell checker is set to "autocorrect". This variant is called the Cupertino Effect after numerous instances of "cooperation" being replaced by "Cupertino" in documents by early spellcheckers because they didn't recognize "cooperation" (even though they did recognize "co-operation") and "Cupertino" was the closest match it could find in its dictionary. [2]
    • The Scunthorpe Problem, or Clbuttic Mistake, is a variant where words are "misspelled" because a filter saw a string it construed as rude within a legit word and autocorrected it. These are usually easy to spot, though, because everyone knows "consbreastution" and "buttbuttination" aren't real words.

So, this is when the spellchecker ceases to be a friend and may even become actively an enemy.

It's unfortunately becoming more common even in professionally published works, with the increasing dependence on the computer spellchecker and the decline in the number of proofreaders working for publishing houses. It can also be a big problem for people trying to translate into another language without a proofreader.

If the words are correct, but the punctuation, grammar, or other usage is just wrong, that's Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma. Compare with Spell My Name with an "S", where confusion occurs because nobody can agree on how a name is spelled. When this is done by a character in a work of fiction (or just by someone sending fanmail), expect them to get told that You Make Me Sic. See Malaproper for someone who does this with the spoken word.

For a somewhat larger, somewhat snarky, list, see The Big List of Booboos and Blunders.

Naturally, this page is a magnet for Puns.

Also, please try to avoid sounding like a rude Grammar Nazi when adding examples.

Not to be confused with Fallen Angel or Hells Angels.

Examples of Rouge Angles of Satin include:

