There are some common typos that may completely change the meaning of a sentence, sometimes leading to hilarious consequences or turning the sentence into non-sense. In this article, we have listed some common typos where only one letter may make a world of a difference in meaning.
10 EXAMPLES OF COMMON TYPOS
1. DAIRY & DIARY
A common typo that won’t be caught by your spelling checker is swapping “dairy” and “diary.” Butter and cream are dairy products; your journal is your diary.
2. VOCATION & AVOCATION
Your avocation is an activity you take up in addition to your regular work or profession, your hobby; don’t mix it up with your regular occupation: your vocation.
3. BLOC & BLOCK
“Block” has a lot of uses, including as the spelling in the phrase “block of time.” But for groups of people and nations, we use the French spelling bloc: “bloc of young voters,” “Cold War-era Eastern bloc of nations.” Don’t be confused by punning names for groups and Web sites like “Writer’s Bloc.”
4. ALLUSION & ILLUSION
An allusion is a reference, something you allude to: “The lyrics contain biblical allusions.” Never write “literary illusions” when you mean “allusions.” An illusion, on the other hand, is mirage, hallucination, or a magic trick.
5. ADVERSE & AVERSE
The word “adverse” turns up most frequently in the phrase “adverse circumstances,” meaning difficult circumstances, circumstances which act as an adversary; but people often confuse this word with “averse,” a much rarer word, meaning having a strong feeling against, or aversion toward.
6. DEPRAVATION & DEPRIVATION
The word “depravation” has to do with something being depraved, corrupted, perverted. Bear in mind that it’s not a word you will find in the average text.
The spelling you’re more likely to need is “deprivation,” which has to do with being deprived of certain things. For example, Many neurologists have studied, and continue to study, the effects of sleep deprivation.
7. COMPLEMENTARY & COMPLIMENTARY
When paying someone a compliment like “I love how that dress looks on you!” you’re being complimentary. A free bonus item (for example, if you purchase over a certain amount) is also a complimentary gift. But items or people that go well with each other are complementary.
In geometry, angles that add up to 90° are called complementary angles (whereas supplementary ones add up to 180°.)
8. CANON & CANNON
“Canon” used to be such a rare word that there was no temptation to confuse it with “cannon”, which is a large piece of artillery or a large automatic gun that is shot from an aircraft.
The debate over the literary canon (a list of officially-approved works) and the popularity of Pachelbel’s Canon (a compositional technique) have changed all that—confusion is rampant.
Just remember that the big gun is a “cannon.” All the rest are “canons.” However, note that there are metaphorical uses of “cannon” for objects shaped like large guns, such as a horse’s “cannon bone.” (large metacarpal and large metatarsal)
9. DEVICE & DEVISE
“Device” is a noun. A flash drive is a device.
“Devise” is a verb. You can devise a “Plan B” in case something does not go as expected. Only in law is “devise” properly used as a noun, meaning something deeded (or “devised”) in a will.
10. BY, BYE & BUY
People probably confuse these three more often through haste than through actual ignorance, but “by” is a preposition (for example, You should know by now.)
“Bye” is an abbreviated form of “goodbye” (preferably with an apostrophe before it to indicate the missing syllable). A “bye” is also a situation in which a player or team is allowed to go forward to the next level in a competition without having to play against and defeat an opponent.
“Buy” is the verb meaning “purchase.” “Buy” can also be a noun, as in “that was a great buy.”
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