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Director
03-01-2013, 10:35 AM
Did I just hear a collective groan? I don’t blame you, and believe me I’m not trying to be officious in writing this, but if you want to be a good script writer, then these things are important.

Here’s a list of all too often misspelled and misused words that people need to be aware of. It’s not a complete list, by no means, so please feel free to add to it, and together we all become better at our craft.

To / Too
People mix these up a lot.
Too: means - Also, Besides, or Excessive
To: used as a function word to indicate movement or an action, or condition.
Example of too: Are you going too?
If you can exchange it for the other meanings (Are you also going?), you know you’re using it in the right way.
Example of to:
“Are you going to the house?”
“To” is a preposition connecting the sentence to an action.

Their/They’re/There
I hate to sound like a word snob, but when I see people misuse these words, it makes me cringe. So let’s get it right.
Their means: his, hers, or its.
Example of use for "Their": “Their house was on fire.”

They’re means “They are”
Example of use for They’re: “They’re going to the house fire with marshmallows.”
There means a place.
Example of use for There: “I was there watching the house burn.”

All Right /Alright
Just remember, if you’re spelling it “Alright”, it’s all wrong. Spell it “All right”, and it will always be right.

Its / It’s
It’s means “it is”. Whenever you can exchange “it is” with “it’s”, you know you’ve got it right.
If you can’t exchange “it’s” with “it is”, then you know it should be “its”.
Example: “It’s going to be a great day.” See, you can exchange “it’s” for “it is” “It is going to be a great day.”
Example: “Its head fell off” You wouldn’t say “It is head fell off”, so you know not to use “it’s” in this way.

Conscious / Conscience
Yeah, this is a tough one, but an easy way to remember it is through word association. Just remember if the word ends in “science” as in “conscience” it won’t weight heavily on your conscience. Just be “conscious” of how you use these words.

Effect / Affect
Here’s another teaser, but a good way to remember which one to use is this: Effect means to influence, and Affect means to be emotionally moved by the effect.
Example: “Her crying affected him.”
Example: “The lasers created a strange effect.”

Accept / Except
Accept mean to take or give, and except means to exclude.
Example: “He accepted the award for Best Actor.” Or “They accepted the gift I gave them.”
Example: “He chose all the colored balls, except the red one.”

Then /Than
Than means to compare, and then refers to a time.
Example: “I would rather be alive than dead.”
Example: “We didn’t know why at first, and then we did.”

Your / You’re
You’re is short for “you are”, while your is possessive “Is this your bar of soap?”

Pique / Peek / Peak

His curiosity was piqued when he peeked through the window at the mountain peak.

Also when you write numbers except people's ages you should write the numbers like this
131= one-thirty-one

Unfortunately, too many people seem to think that the apostrophe before an "s" always signals possession, when it often shows a contraction... It's related to the its/it's and your/you're

/Alot/ is not a word. Period.

/Only/ is the most misused word in the English language. I only want one hot dog=wrong.. I want only one hot dog=correct.


Who vs. That.
/Who/ is a PERSON, /That/ is an OBJECT. They are not interchangeable.
I have a brother that is a lawyer...wrong.
I have a brother who is a lawyer...correct.
I have a roof who leaks....wrong [this one's rarely used--if ever]
I have a roof that leaks...correct.

Weather/Whether
Easy way to remember these two

Weather is when it rains
Whether, meaning which or which ever, is spelled with two "H"s

quiet and quite

I am quite tired of the quiet room.

2001 Productions
03-01-2013, 11:54 AM
Pique / Peek / Peak

His curiosity was piqued when he peeked through the window at the mountain peak.

Kevin
03-01-2013, 11:55 AM
I totally should print this, and post it next to my computer. And keyboard. Possibly on the refrigerator.

kevinAvis
03-02-2013, 05:53 AM
Also when you write numbers except people's ages you should write the numbers like this
131= one-thirty-one
P/S : Why alright is wrong? I've used it many times before.

mara
03-03-2013, 07:23 AM
You may have used "alright" many times, but that doesn't make it proper English usage.

http://http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/all-right-versus-alright.aspx

kevinAvis
03-03-2013, 07:29 AM
Well I suppose that's all right then.

Vance Baryn
03-05-2013, 10:58 PM
I'm going to disagree with you on "alright."

That's one of those words that is controversial, but unlike the rest of your list, it is not universally agreed to be wrong. It will likely be considered correct by more and more people as time goes on.

Merriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alright):

The one-word spelling alright appeared some 75 years after all right itself had reappeared from a 400-year-long absence. Since the early 20th century some critics have insisted alright is wrong, but it has its defenders and its users. It is less frequent than all right but remains in common use especially in journalistic and business publications. It is quite common in fictional dialogue, and is used occasionally in other writing "the first two years of medical school were alright" — Gertrude Stein.

Grammar Girl (http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/all-right-versus-alright.aspx):

It seems pretty simple: go ahead and use “all right” as two words, and stay away from “alright” as one word. But the esteemed Brian Garner (6) notes that “alright” as one word “may be gaining a shadowy acceptance in British English.” And the American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style (7) seems to contradict itself. It states that “alright” as one word “has never been accepted as standard” but it then goes on to explain that “all right” as two words and “alright” as one word have two distinct meanings. It gives the example of the sentence “The figures are all right.” When you use “all right” as two words, the sentence means “the figures are all accurate.” When you write “The figures are alright,” with “alright” as one word, this source explains that the sentence means “the figures are satisfactory.”

Nick Soares
03-05-2013, 11:05 PM
On a side NOTE;

Keep in mind that some characters in your script will not have perfect english: Just something to remember

Vance Baryn
03-05-2013, 11:15 PM
Definitely, Nick.

When I'm writing Dialogue, grammar goes out the window if that's not how that character would speak. Spelling is still important although there are time when I will use things like 'em instead of them to show how a character is speaking.

BRJPeyton
03-06-2013, 07:17 AM
LOL someone is a grammar snob...

j/k

I find that there are some industry professional who will COMPLETELY dismiss a script because it has "annoying" spelling mistakes whether it's fair or not. And the truth is, as a writer you should take enough pride in your work to get it right. But honesty, we are all human and imperfect, so the majority of them are taught to ignore typos and misspellings and focus on the story because guess what... your writing isn't going to show up on screen.

So while learning and improving is always, ALWAYS good, I wouldn't advise obsessing over it. Just my thoughts.

Kevin
03-06-2013, 07:58 AM
Let us not forget: Irregardless vs. Regardless... Is Irregardless simply Regardless with delusions of granduer, or does it mean the opposite of Regardless? Or is it simply not a word, except it gets said all the time... sadly including by me.... heh.

mara
03-06-2013, 08:15 AM
Let us not forget: Irregardless vs. Regardless... Is Irregardless simply Regardless with delusions of granduer, or does it mean the opposite of Regardless? Or is it simply not a word, except it gets said all the time... sadly including by me.... heh.

"Irregardless" is a double negative: both "ir" and "less" mean without.
So it's "not without regard" which means "with regard."

Yeah, I know...headache inducing.
But that was my initial reaction, and I found this to back me up:
Grammar Girl : Irregardless Versus Regardless :: Quick and Dirty Tips ™ (http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/irregardless.aspx)

Vance Baryn
03-06-2013, 08:35 AM
Oh my god "irregardless" is one of the most annoying things people every say. It's almost as bad as "could care less." Please don't say either of those around me, or I will find myself struggling desperately not to kick you really really hard! ;-)

Kevin
03-06-2013, 08:51 AM
What really doesn't help is that spell checkers accept it, IN SPITE of it not existing!

mara
03-06-2013, 09:01 AM
What really doesn't help is that spell checkers accept it, IN SPITE of it not existing!

That's one more reason - of many - to have people whose opinion and/or knowledge you value read your script.

Director
03-06-2013, 09:03 AM
When writing dialogue, I agree, use spelling associated with the character's personality, but for everything else, use proper grammar so your script doesn't get the boot.


Definitely, Nick.

When I'm writing Dialogue, grammar goes out the window if that's not how that character would speak. Spelling is still important although there are time when I will use things like 'em instead of them to show how a character is speaking.

2001 Productions
03-06-2013, 09:48 AM
When writing dialogue, I agree, use spelling associated with the character's personality, but for everything else, use proper grammar so your script doesn't get the boot.

Although, improper use of homonyms is uncalled for, (ir)regardless of the context. :)

Nick Soares
03-06-2013, 09:55 AM
oh my god "irregardless" is one of the most annoying things people every say. It's almost as bad as "could care less." please don't say either of those around me, or i will find myself struggling desperately not to kick you really really hard! ;-)

ahahahahahahahaha

Director
03-06-2013, 09:57 AM
Although, improper use of homonyms is uncalled for, (ir)regardless of the context. :)

The use of homonyms are not allowed, I said...aloud ;)

mara
03-06-2013, 10:50 AM
The use of homonyms are not allowed, I said...aloud ;)

The use of homonyms IS NOT [not are not] allowed.
(do you hate me yet?)
The subject of the sentence is "use" not "homonyms," and "use" is singular.