Commonly Misspelled Homophones

  • accept/except
    • I accept your apology, except the bit about me being a douchebag.
  • achieve/archive
    • I somehow achieved the disclosing of important documents from the library archives.
  • adverse/averse
    • I am averse to these adverse weather conditions.
  • affect/effect
    • He affected the mannerisms of Solid Snake, which had quite an effect on his date.
    • Usually, to affect something is to cause an effect in it.
      • Even simpler: most of the time, affect is a verb, effect is a noun. (Mnemonic: RAVEN; a=verb, e=noun.) Although this is technically incorrect (both words can be nouns or verbs), "affect" as a noun is not commonly used. "A classic symptom of schizophrenia is "flattened affect," i.e. blunted emotional response." So: due to the effects of mental illness, your affect could be affected.
        • So you're saying a mental illness effect could effect an affected affect?
        • To effect, as a verb, is to create or bring into being. See an xkcd example.
        • Affect (pronounced AFF-ekt), as a noun, means the same thing as affectation. It's where we get the word "affection."
  • Aid/aide
    • The senator rushed to the aid of his young aide, when he learned the lad had AIDS.
  • A lot/alot/allot
    • You can allot this article to a lot of people who think that "alot" is a word.
      • "A lot" means "many" ("lot" is a large amount, "a" an indefinite article).
      • "Allot" is a verb and means "assign" or "distribute". It's more or less the same as "allocate".
      • "Alot", on the other hand, is no more a word than "afew", "abunch" or "agreatpile".
        • Actually, Alot is a town in the Ratlam District of Madhya Pradesh, India, although that probably wasn't what you meant. Regardless, some dictionaries list alot as a valid contraction of a lot. Writing alot probably isn't a big deal, unless it is a highly formal setting or grammar nazis are spying on you.
        • "Alot", alternately, is "a magical creature" that was "made up to deal with" a "compulsive need to correct other people's grammar" depicted here.
  • Allowed/aloud
    • Please keep quiet in the library. You're not allowed to read the books aloud.
  • Already/all ready
    • "We're all ready to go!" his cheerful family told him in chorus. Christ! Less than ten minutes in, and his new Stepford family was already getting on his nerves.
  • Alright/all right
    • Traditionally "all right" is the preferred format, and some dictionaries, spellcheckers and English scholars consider "alright" to be a corruption of the two-word term and do not accept it. However, in modern times the two are coming to have separate meanings and "alright" is gaining wider acceptance as its own term. Under that, "all right" is used to denote that some form of group is correct in some fashion ("The sums are all right"), while "alright" is used to denote something is satisfactory ("The singer tonight was alright") or that you young hipster whippersnappers are having a good time ("Alright, duuuuude!").
  • Altar: A table used as a platform for religious worship. Alter: to change something.
    • The Lady's Guild at the church altered the altar cloth.
    • And don't confuse either with Altair, which is the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus. Or the Assassin. Or the first microcomputer.
  • annal/anal
    • "Annals" are year-by-year chronologies. "Anal" is what you are when you're way too picky about your year-to-year chronologies.
    • Incidentally, someone who compiles annals is an annalist, but if you behave in an anal manner you might want to see an analyst.
  • Altogether/All together
    • Altogether means to do something in an encompassing fashion, all together means to do it collectively when referring to a group. "Now, all together, we'll begin on the count of three" vs "we're altogether too tired to do it again".
  • area/arena
    • A fighting arena should be around this area.
  • Atheist: a person who doesn't believe in gods / athiest: the most athy person. Now if only "athy" meant something...
    • Also, atheist is a noun not a name, so Atheist is only used at the beginning of a sentence.
      • The atheist pondered the aesthetics of the eyries.
  • away/aweigh
    • The Navy song is "Anchors Aweigh", meaning to weigh anchor.
  • banzai/bonsai
    • "Banzai!" screamed the samurai as he set about the tiny bonsai tree with his katana.
      • The word "banzai" literally translates as "ten thousand years," in the context of hoping the Emperor is blessed with surviving to a hyperbolically-old age. Therefore a (less-literal) translation would be "long life" or "long live the Emperor!", not "kill yourself now!"
  • bare/bear
    • "Bear with me," said the shop assistant. "Bare with me," said the prostitute. "Bear's with me," said the zookeeper.
  • Barry/berry/bury
    • Barry Manilow took one sip of his berry-flavored cocktail, and immediately wanted to bury it. Yuck.
  • base/bass
    • The string bass player wasn't very good; in fact, his jazz technique was entirely off-base.
    • Bass (the fish) is pronounced differently from bass (the musical instrument/voice).
  • bated/baited (as in, you wait with bated breath — it means you're holding your breath, not stuffing maggots into your windpipe)
    • "bated" is basically obsolete outside of the phrase "bated breath". You may occasionally encounter the related word "abate" though.
  • Beatle/beetle
    • "Beetle" is the correct spelling for the insect, or the long-running model of Volkswagen.
    • The Beatles spell their name the way they do because the first syllable is "beat." 'Cause they're rock musicians. Get it?
  • bias/biased
    • Bias is an intangible concept. A person cannot be "bias" any more than they can be "anger" or "happiness". They may, however, be biased, and possess bias.
  • board/broad/bored (as in "Should I get my son a surf broad for christmas?")
    • I was really bored (uninterested) with what was written on the teacher's broad (wide) whiteboard, so I bored (dug) a hole in the floor board (wooden plank) to escape.
  • born/borne
    • Robert Ludlum was born in 1927, and had borne the weight of much criticism when he wrote The Bourne Identity.
    • Bourne, on the other hand, is an old way of saying small river. After Moses was born he was borne on the bourne.
  • bowl/bowel (as in "Super Bowel")
    • If your bowels are not moving regularly, have a bowl of high-fiber cereal.
  • Breach/breech
    • Breach: To break into something. Breech: Pants (the same word as breeches, basically). "The soldier burst into the room to tell his captain that the enemy had breached the outer wall, only to find him woefully lacking in the breech department. And then he breached his breeches."
    • Modern rifles are breech loading, in that you load the ammunition where the rifle would wear pants, if it were a person. Old-fashioned rifles are muzzle-loading, the muzzle being the end you point towards the target.
  • break/brake
    • If a car fails to brake in time, it will break against the wall.
  • breath/breathe
  • broach/brooch
    • "What happened to that old diamond brooch of yours," asked Rose's grandchildren, broaching the subject of the Titanic once again.
  • brow/brown
    • Silently, she raised a brown brow, but said nothing.
  • bought/brought
    • I bought a new hat and brought it with me
  • Canon/cannon
  • cant (slope (of a road or racetrack); lingo of a particular group; insincere talk) versus can't (cannot)
    • You can't speak thieves' cant unless you're a rogue.
  • capital/capitol
    • Washington DC is the capital of the United States, and home to its capitol building.
    • "Capitol" refers only to a building (if you're in the US it's almost always referring to the building in DC that Congress meets in, but the original "capitol" was in Rome, on the Capitoline Hill, and a few other countries have their own capitol buildings as well). All other meanings of this homophone use capital — capital city, capital letter, capital punishment, capitalism, you name it.
      • In New York (at least) the building in Albany where the legislature meets is called the Capitol. Another example is Capitol Reef National Park in Utah, named for the supposed resemblance of one of the rock formations to the U.S. Capitol.
    • You go to the capital to look at tall buildings. You go to the capitol to pay your tolls (dues, taxes, what have you).
  • carrot/carat/karat/caret
    • carrot is the orange vegetable that Bugs Bunny eats.
    • carat is a unit of weight equal to 1/5 of a gram, used for measuring diamonds and other precious stones.
    • karat is a unit of purity equal to 1/24 pure. 14 karat gold is 14/24 gold and 10/24 something else.
    • caret is one of these: ^ — a diacritical mark used to indicate insertion. It's also used in mathematics for indicating power levels (i.e., you can write cubed as "to the power of 3" or ^3).
    • Using a carrot to approximate the width of his true love's finger, he slipped onto it a 14-karat gold ring bearing a 2-carat diamond. Too small. He scribbled a caret onto the order form and wrote above it "add 1/2 ring size".
  • Cavalry/Calvary
    • Cavalry are troops on horseback. Calvary is a hill outside Jerusalem (also known as "Golgotha").
  • chic/chick
    • A chick can be chic, as long as we're talking about a woman and not a baby chicken.
    • This one generally only goes one way, as "chick" is almost never used in place of "chic".
      • Probably because "chic" and "chick" are not actually homophones. "Chic" is pronounced as "sheek" by pretty much everyone who uses the word.
  • cite/site/sight "I would like to cite a site that I just had a sight of."
  • cleaver/clever
    • Cleaver: butcher's knife. Clever: smart.
    • Mind you, a clever cleaver is quite sharp.
  • cloth/clothe/cloths/clothes/clothing
  • coarse/course
  • Colombia/Columbia
    • Colombia, with an "o", is the nation in South America. Columbia, with an "u", is a poetic name for the Americas and the feminine personification of the United States of America, which fell out of use in the 20th century, but remains in many place names in the USA (most notably, the District of Columbia).
    • The space shuttle that burned up on reentry in 2001 was Columbia, with a u.
    • CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting Service, recently aired a news piece about drug cartels in Colombia.
  • compliment/complement
    • I should compliment the interior designer on how well the turquoise drapes complement the chartreuse rug.
  • conscious/conscience
    • I made a conscious decision to be guided by my conscience in the matter.
  • council/counsel/consul
    • The next item on the city council's agenda was an update on the discrimination lawsuit from its legal counsel. Since the consul is a party to the suit, his diplomatic immunity should make things interesting.
  • currant/current
    • She dropped a piece of her currant bun into the river, where it was swept away by the current.
  • dear/deer
    • "Oh dear!" yelped the motorist, when he discovered he'd run over a deer.
  • dissent/descent/decent/descant
    • While Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man is a decent treatment of hominid evolution, many creationists still dissent to its claims.
    • A "descant," sometimes called an obligato, is a chorus part higher in pitch than the melody, often with different rhythm and words. It's usually sung by sopranos, and is pronounced "DESS-can't".
  • definitely/defiantly/diffidently
    • I definitely wish my students didn't think there was an "a" in the word "definitely". However, they defiantly continue to not only substitute an "a" for an "i", but also to transpose the "n" and "a" and leave off the final "e", making the word triply wrong. And ones who don't spell it as "defiantly" give me the spell checked version "diffidently," not being at all diffident.
  • desert/dessert
    • The Sahara is a desert (DE-zert), you desert your post (de-ZURT), you get your just deserts (de-ZURT), but a dessert (de-ZURT again) is a yummy pudding. You can also use "just desserts" if you're making a pun, but the original phrase uses single-s "deserts", in the now-obscure (other than in that phrase) meaning of "something you deserve".
    • And of course, there's a Perry Bible Fellowship comic that plays with this.
    • Interesting observation: Mount Desert Island in Maine was discovered by French explorers, so the "desert" is pronounced as per the French pronunciation of the word, which sounds like "dessert," that is, of course, unless you speak the local dialect, where it is pronounced how it sounds. And you thought Newfies had it bad…
    • And don't get either of these confused with "Deseret", which was the proposed name for Utah before it was admitted to the U.S..
  • diffuse/defuse
    • You defuse a bomb by taking the fuse out. And metaphorically, you defuse a tense situation by calming everyone down. To diffuse (diff-YOOZ) means to distribute evenly: You will be diffused over a wide area if you fail to defuse the bomb correctly. Finally, something is diffuse (diff-YOOS) if it's sparse or rarefied: Before the modern founding of the State of Israel, the Jewish population in post-WW 2 Europe was very diffuse.
  • discreet/discrete
    • The enemy soldier was sliced into three discrete pieces - but let us draw a discreet veil over proceedings.
  • disperse/disburse
    • European finance ministers refused to disburse the bailout funds that might save Greece. Riots erupted, and despite the best efforts of riot police, the crowds refused to disperse.
