Merriam Webster’s Top 10 Commonly Confused Words

My most frequently confused word did not make the list. I don’t know be happy or sad about this. For me, it’s peek and peak.

Even with the see and peek pneumonic (both have a double-e and both relate to vision), I still have to pause and consider the distinction whenever I use either word.

I can also never remember how to spell calendar.

So I understand when a writer confuses words.

But the one word pair that makes the list that should never be confused is its and it’s, because using them correctly is simply a matter of effort.

It’s is a conjunction, and therefore it stands for two words, it is.  Substitute it is in any sentence containing it’s or its and you’ll know if you’ve chosen correctly.

After years of writing, I still have to do this from time to time in order to ensure that I am using it properly.

And after years of writing, I have still been known to use these words incorrectly. But whenever I do, it should be attributed to laziness and not an inability to understand the distinction between the words.

And if you’re the kind of person who struggles with these kinds of confusions, I am available on retainer for a very reasonable fee.