obvious copywriting errors

Misspelled or Mispelled? & 6 Other Obnoxious Copywriting Errors (Pop Quiz inside)

All copywriters are very much human. Even though they might publish copy that looks absolutely pristine and perfect.

How do I know? Because we make spelling errors just like the rest of the mere mortals. 😉

But the difference between you and me?

Because when I’m a copywriter and make a mistake, a lot more people are going to see it. That’s a whole lot of pressure.

Let’s face it:

English spelling is hard.

For example, how come if you write a play, you are a playwright, not a play write?

And why in the world is kernel spelled colonel?

In fact, George Bernard Shaw once pointed out that under English spelling rules, fish could just as easily be spelled g-h-o-t-i as f-i-s-h. (As in the gh from tough; the o as in women; and the ti like in nation.)

With all the wacky spelling rules, it is easy to see why even the smartest of us have problems every once in a while. Still, though, there are some mistakes so wrong that nobody should be guilty of making them. Yet, there they are, constantly being included on lists of the most commonly misspelled words (misspell, by the way, is not misspelled: however, mispelled definitely is).

If you want to make it in the copywriting biz: do not make any of these common errors. We’ve put together a fun spelling test pop quiz for you in this post! Our talented designer created a quiz graphic for every question. Remember: don’t peek at the end till you’ve taken a guess!

How well will you do on our spelling test? Ready…set…go!

copywriter errors

7 Common Spelling Problems You Should Not Be Making in Your Copywriting

Be creative with your copy, but not your spelling. Don’t even try to get creative with misspelling, i.e. krazy kopywriting. PSA: that’s not cute – that’s just bad spelling.

Here are seven words you should consistently be spelling right, but that a whole lot of people aren’t. If you want to make it in the copy game, time to get all of these right.

1. Most Obnoxious: They’re always getting their words mixed up over there.

[clickToTweet tweet=”They’re vs. their is a spine-chilling error that wins most obnoxious spelling mishap on the planet.” quote=”They’re vs. their is a spine-chilling error that wins most obnoxious spelling mishap on the planet. – @JuliaEMcCoy”]

They’re vs. their.

People seem to have a lot of trouble with this one, but if you are going to be a copywriter, you have to figure it out.

For starters, let’s go over they’re. Whenever you see an apostrophe that is not possessive, you know it has to be a contraction. So they’re has to be one as well. And, of course, it absolutely is. It stands for they are, and it should never be used in any other way.

Then, there is there. It’s a location – as in over there. It should never get mixed up with their – which is possessive. As in, their property.

Ready? Test yourself:

misspelled quiz question 1

2. He needs to leave to buy that car by the store. Bye!

Everyone should know the difference between buy, as in purchase, bye, as in adios, and by, as in a preposition.

Yet, here is this used car sign that makes me question everything I thought I knew about the level of grammar knowledge:


This particular store will bye used cars. I guess that sort of make senses. I mean, maybe they were going for the message that they quickly get rid of used cars, as in they go bye. However, I feel like that is a stretch. They just apparently needed my spelling lesson.

How about you? Are you better than this used cars sign? Get this question right and prove it:

misspelled quiz question 2

3. If you lose any more weight, your pants will feel loose.

Lose is a verb. It means to replace. Loose is an adjective that means not firm. It seems so easy.

Yet when a sign for Hoodia Patch, a weight lose aid, claimed to be the effective way to loose weight, people quickly pointed out their mistake.

And even fixing said mistake made them the butt of jokes as people pointed out that their ad must have gone on a diet because their loose lost an o in the edit. Now that is not the type of attention you want your copywriting to get you.

Are you ready for the quiz on this section? It should be an easy one:

misspelled quiz question 3

4. Here are two cookies that need to be eaten later because they are too hot now.

Two people pretty much have figured out. It’s that pesky to and too that they just can’t wrap their minds around. Let’s break it down. To is a preposition. Too is an adverb meaning either a higher degree than is desired or else also.

Easy, right? Tell that to this tax office who thinks it is never to late to file your taxes (but is it too late to fix the sign?):


Do you have it down? Or do you need extra help like those accountants, too? Select the right answer:

misspelled quiz question 4

5. Why don’t I like that sign? Because it’s got to fix its spelling.

Admittedly, its and it’s can be a little confusing if you are used to ‘s being a possessive. However, when it comes to this common misspelling, all you have to know is that it’s means it is or it has and absolutely nothing else.

Did you happen to notice that in the accounting sign above, they also got this wrong? That’s a truly awful sign. Its not to late to file your taxes should have been it’s not too late to file your taxes. If you ever see this sign on an accountant’s door, please know that it’s not too late to find another accountant.

Now for the quiz question:

misspelled quiz question 5

6. A lot of people think alot is okay. (It isn’t.)

Alot does not exist. It is no more real than alittle or apair or adumb.

It is always a lot, every single time.

That being said, here is this section’s quiz question. (No excuses on this one.)

misspelled quiz question 6

7. You’re right – that’s not your problem.

Where do I start? Your is possessive. You’re means you are. It could not get any simpler. And yet here I am talking about it. Why?

Because Seagate didn’t know this. And they are certainly not the only one.

So are you one of the misspellers? Here’s your question (and note that I didn’t say here’s you’re question):

misspelled quiz question 7

8. Our friends are almost here.

Are is a verb, our is possessive. Are you getting all of this? I hope so because our spelling lesson is almost done. Get the difference?

See how well you do with this one:

misspelled quiz question 8

9 . Always know when to say no.

Here is the last on this list but most certainly not the last of the commonly misspelled words: know and no.

If you understand something, you know it. If you mean the opposite of yes, then you want to say no.

Make sense? Let’s see.

misspelled quiz question 9

Pop Quiz Answer Time!

Now here are the answers. I’m sure you aced it.

misspelled quiz question answers

Before You Hit Submit, Think About Your Copywriting for a Spell

When you are writing copy, it is easy to misspell a word, even when you actually know how to spell it.

With copywriters, it’s easier to misspell than you’d think. You’re typing fast, and your thoughts are coming in fast, so it is easy to make a typo.

The problem with our jobs, however, is that when you make that typo with copywriting, a lot of people are going to end up seeing it. And when they see it, they aren’t going to know whether you don’t know how to spell or you made a simple mistake. They will assume the former, though.

The solution to saving yourself from a world of embarrassment is simple. Think before you submit.

  • Double and triple check your work.
  • Use, but never depend on, spell check.
  • Have someone else double and triple check your work.
  • Read through it backwards (it works very well – I don’t know why).

Just make sure it does not go to print with some glaring spelling error you would be embarrassed to have credited to you.


And if you want someone else to write your copy for you to really clear yourself of blame, take a look at our copywriting services.

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1 reply
  1. PaulLalley
    PaulLalley says:

    What’s ultra-sad is these basic mistakes now show up on TV, billboards and other public outlets. I pass a car lot that has a big sign that says “We By Cars.” The dumbing down of language.


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