  • dominate/dominant
    • Lance Armstrong is a dominant cyclist who used to dominate the Tour de France. Using "dominate" as a noun or adjective is also a common error in BDSM fiction.
  • draw/drawer/drawers
    • A drawer is what you store things in. Your drawers are your underwear. Do I need to draw you a picture?
      • If you have a large collection of drawers, you might need a few drawers to store them in. Invest in a chest.
  • duck tape/duct tape
    • Discussed below. The etymology of the term is complicated, but the short version is that both are acceptable.
  • elicit/illicit
    • Illicit activities often elicit pleasurable reactions.
  • entomology/etymology
    • Entomology is the study of insects. Etymology is the study of the origin of words, or a noun describing a word's history.
      • "ent" is similar to "ant", so entomology is the study on insects.
  • eminent/imminent
    • The former means "important", the latter means "upcoming".
    • "The eminent ambassador's imminent arrival."
    • Subsequent to that, eminently/imminently — the former meaning "most", the latter meaning "soon"
      • "The eminently important ambassador will be arriving imminently."
  • everyday/every day
    • Everyday is an adjective, meaning "ordinary". Every day is an adverb, indicating how often something is done.
    • Every day is not everyday.
  • except/expect
    • "I expect you to have no problem with this game except the fourth level."
      • I accept your challenge!
  • fair/faire/fare
    • The weather was fair at the Renaissance Faire, so a lot of visitors wanted to ride the boat around the pond there — leading the boatman to charge a high fare.
  • farther/further
    • Farther indicates something has more distance. (You need to drive farther into the desert!) Further is used to get the same idea across when physical distance is not appropriate. Furthermore, further is the one of the two that can be used as a verb (e.g. "Fox Mulligan fought to further the cause of Furry Fandom's acceptance").
      • Not to be confused with father...
  • faze/phase
    • Yes, "faze" is a word. No, it's not just "phase" spelled wrong. Yes, they mean two completely different things. Even Mark Twain gets this wrong. To clarify: The Hero was unfazed by the villain's power to alter the phase of matter.
      • Considering that you're altering the phase of matter every time you melt an ice cube, that's not very surprising.
    • Billy's father was unfazed by Billy's behavior at school. "It's just a phase."
  • ferment/foment
    • The new government regulations on beer prevent the brew from fermenting properly. It has enraged so many beer drinkers that anarchists are now using it as an excuse to foment a revolution.
  • ferry/fairy
    • I asked my fairy godmother for a world cruise on a luxury ocean liner, but all she gave me was a ride on the Hudson River ferry.
  • fiction/friction
  • flair/flare
    • The firebreather's use of her flare added flair to her performance.
  • flaunt/flout
    • The rebel flouted the school's dress code by flaunting his new spiky collar.
      • Ahh... it's an ineffable joy to encounter these words used properly in a sentence.
  • For all intensive purposes is an eggcorn of For all intents and purposes, which means 'for all motives/reasons, and purposes possible'. 'Intents and purposes' is the original, correct phrase. Using 'intensive purposes' will make readers think you fucked up.
    • A man of intense purpose, with his purposive intents, was, for all intents and purposes, being purposefully intense.
  • for ever/forever
    • Compare "they are forever arguing with one another" with "if you're waiting for the abolition of income tax, you're probably going to wait for ever". The former use is hyperbolic, the second means a literal eternity. Granted, this distinction is only recognised in Commonwealth English: in American English 'forever' is the only proper spelling.
  • forward/foreward/foreword
    • Forward is a direction.
    • A foreword is a preface. (It's the WORDs that come beFORE the actual text. Get it?)
    • Foreward isn't even a ward word.
  • formally/formerly
    • Formally means in a manner consistent with some particular set of rules, like the rules of etiquette; formerly means that the description no longer applies but it used to.
      • In The Queen's English, the two are pronounced the same.
        • Speaking of, the Queen formally holds powers that were formerly used frequently.
  • forth/fourth
    • "Go forth!" he cried for the fourth time that day.
  • foul/fowl
    • When someone writes that they smell a fowl odor,one can only imagine there is a chicken or some other bird nearby. Of course, if the fowl offends your senses, you could also say it's foul.
  • hanger/hangar
    • The pilot parked his airplane in the hangar before hanging his flight jacket on a hanger.
    • A hanger is also a bladed weapon, similar to a cutlass, but a bit longer.
  • have/of (I never would HAVE thought that people would think it's spelled "would of").
    • This is probably born of a mistaken phonetic spelling of "Would've," which is a contraction of "Would have," with the apostrophe replacing the space and the H-A.
  • hawk/hock
    • A hawk is a kind of bird of prey or, metaphorically, someone who is politically in favor of war. You hawk up phlegm from the back of your throat, because "hawk" is the sound you make when you do it.
    • The hock is that backwards-knee-looking joint on a horse's rear legs. To hock something is to put it up for sale in a pawn shop.
  • heal/heel/he'll
    • He's injured his heel playing soccer; he'll want it to heal soon.
    • And if you don't care about the difference, you may be a heel yourself.
  • heart/hart
    • The former pumps your blood. The latter is an old word for a stag (the kind with antlers, not the kind of party where you have strippers).
  • here/hear (the incorrect "Here! Here!" is, if anything, more common than the correct "Hear! Hear!")
    • If you stand over here, you can hear the English majors crying after viewing this page.
      • I hear their tears of joy. They make me happy, right here.
  • horde/hoard/whored
    • A horde of dwarves descended on the Lonely Mountain when they heard about the dragon's hoard of treasure; the few dwarves who were absent because they had whored themselves out as mercenaries missed the opportunity.
    • The hordes (roughly "swarms") of Bene Gesserit witches hoard (to hoard = to put into a hoard; to stockpile) melange into their hoards (stockpiles). They will whore themselves out to do it; in fact, they have already whored (prostituted) themselves out and still are.
    • Nobody ever had a "treasure horde", except Qin Shi Huang.
  • hour/our/are
    • The hour is late, and our host is growing tired. Are we to keep waiting?
      • Arrr, send 'im ta bed, then! He kin have arr room!
  • its/it's
    • (Note: its' is not a word, except perhaps in some contrived context involving multiple games of tag.)
    • TV Tropes widened its focus; now it's covering tropes from all kinds of media.
    • Important distinction: an apostrophe is actually an illustration of a speaker "slurring over" parts of a word or phrase: "It's" is a shortening of "It is", with the apostrophe replacing the space and the "i".
    • It's can also be short for "it has", as in "It's been a long time."
    • One reason for this confusion is the use of the apostrophe-s ('s) to indicate possession (genitive) for nouns in English. But pronouns indicate possession by inflexion, or by adding an s without the apostrophe, e.g. "yours", "hers", etc., including "its". People tend not to notice that "it" is a pronoun. The easiest mnemonic is "'His' does not have an apostrophe."
    • Bob the Angry Flower says it best.
  • lead/led
    • "Lead", when pronounced "leed", is either a present-tense verb meaning to take charge ("The conductor will lead the chorus in Handel's Messiah now"), a noun meaning the front of a race ("And Mario Andretti takes the lead!"), or a noun meaning a wire ("Connect the black lead to the volt meter").
    • "Lead", when pronounced "lehd", is a heavy metal ("The outlaw threatened to fill the cowboy full of lead with his six-guns"), or the business end of a pencil ("I broke the lead, now I have to sharpen it again"), or a verb meaning to add the heavy metal to something ("This car only runs on leaded gasoline").
    • "Led" is always pronounced "lehd", and only means the past tense of "to lead" ("The general led his troops into a battle; it was a rout").
      • It's also the first word of Led Zeppelin's name, which may have been chosen instead of "Lead" so that no one would mispronounce it like "leed".
    • "LED" in all caps is an abbreviation for Light Emitting Diode.
  • Lighting/lightning/lightening
    • After lightning struck the power station, our house didn't have any working lighting at all.
      • A lightning strike lightening the mood at all.
  • literally/literately
    • For some reason I'm seeing this in a lot of Fanfic (often fic that is otherwise quite compelling and well-written, but GAAAAAHHHH). Dammit people, "literately" has nothing to do with the exact meaning of a figure of speech, it means the character can read. The contexts aren't even similar.
  • lo/low (As in "Lo and Behold", virtually the only remaining use of the otherwise obsolete word "lo".)
    • Blame that on its low circulation outside dramatic circles.
    • And lo, there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth... on this very page!
  • loch/lock
    • I have to lock the door when I leave my house overlooking Loch Ness.
  • lose/loose
    • I start to lose perspective when I realize that people's grasp of spelling can be this loose.
    • If you don't tighten that loose bolt, we could lose the entire wing!
    • If your pants were any looser, you would look like a real loser.
    • Lose has lost an o. Loose has an extra o, and extra space between the l and the s, the hussy.
    • The Dwarf Fortress motto is "Losing is fun." Some people have trouble with this. Though loosing that dragon you caught in a cage trap is quite likely to result in losing.
  • manner/manor
    • In a manner befitting a gentleman, mind your manners when you visit stately Wayne Manor.
  • metal/medal/mettle/meddle
    • By proving his mettle in the footrace, the sprinter won a medal made of gold, a precious metal. Sadly, the committee took it away from him the next day, when they discovered he'd meddled with his drug test results.
    • Some medals are made of precious metals and get stolen from those of mettle, by meddling thieves.
    • I would have gotten away with meddling with the metal used to make the medals if it hadn't been for those meddling kids!
  • misled/mislead
    • I was misled by false information; how misleading!
  • missal/missile
    • The bishop opened his missal to page 206. He hoped today's mass would hit his congregation like a guided missile.
  • missed/mist
    • The water balloon missed its target by inches, bursting on the wall beyond and sending up a fine mist of water droplets.
    • And neither should be confused with the classic adventure game Myst.
  • naval/navel
  • no/know
    • No, I don't think you know enough about writing to become a professional.
  • ordnance/ordinance
    • A city ordinance forbids the possession of explosive ordnance without a permit.
  • pair/pear/pare
    • The pair of produce vendors tried to pare down their options, but to no avail: They still had a pear and an orange they had to sell.
  • palate/palette/pallet
    • palate: The roof of the mouth (used as a metonym for the sense of taste).
    • palette: The board a painter uses to mix paints (metaphorically, a selection of colors).
    • pallet: A platform for storing and transporting goods to Ash Ketchum's hometown.
  • pastime/past time (it's past time for people to learn the difference)
  • peak/peek/pique
    • On the mountain's peak, he took a peek into his friend's diary in an act of pique.
    • The phrase is "piqued his interest", not "peaked".
  • peal/peel
    • Peals of thunder wracked the air. Mother Nature was displeased that a careless camper had thrown a banana peel on the ground.
  • pearl/Perl/purl
    • "Pearl" is a shiny round bauble made by an oyster. "Perl" is a programming language. "Purl" is what you do when you're knitting.
  • pedal/peddle
    • A bicycle has pedals, not peddles. What Lance Armstrong et al. do is pedal their bicycles, not peddle them. Peddle is a verb, meaning to sell, and a peddler is an itinerant salesman.
    • pedal/petal: Bicycles have pedals; flowers have petals.
  • personal/personnel
    • It is my personal opinion that military personnel should not be forgotten.
  • plain/plane
    • The plane flew over the plain.
    • After shaving an eighth of an inch off the end of the wooden door with his plane, the hungry carpenter ordered a plain hamburger.
  • populace/populous
    • If the city's populace is missing, you can't say it's very populous.
    • And rallying the remaining inhabitants to find the missing people might be the populist thing to do.
  • pore/pour/poor/paw (Particularly the phrase "pore over"; one never pours over a document unless they do a poor job holding onto their coffee mug)
    • Since his pores are clogged with dirt and sweat, he pours water on himself to clean up.
    • The Goon Show (an old BBC radio show) actually poked fun at this:

