Word Nerd: My Eyes, My Eyes!

Being a person to whom typos jump out and say hello with a veritable flourish and tip of the hat, I have come to notice that some people have a real gift (ack) for taking everyday words and misspelling them in new and frightening ways. I’ve decided that a good way to break from my [inexcusable] absence from Geekin’ Out is to share some real-life examples with you, along with some more common travesties that must be stopped for the sake of my dwindling sanity. Laugh at them, cringe at them, do what you will — and then wonder just how stuff like this manages to slip past people’s internal spell-check. For the sake of the people who have made said slips, I will not name names.

For interest’s sake, I’ll start with my two favourites (if that’s the right word to choose, which it probably isn’t). I should also note that WordPress was trying very hard to autocorrect this entire article for me. Poor thing, it must be so confused.

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I caught one person on Twitter who made this particular slip, and I was actually speechless when I read it. I didn’t know it was possible to misspell ‘underwear’ to such a degree, but evidently it’s possible.

This incident occurred back in the fall, but since then, I have found two other instances (by two different people, mind) in which ‘underwear’ was twisted into this form. I have to say that it astounds me. I know that people can struggle with homonyms, but this is beyond ridiculous.

In a similar stomach-churning example, a tweep of mine told me that one of his coworkers frequently misspells ‘everywhere’ as ‘everywear’. Now if only these two people could meet up and get their homonyms figured out, we’d all be rollin’ in puppies.


Whore Frost

I wish so very, very much that this wasn’t as common an error as it is. You may not believe this, but seeing this all over Facebook during January of 2011 is part of what made me want to leave the site. So, so, so many people are apparently incapable of spelling ‘hoarfrost’ properly. They make it sound like some sort of slutty, clingy weather effect, when in reality it is exquisite, delicate and breath-taking.

… I love my hoarfrost, okay? Don’t judge m— hey, I SAID DON’T JUDGE ME.


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And now for the regular, more humdrum mess-ups. These are the three that tend to aggravate me the most.

Proffessor / Proffesor

It is my opinion as an educated young woman that if you are in the position of knowing and/or handing things in to a professor, you should know how to spell the word. If you can’t do that, go back to high school and stay there until you can. The whole issue of ‘which letter is the double letter?’ can be a tricky one, but come on, I don’t think I’ve ever met, spoken or answered to an actual professor, and I can still handle it.

At first I was going to point out that the short form is ‘prof’, which only uses one F, and that’s how I remember it, but … knowing people these days, there are bound to be people who write it as ‘proff’.

All of these issues can, of course, also be applied to the word ‘professional’.


Definately / Definitly (among several other variations)

I’m not sure what it is about ‘definitely’ that makes me so defensive of its spelling. It’s a word that people tend to have difficulty with, and whenever I see that it’s been messed about with, I’m legitimately angry about it for at least a split second. There are only two vowels in it: an E at the start and at the end, and the two Is in the middle. Why anyone thinks that an A belongs in this word, I haven’t a clue. Say it aloud and try to tell me that it sounds like there’s an A in there.

‘Definite’ on its own suffers from similar misspellings, as you can imagine, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone leave the E off the end. This is why I’m always wondering how people can forget that there is an E between the T and the L in ‘definitely’. It’s a mystery to me — a complete, terrible, befuddling mystery.



The only people who can get away with this are the crazy folks who intentionally spell ‘congratulations’ this way for graduates. Usually it’s businesses that are guilty of this, putting the word up on signs to give shout-outs to employees that are graduating from high school.

I do, however, know someone who genuinely thought that this was how it was spelled. I pointed it out to him the first time I noticed it, and I’m pretty sure he thinks to this day that I’m wrong. I wince whenever I think of the emails, contracts, etc. that he’s sent out with this on them. It’s stuff like this that happens when people take the ‘sound it out’ rule too seriously for too long.


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Of course, there are many, many more tragic misspellings I could have gone with, but I’d rather not fry anyone else’s brain for the sake of listing them all. Thanks for sticking with me through that; you’re all wonderful little troopers. If there are words I left out that really get under your skin when they’re misspelled, please feel free to make note of them in the comments!

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