10 Words that Make Bloggers Seem Dumb

I recently heard a CNN broadcaster use the word ‘orientate’, and she was NOT discussing a map, or its orientation.

Grrr…. How VERY wrong.

Incorrect word and grammar usage frequently frazzles my brain (and others with average English language skills) to the extent that we lose the overall message while we ponder how the speaker or writer managed to graduate from grade school, let alone university.

Note: My grade school comment does NOT apply to those who blog in English as a second language.

I admire you!

However, it IS worth your time to learn the lessons below. :-)

As for all you native English speakers – here’s a review…

  1. Irregardless – NOT a word, despite the fact that some dictionaries include it, for the following reasons:

    • Containing the suffix ‘less’, regardless already means ‘without regard’.
    • Adding the negative prefix ‘irr’ to regardless, is therefore redundant.
    • Moreover, ‘irr’ nullifies the existing ‘less’, making it a double negative.
    • Ergo, ‘irregarless’ actually means ‘with regard’, yet those using it typically mean to say (write) regardless.
  2. Orientate – The word is ‘orient’. The only time ‘orientate’ or ‘orientated’ is acceptable is when referring to the orientation of a map to its compass points – BUT ‘orient’ will suffice and simplicity always works best.
  3. Ironical – Use ‘ironic’.
  4. Conversate – Use ‘converse’. We don’t conversate, we converse.
  5. Lie vs. Lay – Instructing your dog to ‘lay down’ is going to confuse him as he wonders ‘lay WHAT down?’. The correct phrase is ‘lie down’. Lie means ‘to recline’, whereas ‘lay’ means ‘to place’.
  6. It’s / Its – Apostrophes seem to pose problems for many bloggers. ‘Its going to rain’ is wrong. It’s is the contraction for ‘it is’, therefore ‘it’s going to rain’ is correct. ‘Its’ on the other hand is possessive pronoun, indicating that ‘it’ owns something, e.g. ‘its name’. By the way, never use Its’.
  7. There / Their / They’re – They are over ‘there’ at the river and ‘they’re’ getting ready to go canoeing.
  8. Than / Then – Than is a conjunction used in comparisons. That hamburger was more than I could eat. Then is an adverb usually denoting time. They are coming at Christmas, we’ll see them then. Then can also mean in addition or in that case. If you plan to ski, then you’ll have to buy tickets.
  9. Your / You’re – Your is possessive – that’s your hat. You’re is the contraction for ‘you are’.
  10. Accept / Except – Accept is a verb that means “to receive, admit, regard as true, say yes.” His application to Stanford was accepted. Except is a preposition that means “excluding.” I know everyone here except the fellow standing in the corner. I can’t accept this gift.

OK, go ahead, find all the bloopers on my blog and I’ll correct them. :-)

Do you have pet peeves about grammar and word usage? Feel free to share them with us by leaving a comment in the section below.



Want to write like an English pro?

Well, you CAN if you use WhiteSmoke’s revolutionary writing software. WhiteSmoke’s innovative software is the first-ever instant, full-text analysis solution, providing context-related language enrichment.

Whitesmoke will:

  • Fix all Grammar Errors immediately
  • Replace words using a smart thesaurus
  • Upgrade your writing by adding context-related words
  • Check spelling with our comprehensive dictionaries
  • Works on all applications

I use WhiteSmoke !


  1. says

    Hi, Ros!

    Bugs me, too! Speaking of which…

    “To” and “too” (“two” too!) are others often misused. Many of these grammar mistakes are made when folks are relying on “spell check” or “auto-fill” features on mobile devices. Gotta read it back and proof-read regardless (!) of our confidence in the “helpful” editing software like WhiteSmoke. (That’s another one – “are” and “our.”) Keeps the human element in there, huh?

    The folks that amaze me are blind. Some use voice-recognition software, and others use brail keyboards – incredible!

    Thanks for prodding folks to write well.