 Narrator: And all through the night, they poured over the plans. Sometimes they poured on the table, sometimes they poured on the floor, but mostly they poured over the plans.

  • porn/pawn
    • After you traded in your grandmother's jewelery at a pawn shop, you can spend the cash you got in return on adult movies at a porn shop.
    • Note: pron, pr0n, prawn, etc. are often used on the internet as censor bypasses.
  • portrait/portrayed
    • The portrait portrayed dogs playing a card game.
  • premier/premiere
    • The premiere of the new show featured the premier stating the premier reasons why the reform was necessary.
  • principal/principle
    • The school's principal held sacred the principles set forth by the school's founders; the principal one was "knowledge is power".
  • precedent/precedence/president
    • Precedent is a statement or action that sets a rule or pattern for later. Precedence means that something takes priority over something else. The young man set a precedent with his wife by staying late at work even though they had a date. His boss had given him a new assignment which took precedence over everything else in his life. (Hint: Precedent affects everything that comes afterwards, something with precedence is more important than everything that came before.) A president is a chief executive; although some folk etymologies connect it with precedent, it actually has to do with "to preside".
  • presence/presents/prescience
    • The Great Zambini's powers of prescience warned him of the impending presence of his friends, who would shower him with birthday presents. Or maybe that was just his calendar.
  • prey/pray
    • You might pray in a cathedral, but you don't generally prey on people there.
    • Although it does indeed prey upon other insects, it's called the praying mantis, due to the superficial resemblance of its forelegs to human hands folded in prayer.
  • prescribe/proscribe
    • Some doctors are willing to prescribe medical marijuana for patients; the US federal government proscribes any such use.
  • psychic/physic (When Shakespeare wrote "Take physic", he meant a purgative.)
    • A psychic will pick you up with mind powers, a physic will pick you up with energizing medicine.
    • To make matters worse, within the psychiatric community, "psychic" simply means of or pertaining to the psyche, e.g. "His psychic disposition is that of a manic-depressive with mild schizoid behavior."
  • pubic/public
    • Never show your pubic area when out in public. Unless you're into exhibitionism.
      • Or have made at least one middling-quality movie or music video, ever.
  • quite/quiet
    • It was quite obvious that this error is more a typing mistake than a genuine error. Be quiet, the rest of you.
  • rack/wrack
    • It was a mistake to compliment her on her rack. I spent the rest of the day wracked with pain.
  • regimen/regiment
    • The Colonel put his entire regiment onto a strict regimen of daily push-ups.
  • rein/reign/rain
    • After he lost his grasp on the reins, his reign as Coolest Dude on the Ranch came to an end when he fell off his horse in the rain.
    • It's "free rein" as in leaving a horse's movements unchecked, not "free reign" as in an unchecked autocrat. However, by this point it's pretty pointless to argue.
  • revel/reveal
    • It was revealed that yesterday, the entire senior class participated in a revel after the end of final exams. No one knows where they got the masks.
  • ridged/rigid
    • Corrugated iron is both ridged, having ridges all the way along it, and rigid, because it doesn't flop and bend.
  • role/roll
  • route/rout
    • The battle was a rout; the winning army chased the losing army half the length of route 66.
      • American English pronouces "route" as either "root" or "raut." British English pronounces "route" only as "root."
  • route/root
    • The tooth was in a tricky position; to perform the root canal, the dentist had to find another route for his drill to follow.
  • secede/succeed
    • The Southern states seceded from the USA in 1861. If they had won the US Civil War, their bid at independence would have succeeded.
      • "Succeed" can also mean "to follow another person in an official position," as in, "Queen Elizabeth II succeeded King George VI to the British throne." This can make matters more confusing, in that there have been both wars of succession and wars of secession in human history.
  • sew/so/sow
    • You reap what you sow, so if you sew, you will reap sewn clothing.
    • And if you breed pigs, you might sow a sow.
  • shear/sheer
    • It was a sheer accident that caused the aeroplane's wing to shear off.
    • If you shear a mountain clean in half, the exposed face will be a sheer cliff.
  • shed/she'd
    • She'd have to tidy up the shed at some point.
  • Should of/should have
    • You should of course not try to trick me. I should have known!
  • shoo-in/shoe-in
    • "Shoo in" was originally a racetrack term, and was is applied to a horse expected to easily win a race, and, by extension, to any contestant expected to win an easy victory. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the term in print dates back to 1928. "A 'shoo in' was originally a horse that was expected to win a race, not by virtue of its speed or endurance, but because the race was fixed. The sardonic 'subtext' of the original usage, now lost, was that the designated horse would win even if it were so lackadaisical in its performance that it simply wandered somehow up to the finish line and had to be 'shooed in' to victory." "Shoe-in" is a misspelling of "shoo-in", but most people think it's correct because they think of it as "having one shoe in the door".
  • shutter/shudder
    • He had to suppress a shudder of disgust as he pressed the camera's shutter, recording the details of the murder.
      • "Unfort-t-t-tunat-t-t-tely," his friend stuttered, "you didn't get an image since you failed to realize you had to press the shutter release to take the pict-t-ture."
  • silicon/silicone
    • The silicon chips inside his computer churned the physics problem over, and came up with the grim answer: his love interest's breasts were probably made out of silicone.
  • stationary/stationery
    • He dropped his pencil on the floor. The piece of stationery rolled for a short while, then became stationary.
  • steak/stake
  • strait/straight
    • He was the most strait-laced man I'd ever known, but he could never get his tie on straight, leaving him in dire straits.
    • Strait-laced comes from the word's archaic definition, meaning "strict, as in requirements or principles".
    • A "strait" is also a geographical feature; specifically, a narrow channel or river that connects two larger bodies of water, like the Straits of Magellan.
    • A common place to see the confusion is the word "straitjacket". Here, the "ait" spelling is correct.
  • tact/tack
    • Hint: The phrase is "Taking a different tack", and refers to the angle of a sailing ship's sails.

 "Crispin! Adjust the tack, immediately, or it's your turn over the barrel!"

"Have you no tact, sir?"

  • tail/tale/tell
    • Beware of this scorpion! Few have been strung by its tail and lived to tell the tale!
  • taught/taut/taunt
    • Those who have been taught grammar at school tend to taunt those who haven't, creating a taut and tense atmosphere.
  • tenet/tenant/Tennant
    • It was a tenet of the landlord to never allow his tenants to get away with paying their rent late (except for David Tennant, because the Tenth Doctor was his favorite).
  • than/then
    • If there's anything worse than confusing these two words, then I'd like to know what it is.
  • there/their/they're
    • There they are! Their maps were lost, so they're quite late.
      • There: denotes location, usually in the immediate area
      • Their: denotes possession by a group
      • They're: contraction of They and Are, used in the same manner as the separate pronoun and verb it is composed of
  • threw/through
  • tic/tick
    • He developed a nervous tic after being bitten by a tick.
  • to/two/too/2
    • I have to admit, I've made a simple mistake or two, but I try not to get too upset about it.
    • Example 2: Because he ran too slowly to keep up with his friends, Lyle fell to the two chainsaw-wielding maniacs who were somehow familiar to him.
  • tortuous/tortious/torturous
    • The problem in the law student's homework was so tortuous that he found resolving it quite torturous and fantasized about committing tortious acts on his professor's car.

 "Tortious" means an act banned by tort law.

"Tortuous" means something that is convoluted, like a maze.

"Torturous" means something extremely painful, akin to torture.

"Tortoise" means a land-dwelling reptile with a shell.

  • Turret/Tourette/Turrent
    • The soldier manning the turret had a bad case of Tourette syndrome, causing him to swear every time he fired a shell.
    • Turrent isn't even a real word. However, a lot of people still say it (when they mean "turret"), especially in the gaming community.
  • veil/vale
    • A veil being a piece of cloth worn across or over the face, and a vale being a wide river valley.
    • The phrase is "passed beyond the vale," vale in this sense meaning the world as a kind of valley between heaven and hell.
    • Not to be confused with veal or vial...
  • vein/vain/vane
    • The weather vane crashed down, slicing open the vein in his neck. The nurse tried to stop the bleeding, but in vain.
  • verses/versus
    • This song has three verses and a chorus. Manchester United versus Liverpool was a draw.
      • And heaven forbid conjugating "versus", which is popular in some slang. You did not "verse" your friend in that game you played last night, unless the game involved writing poetry.
        • I am utterly averse to those types of errors.
  • very/vary
  • vial/vile
    • The vial contained a vile smelling potion.
  • vice/vise
    • One of his biggest vices was grabbing people with a vise-like grip when he was scared.
      • In British English, "vice" is used in both senses.
  • viscous/vicious
    • The sticky, viscous liquid dripped down his back. The vicious thought came into his head "I'll gut those treacle bandits if I ever catch them!"
  • voila/viola/walla/wallah
    • "Voila!" she said, as she finished playing Brahms' Viola Sonata in F minor.
      • Note: In French, "voilà" means "see here" while "viola" means "raped" (as in, "violated").
    • "Walla" and "wallah" are mispronunciations of "voila"; Walla Walla is a town in Washington state, and "wallah" has limited use in British English as a loan word from Hindi roughly meaning "servant" (in Slumdog Millionaire, Jamal is a "chai wallah" or tea server).
  • want/wont/won't
    • Surely, you'll want to do what you're wont to do, won't you?
  • wanton/wonton
    • His wanton lust for Asian women led him to hang out at the fried wonton restaurant.
  • wary/weary
    • "Please be wary of this error. I'm so weary of it I need a nap."
  • waste/waist
    • He emerged from the bathroom, with his waist wrapped in a towel, and dropped the tissue in the waste basket.
  • whale/wail
    • I couldn't stand his wailing, so to shut him up I started whaling on him.
  • where/were/wear/we're
    • Where are you going? Were you invited somewhere? Is that what you plan to wear?" "Relax, mom, we're just going out for pizza. I promise there won't be any werewolves there.
  • whet/wet
    • The sound of him whetting his sword whetted her curiosity. The bathroom is wet.
    • You might wet your lips when an aroma whets your appetite.
    • Whet means sharpen, wet means moisten. So you might wet your whetstone before whetting your sword.
    • Also, if you saw a wet owl in the rain, that's no guarantee it was a saw whet owl.
  • which/witch
    • "Hey, which version of the story is the one where the witch dies?"
    • "Now tell me sir, which witch is which?"
    • Because she lived in a hovel on the beach and rarely emerged, the townsfolk called her the Sand Witch. Once, when she ran low on food, she tried to make a sandwich out of the sand which was there.
  • whither/wither
    • "Whither" is archaic English for "to where". (Much as "whence" is archaic English for "from where.")
    • "Wither" is what a plant does when you forget to water it.
  • whole/hole
    • A single hole in a spacecraft's hull can kill the whole crew.
  • whose/who's
    • Whose fan fic is this? Who's responsible for this crime against the English language?
  • wine/whine
    • He sipped at his wine whilst he listened to his companion whine at him.
  • yea/yeah
    • Yea, and The Lord did descend from the mount to cast His vote, 'Yea' or 'Nay', while the teenager watched and said, "Yeah, whatever."
  • your/you're
    • Your writing is filled with too many annoying errors. You're getting sloppy!
    • Not to be confused with "yore", which are the days of long ago, or "yaw", which is what an aircraft does when it rotates around its vertical axis.