Director
03-06-2013, 11:20 AM
Yes Mara, I hate you, but please see my other posts where I give myself an out on any grammatical screw ups, either past, present or future ;)~

mara
03-10-2013, 02:25 PM
Here's another one of my pet peeves (apologies if this was already mentioned and I missed it):

"I could care less."

That's fine, as long as you really DO care.

If you are trying to say that you don't give a damn (with a nod to Rhett Butler in "Gone With The Wind"):
"I couldn't care less."

Vance Baryn
03-10-2013, 05:16 PM
"I could care less."

I did mention that as one of my kickable offenses above.

In my opinion, the reason that this and "irregardless" are so incredibly annoying to me (even more so than most other mistakes) is they show that the person speaking is giving very little thought to what they are saying and in so doing, are actually saying the opposite of what they mean. The type of person who would make these mistakes will very rarely have anything interesting to say anyway. By virtue of making a mistake like this, the person has shown themselves to be someone who just spouts things out of their mouth without thinking. What would be the point of even talking to that kind of person?

Director
03-11-2013, 03:25 PM
Mara, maybe they mean it like a diet soft drink. You could have "Care", or, if you need to lose a few pounds, you could have a "Care Less"

You never can tell :)~

bibisyran
03-14-2013, 01:59 AM
Another one for you to consider: whose/who's
Unfortunately, too many people seem to think that the apostrophe before an "s" always signals possession, when it often shows a contraction... It's related to the its/it's and your/you're examples provided by director in his excellent list.

Director
03-15-2013, 01:23 PM
I just came across another one:

Allude & Elude

Elude = To avoid, escape, or get away from i.c. "The killer was able to elude the police."

Allude = To make indirect reference to, or to hint at "The killer alluded to the murder."

mara
03-15-2013, 01:50 PM
Who is going to start the column on the mis-use of commas and semi-colons?
:)

Director
03-15-2013, 07:58 PM
Who is going to start the column on the mis-use of commas and semi-colons?
:)

Why, you are. Didn't Nick tell you? :)~

Director
03-15-2013, 08:03 PM
And by the way, did you guys ever notice that I make my little smiley faces with a tilda, like this ---> :)~
Yeah, I had that copyrighted, and you guys can use it too, but you have to pay me a nickle royalty each time you do.

khathawayart
03-15-2013, 11:44 PM
Good list, Director.

Last year I wrote a format guide for comics writers and in it I included a "most-common mistakes" section, so I'll draw from it here. Much of it has already been covered here, so it's a short list.

/Alot/ is not a word. Period.

/Only/ is the most misused word in the English language. I only want one hot dog=wrong.. I want only one hot dog=correct.

Missing commas can derail your sentence--and misinform or confuse your reader. Shoot John! and Shoot, John! have two different, distinct meanings. Don't take your comma cues from facebook or the internet in general. Open a book...a novel--and you'll see how the common comma works in dialogue. Kiss me, Doug. NOT Kiss me Doug. It's the difference between talking TO someone and talking ABOUT someone. Anyone can learn this in about 5 minutes or less. Mara's got this one right. Too many others--not so much.

The NUMBER ONE job of the writer--is to provide clarity to the reader. Don't confuse them--unless it's on purpose and for for dramatic--or comedic-- effect.

======================

And, yes, when it comes to character, grammar is up to the writer...but improper spelling isn't a character trait--not when they're speaking, anyway. If your character says, "ain't," it should be spelled correctly. If they write a note in a scene--the spelling can be be awful to reveal the education--or intellect--of the character.

For the poster who says not to obsess...well, maybe, but your script goes out to actors, producers, directors, other crew personnel who need to read it. Anyone who calls themself a writer should be well versed in grammar, punctuation, spelling, syntax. If you're not--it's going to be mighty hard to write various characters if you don't know improper grammar from proper grammar. An English teacher will speak differently than a street thug.

I don't mind a handful of typos in a script--but when I read a script that clearly shows the writer doesn't have a grasp of basic writing skills, I have to suspect his grasp of conflict, character, structure, storytelling, and drama has to be flawed, too. After all, the basics are waa-aay easier to learn than the hard stuff. Most of this stuff is 8th-grade English.

In my comics work, I work with artists every day--and I expect them to know anatomy, perspective, dramatic storytelling [like a film director], clarity, shading of various textures [cloth, metal, wood], etc. If they don't know this stuff, they don't work--at least not at a pro level.