    Cheers until next time,

    • Gene says

      I know this post was nearly a year ago, but it reminded me of something I saw a month or so ago on the rear window of a car. They were expressing their sadness over the passing of a loved one and said “you will always be in are hearts”. I thought “They’re displaying their ignorance all over town” and then I had to laugh.


  2. says

    Thanks for the great article, Ros! My pet peeve is the confusion of “I” and “me” both in converstion and writing. It seems that many people feel that using “me” is somehow wrong so they get rid of it altogether. As in,”This course is being taught by Liz and I” instead of “Liz and me.”

    • says

      That whole set (I/me, she/her, he/him, we/us, maybe more that I can’t think of right now) really grate on my “reading nerves” too.

      I’m glad you’ve pinned this in your sidebar as a “recommended post”.


  3. says

    Hi Rosalind,

    It’s refreshing to read your very ‘smart’ reminder about our grammar and punctuation bloopers. When I see these mistakes (and all too often, I’m afraid) it’s a real turn-off! Usually I click off the page if there are too many of these. Sometimes the spell-check doesn’t catch everything so it pays to understand just a few basics such as you’ve listed here for us.



  4. says

    I, too, am a stickler for proper grammar. I think one reason people might confused its/it’s and they’re/their is that Word flags contractions incorrectly. Sometimes I have to fight with it to allow me to use the correct form!
    A fun book for anyone who loves grammar is “The Great Typo Hunt”. It’s about a man who travels the US correcting grammar mistakes and typos on signs.

  5. says

    Hi Ros,

    I happen to be one of those ESL (English as a second language) blogger. Actually English is my third language. In addition, I learned English from the British, as well as other non-native English speakers like myself. I now live in America. Therefore, I can get pretty confused at times.

    I have noticed that Americans tend to have a problem with certain words with letter “e” or “a”. This is, I think, because of the way they speak. An good example is “accept” and “except” as in your post. Another frequent one is “affect” and “effect”. Yet another is “than” and “then” (you covered that too).

    • says

      Yes Jim,

      That is another one of mine… should of, could of, would of…. etc. and as you point out they mean the shortened versions of ‘should have’, ‘could have’….

  6. says

    Ros, Great Post! English is NOT my first language and I am aware I do many mistakes when writing, but you’re incredibly accurate with this list. Even I pick these up and indeed it looks very poor on behalf of the writer. Love your posts always insightful :-)

    • says

      Hey Ernesto,

      When I read your writing, I hear your voice which is always a delight to my ears as you use such beautiful turns of phrases. I’m rather envious of your tri-linguality… is that even a word? :-)


  7. says


    You already covered my grammar pet peeve – using “your” when “you’re” should be used. I see this mistake being made all of the time.

  8. Kimberly says


    I could not have written your latest post any better. The sad truth is that I find many news and media reporting people using incorrect language and it drives me crazy! By no means am I an English teacher, but “ain’t” and “He got arrested” are like nails on a chalkboard for me.

    • says


      Are you serious? You heard a broadcaster use the word “ain’t”?

      I would have called the station and implored the producer to have the abuser fired! :-)


  9. Larry says

    Unbelievable!:-)! Though I’m light years away from the planet “Perfect Grammar”, it’s nice to read that someone else on Earth understands the difference between “your” and “you’re”.

    I Love your stuff. Please keep it up!

    Best wishes,


  10. says

    As a former teacher, this kind of thing grates on my nerves as well.

    As a marketer, it takes away a little credibility.

    I think I need to go lay down 😉

    • says

      Hi Jim,

      You are way too nice. Poor grammar and spelling in a sales letter completely destroys a marketer’s credibility in my mind. If I flinch while reading the sales copy, I can’t imagine how I’ll feel while trying to read the book. :-)


  11. says

    OMG… I thought I was the only one! What about this phrase “self-nurture yourself”

    If the word “self” is in there, you don’t need to add “yourself”

  12. says

    You have brought up the real issue of how the information age is corrupting proper grammar. Everyone has access to the news and internet, not just the affluent. So to maintain an audience the language has to include slang, which is usually full of incorrect grammar. But I believe it is our responsibility to maintain correct use of the English language. This is especially true for anyone in the broadcast news genre.