  • The upcoming expansion pack for City of Heroes is entitled Going Rogue! Not "Rouge". Going red is, at this time, reserved for City of Villains players and Longbow agents.
    • We already had to deal with people mispelling the Rouge... Rogue Isles, the setting of City of Villains (and name source for the expansion) for years.
    • But... But... No! When Going Rogue is released it is heroes who will be able to go rouge! Villains will go blue. No?
      • Heroes will not go Rogue. Villains go Rogue. Heroes go Vigilante.
    • It should be noted that many powersets associated with Going Rouge are accused of being overpowdered.
    • There is also a badge next to the tailor/fashion designer called... "Going Rouge".
  • And now that Sarah Palin has chosen the title for her new book, the confusion is multiplied.
    • And some people are releasing an Anti-Palin book called Going Rouge. Yes, that has about as much to do as red as "alot" has to do with being a real word. The book also has just about the same exact cover.
  • Rouge was never a member of the X-Men, but she did become an administrator on The Other Wiki.
    • And Madame Rouge is a member of the Brotherhood of Evil, enemies of the Doom Patrol.
    • Ironically, there are a bunch of fanfics dealing with this issue, in which Rogue finds some of those online errors. Most of them are actually pretty funny.
      • Some fans also like to joke that on the X-Men Rouge and Magento make such a great couple.
    • Lampshaded in an issue of Ultimate X-Men where Kitty confronts (soon-to-be-ex-)boyfriend Bobby with a love letter he's written to "Rouge".
      • Also intended to be lampshaded in one of Kyle Baker's Marvel published X-Men parodies... but the editor was so used to the writers misspelling her name accidentally, he "fixed" the "mistake", and Rouge was called Rogue in the story as published.
    • Originated by a rant from multiply-banned user Irate about ROUGE ADNIM VANDLES. Irate is not so much for going back and fixing typos before hitting "submit".
    • In Mad Magazine, Rouge was one of the Ecch-Men, by the rule of Parody Names.
    • One of the Futurama comics (which happens to be an X-Men parody) takes advantage of this by giving Amy (an equal combination of Dojikko and The Ditz with elements of the Alpha Bitch) the superhero codename "Rouge";

 Prof. F: Her power is to suck the life out of you. I wanted to call her "Wife Woman" but eventually we stuck with "Rouge" because of her floozy-like appearance.

    • So who is her best friend: Eye-Shadowcat? [rimshot] Seriously, this Troper has seen this mistake on message boards so many times he's actually gotten bored of it. It's perhaps one of the most common mistakes on TV talk forums, right next to calling Lois Lane "Louis". Gremlins like that doesn't do much for those pesky "Superman is gay" rumors. First that story about him, Wonder Woman, and the Invisible Man, and now this....
  • Even some published Star Wars Expanded Universe novels refer to "Rouge Squadron".
    • Kinda funny if you consider that Rogue Squadron is partly made up of the survivors of Red Squadron from the first Death Star.
  • In any MMORPG that calls their stealthy close-combat class "rogues", expect to see a lot of people looking for a "rouge" for their group.
    • Ragnarok Online seems to be taking this a step further with their new advanced Rogue class. It's best described as a combat makeup artist.
  • Likewise, fans of Exterminatus Now have so frequently misspelled Rogue's name as "Rouge" that it's lampshaded on the webcomic's cast page.
  • The "Rogue" deck in anime_lj_tcg, for Haseo from .hack//Roots and .hack//G.U., is also misspelled as "Rouge". The admin in charge of making cards has said that it's too much work to redo a deck, so everyone has basically accepted it.
  • In an interesting twist, the Sonic the Hedgehog universe has an enemy character who actually is named Rouge. And yep, people have misspelled it as Rogue. You just can't win...
    • Doesn't help that she is a government spy, a.k.a. rogue. Who wears some crazy facial makeup, a.k.a. rouge.
      • And then in Sonic Riders there's the anti-hero trio called the Babylon Rogues. Yep, they get subjected to this as well.
      • But here's something that might help clear things up (or add to the confusion, depending on how you look at it): take a look at the cover of issue #116 of the Archie series.
    • A commercial for VideoGame/SonicHeroes Happy Meal toys in Pakistan actually pronounced her name as Rogue. She was also modeled in such a way that she isn't identifiable as Rouge at all — she looked more like a "he" and appeared to be a mouse or rat. Perhaps the only reason we know for sure that it was supposed to be Rouge is that it showed a picture of the toy, which has a stock image of Rouge on it.
  • Similarly, there was a character from late in the Ranma One Half manga named "Rouge"; it was perhaps both karma and inevitable that some Fanfic writers would start calling her "Rogue".
  • "Rouge boomers" are epidemic in Bubblegum Crisis fan fiction. They're supposed to rampage, not apply makeup.
  • This reaches truly epidemic levels whenever a new game in the Rogue Squadron series comes out, as mocked in this article.
  • The old CCG Guardians featured a "rouge specter". It was not red.
  • In The Order of the Stick prequel On the Origin of PCs, Haley Starshine's CV (actually, her character sheet) has her class as "rouge", which Deadpan Snarker Roy points out. She's no cosmetic product, after all.
  • The computer game Dragon Fable had so many fan misspellings of their sneaky class that they eventually began in-game references to a character called The Moglin Rouge. Considering the fun its creators have with mind-scarringly bad jokes, this was kind of inevitable.
    • The MMORPG version, Adventure Quest Worlds, added a "Rouge Armor" during their Valentine's Day special event. The extremely pink item description reads "'Rouge' Definition: any of various red cosmetics for coloring the cheeks or lips."
  • The Seiken Densetsu 3 board on Game FAQs was subject to this a lot a while ago. The character class of Rogue is too often misspelled as Rouge. Eventually it became a running gag to completely ignore the misspelling and assume that anyone asking about the Rouge job was referring to the super secret, all-powerful (and non-existent) job of another character completely.
  • The Other Wiki has its own cabal of rouge administrators.
  • In The Noob, Clichequest features guild facilities for Rogues (and Rouges).
  • A certain faction in Freelancer is entitled the Liberty Rogues. Naturally, some Freelancer forums can't help but discuss the "Liberty Rouges".
  • Sluggy Freelance teaches the difference. Because knowing is half the battle.
  • This is also happens to be a "touchy subject" for the thieves guild in Nodwick. See also Berserk Button.
  • This editor recalls an example where the error wasn't in the spelling, but the outcome fits the trope too well to pass up. When this editor's sister and her friend were playing Disgaea, they decided to name their thief character "Rouge" (they may even have consulted me as to spelling). However, after hearing the characters' voice, they had a reverse Samus Is a Girl moment. They decided to keep his name as it was, but to pronounce it "Rogue".
  • Haschel from Legend of Dragoon is a master of the Rouge School of Martial Arts (not a mistake, despite the game's dodgy translation; he comes from the village of Rouge). Naturally, it gets written as the Rogue School on occasion.
  • This is something of a Berserk Button for many posters on the official Dungeons and Dragons forums.
  • The back cover of the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Blaze of Glory refers to a "rouge starship".
  • Note: The Khmer Rouge rebels actually are spelled like that. It means "Red Khmer".
  • In Skies of Arcadia, Vyse and company are part of a "good" faction of Skyrates called the Blue Rogues. Or Blue Rouges. Which you might say makes them The Purples.
  • Parodied in Wars, a Star Wars parody spinoff of AH Dot Com the Series, in which the top Rebel fighter pilots are indeed called Rouge Squadron, and all incongruously wear makeup.
  • A new highway sign for southern Oregon's Valley of the Rogue State Park was misspelled, and until the sign was replaced, the park announced itself to visitors going south on I-5 as the "Valley of the Rouge State Park".
  • This story from Not Always Right.
  • Diablo fanfiction often focuses on the mysterious order known as the Rouge Archers.
  • Watch out when discussing that turn-of-the-century French nightclub, which was called "The Red Windmill" because it was, well, a red windmill (a Moulin Rouge). A moulin rogue is something Don Quixote would have dealt with.

