If you’re like me, there are really embarrassing writing mistakes, there are the mistakes that you make because you’re rushing and really not paying attention, and then there are some mistakes that you always seem to make.
I’ve made all three of these mistakes in an academic paper. See if you can guess which type of mistake was which:
Well I bet the really really embarrassingly one is easy to pick out. I wrote “thet” instead of “that.” It happens. I’m sure you have several examples from your own writing.
What about “wierd?” I always classify this one as rushing the editing process when I find it. It’s such a common mistakes that I always check it. The simple fact that I used this word in a paper might prove that I wasn’t paying enough attention to my work. I choose this word because I know that it’s very easy to get the whole i before e thing mixed up. I bet you do a double take every time you have to write this word.
So that leaves “thourough” as the word that I just can’t get to stick in my mind. In case you didn’t recognize it, “thourough” is supposed to be “thorough”…or “through.” I’ll possibly never know. I have to look these words up almost every time I use them just to make sure that I get them right. I don’t know why my brain seems to have a problem with the different combinations of t-h-r-o-u. I just do.
I’ve heard this phenomenon, if you choose to describe it that way, described with the fact that English is a convoluted language filled with inconsistent rules and some rules that should just be wrong (like a sentence with “that that”…What’s with that?).
My former linguists would say that there is a pattern, a consistency in the errors that people make. It’s not just random. Our brain recognizes the inconsistency of learned patterns and tries to make up for them…but that just leads to learned spelling errors.
I don’t know the answer. I just find it fascinating.
What do you think? What word do you always seem to get wrong?