Common spelling goofs 2 – 10 Quick Tips

Common spelling goofs 2 - 10 Quick TipsWelcome to yet another 10 Quick Tips – this time the second part of common spelling goofs / homophones, following on from this one. Which are your favorites? And have you any you’d like to add to this section of the alphabet?

1. Pain – Pane … pain (n.) = hurt or (v.) to hurt … pane (n.) = sheet of (usually) glass, section of window

2. Pare – pair – pear – payer … pare (v.) = to peel, e.g. with a knife … pair (n.) = two of something or (v.) to put two things together … pear (n.) = fruit … payer (n.) = someone who pays

3. Passed – Past … passed (v.) = past tense of to pass, e.g. “passed away” or (adj.) e.g. passed examination … past (n. and adj.) = time gone by, behind

4. Perspective – Prospective … perspective (n.) = viewpoint, vision … prospective (adj.) = possibility in future

5. Pleas – Please … pleas (n. plural) = appeals for help, mercy, etc., also legal statements … please (v. or adv.) = to make happy, etc.

6. Pore – Pour … pore (n.) = tiny opening in your skin … pore (v.) = to study or examine very closely and carefully … pour (v.) = (usually re: a liquid) to release from container, e.g. “pour yourself a glass of milk”)

Common spelling goofs 2 - 10 Quick Tips

Poll (n.) the top of a horse’s head, between its ears

7. Pole – Poll … pole (n.) = long, thin rod … poll (n. and v.) collection of opinions or votes, act of obtaining those … also poll (n.) the top of a horse’s head, between its ears

8. Pray – Prey … pray (v.) = to communicate with your God … prey (n.) = the object of a predator’s food quest and (v.) to hunt.

9. Principal – Principle … principal (adj.) = main, predominant and (n.) someone in the driving seat, e.g. USA head teacher   … principle (n.) = notion, standard, assumption

10. Prostate – Prostrate … prostate (n.) = a gland within the male lower urinary tract and (adj.) relating to that gland … prostrate (adj.) = lying down face down and (v.) to do so

Working as I do a lot with medical topics and cancer in particular, I have seen many examples of the prostate/prostrate goof. Perhaps the most surprising, and the funniest, was the header on a long series of PowerPoint slides in a presentation given by a senior urologist to an august medical audience … all about the treatment of prostrate cancer.

Of course cancer isn’t funny (I’ve had it twice) but you have to laugh, don’t you…

Which are your favorites?


photo credit: Cavallo via photopin (license)




  1. Being a “great” speller (I taught English to Grade 6 and 7 in the 80s) and being Canadian I never know when to use Canadian or US spelling. I don’t want offend either group 🙂

    • It’s a tough choice, Trudy, especially now that all of us business writers operate on an international scale. I’m not absolutely certain about this but I believe that in the majority of countries where English is a second language, it’s mainly taught with UK spellings. But I have no doubt that Uncle Sam’s influence – and spellings – are creeping in outside the USA…