Angel/Angle & Satan/Satin

  • "Angle" and "Satin" for "Angel" and "Satan" are infamously common, cheerily deconstructed in this fanficrants post.
    • Apparently the mistake made it into a homemade tattoo. Dumbass.
  • You'd be surprised how many people are convinced that Final Fantasy VII's Sephiroth was a One-Winged Angle, and that the Evangelion pilots fight geometry.
    • Speaking of which, you'd be surprised how many variations of that name exist. Sometimes done on purpose to circumvent the "each name can only be used once" rule on forums and online games. Hence, Legolaz, Legollas, Llegolasz, ad absurdum.
    • And speaking of Final Fantasy VII, who could forget saying "Off course!" when asked if you want to continue at the Arena?
    • Speaking of which, Sephiroth is itself highly doubtful, grammar-wise, since it's the plural form of the hebrew word Sephirah.
  • There was a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fanfiction story based on the episode "Sacrifice of Angels", where at the end Dukat cradles the body of his murdered daughter. Only the writer called the episode "Sacrifice of Angles". It was hard not to imagine Dukat tenderly holding an enormous protractor.
  • This editor recalls with a certain perverse fondness a holy-roller Troll he encountered on a BBS system in the late 1980s, who saw the sinister hand of "Satinism" everywhere he looked. We all agreed with him that the fabricist conspiracy had thoroughly infiltrated everyday life.
    • That holy-roller probably would have had no problem with the woman who bought a "beautiful white Satan wedding dress" (capitalized and everything!) from a bulletin board notice in the library.
  • "Satan" for "Santa". Of course, this is a little girl.
    • Though there are a lot of unusual similarities between the two. They both live somewhere cold (if Dante is to believed). They're both responsible for punishing people who were bad. They both wear red. Just saying.
      • "Santa. Kindly old elf, or..."
    • Author Robert Rankin plays with this in Raiders of the Lost Car Park, mentioning an urban legend about a dyslexic who sold his soul to Santa. Of course, this being Rankin, it turns out the dyslexic may not have made a mistake after all...
  • There was an article in the Boston University student paper entitled "Despite evidence to the contrary, many students still believe in angles". (This is the same paper which headlined its biggest issue of 2000 "BU INS SIXTH STRAIGHT POT".)
  • This was made as a pun in Latin, by either by Pope Gregory I, or by Bede.
    • Those Angles being a tribe inhabiting England (Angle-land...) at the time. Non Angli, sed Angeli, if memory serves.
    • Parodied and made a joke on another level when, in 1066 And All That, this was translated as "Not Angels, but ANGLICANS."
    • Also parodied in the French series Kaamelott, set in pseudo-Arthurian Britannia: "And those Angles, they aren't the angles of the map..."
  • The Fan Translation of the DS version of Puyo Puyo 15th Anniversary has Yu intentionally call Satan "Satin", among other wrong names.
  • "Begone, dark angles!" "We will deal with their kind hardly!" — Menalaus (Pox Nora)
  • WWE's Chris Jericho purposely reversed this one, referring to frequent rival Kurt Angle as "Kirk Angel".
    • Well, he may be curt, but he's no angel...
  • But not even Satin could stop Christian Humber.
  • Steve Phillips says the death of a player during the season can derail a locker room and explains how the Angles will try to pull things together. Thought I should put the existing error in place in case they fix it eventually. Having your inner grammar wonk activate when reading a story of that nature really breaks the mood.
  • Intentionally done in the movie Stay Tuned. Roy is tied up in an underworld version of Wayne's World, and is given a rebus puzzle of an eyeball, a ship with guns, and a fabric. "Eye... Warship... Satin?"
  • Although not technically this, there is the funny supposed origin of the name for the English horn (a member of the oboe family). As the story goes, the French first named the horn "Angled Horn," because of its bent shape. It just so happens that Cor Anglé (angled horn) and Cor Anglais (English Horn) sound exactly the same. Ironically, the modern version of what we call the English horn is neither English nor angled.
    • Sadly only works if you pronounce the words the way Americans do (with that "-ay" ending). In actual French, they are distinctly different.
  • Often seen by the less literate fans of Joss Whedon, particularly Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • In How to Kill Your Husband (and Other Handy Household Hints), the narrator, a teacher, spends part of her stakeout correcting homework. While correcting geometry, she reads out from a kid's homework, "Angles have wings and come from God," and remarks, "These kids need help!"
  • In The Simpsons, Bart enrolls his dog, Santa's Little Helper, in dog training classes but misspells the dog's name on the entry form, the trainer dryly noting the dog's name is "Satan's Little Helper".
  • There are actually some entertaining macros in fashion/clothing/cosplay communities that read "get thee behind me, Satin!" a reference to the fact that satin, being a very shiny fabric, is notoriously hard to work with.
  • Happens in Hot Fuzz, when the local paper runs an article on Nicolas Angel, the journalist spells it as Angle, to the amusement of his coworkers. The NWA punishes him for it in a way that would satisfy even the most literal Grammar Nazi.
  • Used in Adventureland. While relaxing after work, James points out someone tried writing "Satan Lives" on a wall... only they misspelled it as "Satin Lives".

 Em: One of those textile-worshipping cults, no doubt.

  • In the first episode of Telltale's Sam and Max Season two, a demon gets shipped to Santa at the North Pole instead of Satan in Hell. This is an in-universe case, because when the demon finally gets headed off to where it's supposed to go, it's explicitly identified as a clerical error from the dispatch; a typo was made on the name, and then the address was filled in based on the typo.
  • Anti-decorating?

