Microsoft Word's spellchecker flags many words that
are spelled incorrectly, but it usually cannot identify words that are
used incorrectly. Nearly 1/3 of SSU
students' misspellings are homophone errors:
screen officers before they leave the seen.
[Correct: We should screen officers before
they leave the scene.]
killers acted as if they new what was write
and wrong. [Correct: The
killers acted as if they knew what was right
When a student makes a homophone
error, s/he uses the wrong word: a word that sounds just like the
word s/he intended, but one that is spelled differently. We consider
homophone errors misspellings (and do not place them in the "wrong
word" category) because a student who makes such errors knows what
word s/he wants to write. S/he simply does not know how to spell it.
Typos and Spacing Errors
The remaining spelling errors
are nearly all "typos"
(e.g.: the for
then) or spacing errors:
children who do go to daycare, theses children have never
earned to share. [Correct:
Unlike children who do go to daycare, these
children have never learned to share.
Although the word theses clearly does not belong in this
sentence, we consider this a misspelling or typo rather than a
wrong-word error because it seems fairly obvious that the
student would never say theses if she were reading this
paper aloud; she simply never noticed that she accidentally hit
the s key while keyboarding her work.]
who stay at home seem to be shy around other children and
adults, where as kids who go to daycare centers tend to
be more playful. [Correct:
Children who stay at home seem to be shy around other children
and adults, whereas kids who go to daycare centers tend
to be more playful.]
Pages 475-77 of The Longman
Concise Companion provides a checklist for students who struggle
with homophone errors.