A writer isn't just someone with a keyboard--we all have keyboards. A writer is one who has studied the art of writing and practices it.

Most of have read the top screenplay books {I hope} ... we should all have the Elements of Style on our shelf, too {and read it once a year}. Our work will be better for it.


Kurt Hathaway
khathawayart[at]gmail.com

khathawayart
03-16-2013, 11:56 PM
I knew I forgot a big one.

Who vs. That.

/Who/ is a PERSON, /That/ is an OBJECT. They are not interchangable.

I have a brother that is a lawyer...wrong.

I have a brother who is a lawyer...correct.

I have a roof who leaks....wrong [this one's rarely used--if ever]

I have a roof that leaks...correct.

But, as with dialogue, your character choice determines which to use. But a writer should at least know the difference so [s]he can write accordingly.

K.

Nick Soares
03-17-2013, 06:55 AM
Director, you should be updating your first post with all this info :)

But seriously, many people find the site via google and some do not know to scroll down :)

Director
03-17-2013, 07:05 AM
List updated :)~

Director
03-18-2013, 01:41 PM
Two new words added. See list.

Mark
03-18-2013, 01:44 PM
Great list

kevinAvis
03-18-2013, 02:59 PM
I would like to add something.
If you prefer British spelling when you're write then you should keep it like that till the end.
Try to avoid changes between British and American spelling.
for example: jewelry/Jewellery,theatre/theater,Neighbor/Neighbour and many other words....
It's not that important but I wanted to mention it.

theusurpking
03-19-2013, 05:57 AM
quiet and quite

I am quite tired of the quiet room. or I am quiet tired of the quite room. If you don't know you should keep a dictionary close when writing.

We could do this all day. I think the lesson learned here is that we should pay close attention to our words and if we have any doubts look them up. It might take a little longer to write the script but it will be a better script for it.

Director
03-20-2013, 02:43 PM
post updated

Lecasm
03-22-2013, 10:42 AM
I don't think I see this too often in writing, but it kills me when I hear someone speak the word "heighth."

Director
03-22-2013, 10:56 AM
I don't think I see this too often in writing, but it kills me when I hear someone speak the word "heighth."

Heighth is the archaic of Height. I have only seen this older novels, and I've certainly have never heard anyone use it in conversation. You must be hanging around a bunch of old, dead, English poets.

Lecasm
03-22-2013, 11:44 AM
Yeah, I knew that much about it, but the word is still off-putting to me. I also know their reasons for using it are not borne out of an appreciation for old English.

But, oh well. I try not to let pet peeves peeve me too much.

Kevin
03-22-2013, 12:23 PM
Teh... Somehow the misspelling of The has become acceptable in text-speak and on t-shirts, which I always thought was odd. It's a spelling error that is going to start arguments in scrabble soon!

Kevin
03-22-2013, 12:26 PM
"Weather/Whether
Easy way to remember these two

Weather is when it rains
Whether, meaning which or which ever, is spelled with two "H"s"

I am embarrassed to admit, I was NEVER sure how to spell Whether until now... I just avoided using it since it never looked right!

Director
03-22-2013, 02:16 PM
"Weather/Whether
Easy way to remember these two

Weather is when it rains
Whether, meaning which or which ever, is spelled with two "H"s"

I am embarrassed to admit, I was NEVER sure how to spell Whether until now... I just avoided using it since it never looked right!

Just be happy I didn't add "Withered" to that list :)~

Kevin
03-22-2013, 09:03 PM
Heh. That one I know.

2001 Productions
03-23-2013, 08:54 AM
Since we're talking pet peeves...

Lie and Lay are constantly misapplied.

"Lie" is what one does with one's own body. "Lay" is what one does with something (or someone) else.

You lie down on the couch. You lay down your cards. You go outside and lie in the sun. You go inside and lay out your winter clothes.

Lay is also the past tense of lie: Last night I lay down on the couch. I lay in the sun yesterday.

Laid is the past tense of lay: During the last poker night, he laid down a straight flush. She laid out her winter clothes before she left.

bibisyran
03-23-2013, 09:09 AM
Thank you, 2001 Productions! This one's one of my biggest pet peeves.
Unfortunately, the misuse of lie/lay and lay/laid has become so prevalent throughout the United States that I wouldn't be surprised to hear an announcement in the near future from the dictionary gurus/wordsmiths that the wrong usage has become the right usage... It's odd that people seem to want to avoid using the word "lie" because of the "untruth" meaning it carries, yet they don't seem bothered by the idea that "lay" has a potentially steamy meaning.