Other mistakes

  • Another favorite is "destoryed" (or "destoried") instead of "destroyed". Now that's what I call a Freudian Slip.
  • "definitely" spelled "definately" or "definatly", seems to occur often on the internet. Sometimes the latter spelling is mixed up (like "teh") so that it comes out as "defiantly". Like "I will defiantly be coming to the party tonight!" So amusing...
  • Not to mention the oh-so-handy product, duck tape...
    • To be precise, "duct tape" is the eggcorn. "Duck Tape" is both a trademark and the original name of the product, which was made out of cotton duck cloth. It was renamed "duct tape" because people kept mispronouncing and misunderstanding it. The tape itself, ironically enough, was not originally designed for use in ventilation ducts at all; rather, it's believed that "Duck Tape" was first used by the military, to prevent moisture from getting into ammunition containers.
    • Humorously, it turns out that the one thing Duc[k/t] Tape is no good for is... sealing HVAC ducts.
  • A speaker or writer implies his meaning without outright saying it. His audience infers what he meant. It's surprising how many people are aware of the two words but manage to confuse them.
  • There's a reason this article on "Cannon" exists in the Transformers Wiki, and it involves this trope...
    • In fact, it's much the same reason that on this wiki, we have Pavel Chekov's Gun.
    • The 1981 Spider-Man cartoon has an interesting case of this in "Can(n)on of Doom", an episode which features both Doctor Doom using a laser cannon for nefarious purposes and a look into Doom's Backstory. Granting a bit of a stretch on the meaning of the word "canon", there may be some legitimate confusion there (any references to a "laser canon", though, are right out).
      • Speaking of Lazers...
    • Incredibly, QI, of all things, made a similar mistake, misspelling "Cannonball" as "Canonball". Alan was quick to point this out: "they spelt it wrong, they spelt it wrong, points to me! That's some sort of ecclesiastical ball..."
    • This is canon.
    • So is this.
    • The pope lays down the cannon law in the 1632 series.
    • Tsukihime sees your canon and raises you a cannon of canon. That is a cannon which literally wipes from existence those things which aren't in the Church's canon.
    • This whole sequence is CANNON BANNED.
  • Viola is an instrument in an orchestra. Voilà (or voila) means "ta-da, presto, behold!," etc.
  • It's amazing how much a sentence can change when you forget the L in Clock...
    • Especially in the threat "I'm gonna clean your clock."
    • Somebody on a forum once made a comment in the forum's IRC channel: "xxxx has an alarm cock" (name removed to protect the guilty); Hilarity ensued. They're more common than you might think; after all, they do tend to crow at dawn.
  • This mistake unsurprisingly shows up in Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami, as Dark grabs the cock from the bedside table.
  • The word "climatic" is only likely to be relevant when you're talking about the weather. "Anticlimatic"... is never applicable, period. The word you're probably looking for is "climactic".
    • Or, as God said in Joan of Arcadia, "It's anticlimactic. Anticlimatic means you're against the weather."
    • This editor has claimed to work for the "National Climactic Data Center" more than once. (In fact, at this moment the third result for "climactic" on Google is the National Climatic Data Center homepage, so I'm not the only one!)
    • Somewhat Lampshaded in an old Dilbert strip, in which a non-functioning of a terrarium is correctly referred to as "Anti-climatic" as the gag.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures has an annoying, near-systematic tendency to replace the contraction word "have" with "of" after an auxiliary.
    • They should of known better. (I feel dirty now...)
    • When used in dialogue it can be justified as a Funetik Aksent to depict the speaker as uneducated.
    • This is a depressingly common mistake; it comes from mistaking "would've" for a phrase instead of a contraction. It is, however, an uncommonly rewarding mistake to correct. Many younger writers really have no idea they're doing it wrong and will amend their behavior.
    • This Is Unforgivable! when a professional publication suffers from this mistake every single time the opportunity arises. It should be dead-simple for an editor to flag every instance of "ould of" for manual review.
      • Yeah, well, coulda woulda shoulda but didn't.
    • Interestingly, a commonly used language assessment tool indicates that "would of" is a regional variant of British English and should be marked as correct. Don't know about non-British English, though.
      • Only if by "Interestingly" you mean something more along the lines of "Depressingly"...
  • There was a story where the author obviously intended to call the tight group of nerdy outcast high school students a clique. Instead, he called them a cliché. Which is true, but...
    • Similarly, "clique" is very often misspelled as "click", but that doesn't conjure up any funny images so it mostly goes forgotten.
  • "It's a mute point anyways" on a message board... Gosh Dang It to Heck, it's a MOOT point (from moot, which means meeting or gathering, and the point that everyone in the moot agrees on, so there's no use talking about it anymore).
    • In British English, "a moot point" has historically meant the opposite: a point that is open to discussion by a moot. However, due to overexposure to American media, most Brits will now use it in the American sense.
    • My understanding is that the "moot" in "moot point" meant a law-school debate meeting, so the American transition wasn't "everyone agrees with it" but "it's something nobody would care enough to discuss outside the rarefied atmosphere of academia."
  • Look up the phrase "a pedal stool" (in quotes) on Google and see how many of the results are about glorifying someone by metaphorically placing them on a pedal stool, as opposed to a pedestal. "A peddle stool" and even "a petal stool" are about as common.
  • Another interesting Freudian Slip is to mispell "martial arts" as "marital arts". Though if found in some Ranma One Half lemons, it can be intentional.
  • Any common phrase more obviously derived/lifted from other languages gets this treatment, especially when it's spoken more often than written. "Per se" is often spelled "per say" for this reason.
  • Sorted/sordid. Ex.: "THE ACLU HAS A SORTED PAST READ SOME SHAMELESS FACTS". It really gives the message that extra weight of Trufax.
    • This is especially funny Oop North, where this translates as "The ACLU has a really good past".
  • A correspondent in a UK newspaper wrote that a friend emailed him "They've caught the Washington Snipper!" A rogue rouge stylist?
  • hung/hanged. The latter is used for death by hanging, the former for everything else.
    • However, contrary to what some Grammar Nazis may tell you, using "hung" for death by hanging is not wrong. Only using "hanged" in other instances is wrong.
  • Bollocks/bullocks. "Bollocks" are British English slang for testicles. "Bullocks" are bulls with their bollocks cut off.
  • The last book of the Bible is Revelation. Not "Revelations". Odd how the latter usage seems to be more common than the correct one, in a society crammed with literalists who battle over the most trivial Scriptural disagreements. I know, I know: "I should really just relax..."
  • Harry Potter fanfiction: parcelmouths/parselmouths. Harry and Voldemort are parselmouths, i.e. can speak snake-language. Neither of them has a parcel in his mouth.
    • Another Harry Potter one: Horcruxes, not "Horcri". The Latin plural -i is only ever the plural of nouns ending in -us.
      • Though Horcruces would be well formed and correct as well if it weren't a neologism in the first place.
      • And two other mistakes relating to the Latin -i plural: it's only ONE i (unless the singular has one already, as with radius/radii) and it doesn't apply to all nouns ending in -us. Octopi, for example, is wrong, as is viri.
      • Because octopus is not Latin, it's Greek (from okt?pous meaning "eight foot"). If it was Latin, it would be octoped. The plural "octopuses" is usually regarded as correct in English. If we're getting pedantic, the plural should be octopodes (pronounced ock-to-POH-dess), but hardly anyone will use that. The word "virus" is Latin (means poison, slime or venom), and is a mass noun and therefore has no plural in Latin (like you can't say poisons, slimes or venoms in English. Unless you're talking about Dragon Quest, in which case you can use slimes).
  • Many people don't know the difference between "peek" and "peak". Therefore, they often write "sneak peak" (instead of "sneak peek").
  • Tounge used for tongue.
  • Prolouge for prologue.
  • I'm trying to just relax at seeing sentences like "This story is comprised of thirteen volumes" or "Thirteen volumes comprise this story," instead of the correct "This story comprises thirteen volumes." After all, the meaning is unambiguous, however it's worded. This error is probably Older Than Radio. Every issue of the Christian Science Quarterly since the late 19th Century has the phrase, "The following citations comprise our sermon."
    • 52 playing cards compose a standard deck.
    • A standard deck is composed of 52 playing cards.
    • A standard deck comprises 52 playing cards.
    • "Is comprised of" is always wrong.
  • It's spelled "ridiculous". Think of "ridicule". I don't know how many times I've seen this butchered; usually, it's something like "rediculus". And that's just ridiculous.
  • For the love of God: "woah" is not a word. The word you're looking for is "whoa".
  • One I've seen in fanfiction a lot lately is regime/regimen. One letter off, a world of difference. A "Regime" is a ruler's reign, i.e. — the regime of King Henry VIII. A "Regimen" is an action plan, i.e. - Gai gave Naruto a new workout regimen to get him into better shape.
    • Romance languages tend to use the same word for both, so from a native speaker of, say, Spanish or French it's an understandable mistake. That's no excuse for the rest of you, though — and besides, you don't want any confusion over whether you're talking about your new diet or your plans for a dictatorial takeover.
    • And a "Regiment" is a large group of soldiers commanded by a Colonel.
    • Wait, Henry the Which?
  • There have been way too many characters feeling "exited." The word you are looking for is "excited."
  • Unique. Means there's only one. Something can be truly unique, really unique, nearly unique, nigh-unto unique, but it can never be very or quite unique.
  • doomed/domed - When a thing is doomed, it is headed for destruction, when it is domed it is covered by a dome. One Star Trek Universe novel (Quarantine) does this on the cover.
  • Preform/perform
  • Prostate/prostrate - Probably not seen as much, but you would think the meaning of the sentence might change if one was mistaken for the other. (I actually give a thumbs-up every time I see it spelled correctly.)
    • Considering the circumstances under which the prostate actually comes up in most fanfiction, I'd bet someone was prostrate at the time....
  • From a scholar of Pokémon's "Incomplete Shipping List": "[D]ouble-check your spelling of the name if you aren't quite sure. Damian versus Damien or Shauna versus Shawna (alternate spellings, same person), or Pheobe versus Phoebe (common mispellings). ... And Brendan? Brendan =/= Brandon. The former is the RuSa hero, the latter is a Frontier Brain, not a typo." (Tropes added for reference.)
  • Parmigiana/Parmesan; the former refers to a dish (usually chicken) made with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, while the latter is a type of cheese. Confusing because they're both Italian food. "Chicken Parmesan" is frequently and incorrectly seen on menus; sometimes Parmesan cheese is even added purely on the basis of this linguistic mistake.
  • "Quite" is a real problem internationally, because its meaning is different in British English than it is in American English. If you say "His mind is quite gone" to an American, you mean that his mind is entirely gone. If you say "His mind is quite gone" to a Brit, you mean that his mind is almost, but not entirely, gone. The British "quite" means the same as the American "not quite"!
    • Quite down, it's not impertinent enough to argue about.
  • Calvary/Cavalry. "Calvary" is a location. "Cavalry" is a military force (originally the group on horseback). One cannot call in the "Calvary". The words are not synonymous.
  • Cheque: it's almost always spelled as "check" in the USA, which might confuse people from other countries.

Examples from specific media

Comic Books

  • Any Judge Dredd storylines featuring PJ Maybe contain intentional spelling errors for PJ's narration.

Comic Strips

  • In one Get Fuzzy comic (this also applies to the Satin/Satan entry above), Bucky is examining a package of new underwear and saying that they were "made by Satan". Rob corrects him, telling him they were "made of satin". Cue remark from Satchel regarding hot pants.

Films — Live-Action

  • In Hot Fuzz, the local newspaper is extremely prone to this. The town council eventually kills the editor for this.
  • In Lethal Weapon 2, Riggs is standing outside the South African embassy (he can do little else to the movie's Big Bad at this point, because of his diplomatic immunity) with a sign that says "End Aparthied". Arguably intentional; Riggs certainly made a point of making sure the villain knew he was there.


  • Chapter 7 of Felsic Current, written from the point of view of Viakel Hollenmen, confuses axle with axel. Although originally assumed to be a mistake on the author's part, chapter 6 of the sequel, Felsic Tension, reveals that it's actually the character of Viakel himself who does not know the difference between the two words, being a relative neophyte to machinery.
  • Dor of the Xanth novels has legendary horrible spelling. This was taken advantage of when his king wanted him to travel with honesty, knowing he'd misspell it as ONESTI which was the actual name of the place they were headed. His misspelling also physically changed a bouquet into a bucket, much to everyone's amusement/frustration. When he sought out a spelling bee to correct his homework, he wound up with something along the lines of... "Eye want two go two Mundania sow eye Khan sea a bare oar a hoarse..." No, really, it was that bad.
  • One of the main characters from The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy is Ford Prefect. Douglas Adams writing in an introduction to a complete edition of Hitch Hiker's (to spell it as it's printed on my copy), relates "This was a joke that missed American audiences entirely of course, since they had never heard of the rather oddly-named car, and many thought it was a typing error for Perfect."
  • Intentionally invoked by the writers of Going Rouge: An American Nightmare, a collection of critical essays about Sarah Palin, referencing the title of her memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life. Not only will the two books be released on the same date, but a second "Going Rouge" — subtitled "The Sarah Palin Rogue Coloring & Activity Book" — is also scheduled for that release date.
  • Several characters in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels have awful spelling. Of special note is the word "banana", which they know how to spell but not how long it's supposed to go on, leading to "bananananana".
    • The Discworld almost seems to exist at a time before standardised spelling. However, this would raise the question of how some people do have perfect spelling, and what it means, because if there were no standards, the modern standard would just be another convention among the rest.
    • Granny Weatherwax narrowly missed her chance to be the first Discworld character with a normal British-sounding first name, because she badly misspelled "Esmerelda" in her letter to the Archchancellor in Equal Rites. Her own name!
  • Winnie the Pooh is rife with these. As a specific example, Tigger's name is one. Also, Heffalumps and Woozles are corruptions of "Elephant" and "Weasel", respectively, and Christopher Robin was once thought to be going to skull instead of school, (which is slightly terrifying).
  • In The Babysitters Club, Claudia is so bad at spelling, she misspells her own name at one point.
  • Dave Barry in Cyberspace demonstrates the usefulness of a spell-checker by explaining that, not only would it find the misspelled word in the following passage, but suggest changing it to the actual word intended ("Strumpet"):

 Deer Mr. Strompel:

It was a grate pleasure too meat you're staff, and the undersigned look foreword too sea you soon inn the near future.


Live-Action TV

  • Corner Gas
    • In a way, an episode lampshades this trope: when confronted with a badly-spelled newspaper headline (which reads "HANK IS PHYCIC"), Wanda dryly cracks a joke about buying a spellchecker. Brent then follows this up by saying that he's going to continue reading, and that the story is "contunied on page 30".
    • In another episode, Karen says that the criminal Davis caught was barely a thief. Cue the Spinning Paper, which inverts two letters in "Cop Nabs Barley Thief".
  • During one of Jon Stewart's stand-up routines (taking place at RIT in 2005), the transcriber typing words for the hearing-impaired in the audience spelled "ate" like the number. The track when it occurs is even named that on the recording.
  • Friends:
    • Mocked when Rachel tries to write a romance novel. Her attempts are derailed when the male lead is mocked for pulling out his "huge throbbing pens", which is only one of several errors.
    • In another episode Rachel gives Ross a lengthy letter, which Ross promptly falls asleep over. In the inevitable discovery and ensuing fight, Ross ends up quipping, "Oh, and by the way 'Y-O-U apostrophe R-E' means 'you are'. 'Y-O-U-R' means 'YOUR'!"
  • The game show Lingo has pretty simple rules: Try to guess and spell a five-letter word properly, and the letters will light up and let you know how close you are. Literally every episode had at least one Egregious spelling error (E-R-R-E-R) from a contestant.
  • Being Human
    • In the fourth episode, Mitchell is mistaken for a pedophile, which makes the whole neighborhood turn against the trio (well, mainly him and George). Some enthusiastic hater spray paints the word "Peedos" on their front door, much to highly intellectual and anal George's chagrin.
    • Similarly, in the fourth episode of the second series, George (aka Mr. Sands) gets a job teaching English to foreign students. His reaction to seeing the graffiti "Mr. Sands Suck Cocks" on the school's bathroom mirror is to comment "For god's sake! It's Mr. Sands sucks cocks. Singular, not plural — gah, have I taught you nothing?", and then use a marker pen to correct said graffiti. Of course, he is caught doing this by his boss.
  • The French dub of Stargate SG-1 seriously mangled the infamous "Jaffa joke" in episode "Seth", by confusing a "Horus Guard" with a "Horse Guard".


  • The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster named a song "I Could Be an Angle" after a spelling error on the sign of a beggar, trying to invoke the Angel Unaware trope.
  • According to legend a German monk made a mistake at copying sheet music in medieval times mistaking a "B" for an "H". That's why today in Germany the note B is called H and the note B-flat is called B.
  • The liner notes to an unauthorized Beatles cash-in compilation, which actually only featured four Beatles songs, included a rather embarrassing mistake: "It is with a good deal of pride and pleasure that this copulation has been presented". The word "copulation" even stayed in the liner notes when the album was repackaged in an even more misleading manner. However, it's unknown whether this was a genuine misspelling of "compilation" or just someone Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • Yo La Tengo have a song called "The Story of Yo La Tango", as a joke about their band name frequently being misspelled that way. Ironically enough, this leads to people "correcting" the song title: Even All Music Guide's track-listing for I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass lists it as "The Story Of Yo La Tengo". The CD-text that appears when you put the CD into your computer adds "Yes — it should be Tango!" after the song title.
  • Mr. Bungle deliberately used this by calling an early demo tape Bowel Of Chiley. Some unsanctioned re-releases of this demo mistakenly rendered the title Bowl Of Chiley.

New Media

  • This quote and this one from QDB are amusing.
  • Three words: Tires don exits.
  • There used to be a spoof website for a company named Games Worksop. Unfortunately, it seems to have been removed — all that turns up on a search for "Games Worksop" on Google is 2000 misspelled pages...
  • Quizilla does not have a spellchecker, apparently; but users seem to like using external or in-browser ones, resulting in things like "Does your best friend have fillings for you?"
    • Well, if you happen to be best friends with your dentist....
  • A scoundrel at used to go out into chatrooms pretending to be a 14-year-old girl named "Amber" looking to cyber, mess with the head of whichever poor chap engaged him, and post the results on his website. One such "client" had the unlucky username of dragon_worrier2001... And the jokes just wrote themselves.
  • "Is Barack Obama Muslin?"
  • LOLcats and other similar Image Macros were originally these (the language expected of forum-dwelling Net-generation tweens) combined with pertinent images of cats, and thus suggested the child-like nature of our feline friends. Newer attempts at these are much less memorable, merely being intentionally (and gratuitously) misspelled captions with ordinary photos.
  • Game FAQs' Board 8 is so used to certain misspellings that "SNOIC", "SMAUS" and "CORNO"[3] are Running Gags, if not Memes.
  • Misspelling various religious terminology is a bit of a meme among atheist regulars on Yahoo! Answers's Religion & Spirituality board, especially when pretending to be parody versions of fundamentalists. Apart from the standard "Angles" and "Satin", the Bible is called "the Bibble", worship is known as "warship", repenting is referred to as "repainting", the Rapture is "the Rupture", God is "Gawd" or "Cod", Jesus is "Jebus", the Holy Ghost is the Holey/Wholly/Holly Goats, and the all the letters in the word "atheist" excluding the first and last are rearranged more or less at random (misspellings of "atheist" are never pluralized, lampooning the repeated failure of the board's religious fundamentalists to pluralize the word at all).
    • Many of these are also seen on FSTDT although there the most common misspelling of "Bible" is "Babble" as in "Wholly Babble"


Video Games

  • A late-game battle theme in La-Mulana bears the official name "Insterstice of the Dimention". This is an official mistake on the part of the devs.
  • In Backyard Football 2008, the instructions are filled with spelling errors.
  • The web MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing bases much of its humor on playing with this trope, most notably with the Misspelled Cemetary and its denizens.
    • Captain of the Gourd, indeed.
    • A recent Item of the Month specifically starts life as the familiar hatchling, "a cute angel", and becomes on hatching the much uglier and less intelligent-looking "obtuse angel".
  • DDRMAX2 has the song Little Boy (Boy Oh Boy Mix), but the music select menu calls it the "Boy On Boy Mix" thanks to a typo and the fact that the H key is directly above the N key on a standard QWERTY keyboard. According to legend, this originated with a fansite typo that Konami staff turned into an Ascended Meme for laughs.
  • In the HD version of Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater, the subtitles misspell soldier as "solider" during the line "And, like a true soldier, she saw through it to the end".

Web Animation

Web Comics

  • Used for a punchline in Questionable Content #360.
  • Duke, writer of Ansem Retort, frequently typos and, unlike some other webcomic writers, never goes back and corrects them. Not all but quite a few of these are of the Rouge Angles of Satin type.
  • Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff hass many intentional spelling errors as part of its Stylistic Suck shtick. It's still fairly legible itself (relatively speaking) and the errors are generally played more as highlights for significant words and phrases, but fanwork has a tendency to flanderize the spelling goofs to the point of complete unintelligibility.
    • Also used with Roxy Lalonde, Rose's Alpha counterpart. She misspells things frequently due to being constantly intoxicated.
  • Spoofed in this strip of The Unspeakable Vault of Doom. Apparently, computer-generated pentacles aren't that great an idea.

 Cthulhoo: For once, drawings are good, but using Childhood unstead of Cthulhoo and Feting for Fhtagn is more than a beginner's mistake.


Web Original

  • Lampshaded in Paul Robinson's Instrument of God where the story mentions that when 246 is holding up a copy of a law, he is holding an "ordinance", but when he is referring to weapons, they are "ordnance".
  • An amusing depiction of the Cupertino Effect, a character called "Jeff K!!!!" who attempts to spellcheck his aggressively incorrect English.

Western Animation

  • The Futurama episode "The Day The Earth Stood Stupid" ends with Fry defeating the Brainspawn by writing a book full of misspelled words and Plot Holes, sending the aliens back to their home planet "for no raisin.
  • "The Adventures of Letterman", an animated segment of The Electric Company, plays with these kinds of errors ("feet" for "feat", among many other misspellings).
  1. Some writers are notoriously inclined to either not use a spellchecker at all (producing mistakes such as the numerous claims of "misspellings" on this page), or trust them blindly.
  2. "Cupertino", an unremarkable small town in California, was in these spellcheckers' dictionaries because Apple Computer happens to be headquartered there. The link with "cooperation" was the misspelling "coopertino".
  3. coincidentally Latin/Italian/Portuguese word for horn... and in the last one, for cuckold, turning it even more hilarious