    • says

      Slang and incorrect grammar ain’t the same thing!

      As a writer, my sacred trust is not to uphold the subcultural standards of “the affluent.” It is to communicate, inspire, move, sell, inform, teach, or entertain.

      That calling requires that I use the right language for the right job — proper grammar to ensure clarity and the specialized language that’s appropriate for the context.

  13. Marc says

    These types of mistakes are doing a lot of damage because they are so widespread. Kids reading from the Internet absorb these mistakes without any awareness that the language is incorrect. It’s even happening to me. Even though I know better, my subconscious is quietly absorbing these mistakes because they are so prevalent and I find myself making these errors when I type rapidly.

    • says

      Hi Marc,

      You have an excellent point that I hadn’t considered. Perhaps we should start a ‘grammar police’ movement to protect susceptible young minds from language pollution on the internet. Site gets taken down after 3 notices that go uncorrected. :-)


  14. says

    I was beginning to think I was the only person that was bothered by this; I guess not.

    I have to watch my writing sometimes when my thoughts get ahead of my typing fingers.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Want to bet many will not even attempt to correct their mistakes?

  15. says

    Great post. Here’s one that makes everyone look dumb, including producers of many packaged products. It is the misuse of “less” and “few”.

    Less is singular whereas few is plural. We have less money and fewer dollars. You will commonly find reference to “less calories” when it should be “fewer calories”.

    • says

      Hi Frank,

      You are so right. Looks like I will have to write another post to include your suggestions as well as so many others I’ve received this morning.


  16. says

    Great post. Like you I get almost apoplectic when I am exposed to some of the grammatical mistakes that are all too common these days. Before I retired I worked as a cook and worked with mostly young people who, for want of a better phrase, tortured the English Language. They called me “Conan the Grammarian’ when I would ‘comment’ on phrases like “her and me went shopping yesterday”. Then there is the issue of the common misunderstanding of the difference between “bring” and “take”. Most confusing to me as I know that some of them had actually been exposed to “Sesame Street”. Thanks for bringing a chuckle to my morning.

    P.S. I have been a long time reader of your blog and recently purchased your “handbook”. I am now learning about blogging and how I might be able to augment my meager income while being able to express my concerns about energy and how we, as a species, might be able to solve the problem of diminishing fossil resources that have turned out to be, at best, a mixed blessing.

    • says


      Thank YOU for the morning chuckle. “Conan the Grammarian” indeed. Love it!

      Took a quick look at your blog and it’s great. REAL information which Google loves.
      I’d suggest adding at least one graphic to each post and using bolder sub-headings to break up the text. Too, you might want to use the ‘more’ tag to get folks to click through to read the rest of the article, bringing them deeper into the site and to improve your rankings with Google.


  17. says

    Lol… so true… I think for the most part, I am not guilty, but I am bound to have slipped up somewhere.

    I do have some pet peeves though and these are usually in speaking rather than spelling.

    Filim – instead of Film

    ecspecially (what is that about?) – instead of especially

    Also just a possible addit to point 7

    There / Their / They’re – They are over ‘there’ at the river and ‘they’re’ getting ready to go canoeing in their canoe.

    (I know it’s superfluous, because what else would they be going canoeing in… right?) Just wanted to add the other ‘their’ in there. :)

    Really enjoyed the article. Thanks Ros

  18. says

    Oh goodness me you’ve struck a nerve there. I too am whipped up into a fine furious froth over some of these howlers. Illiterate word munching is permissible in Facebook comments from teenagers, although as a parent I weep over their schooling. Lax standards in literacy and advances in technology are to blame I feel. There are so many other examples. I object to the misuse of the word “of”, as in “could of” instead of “could have”. There’s really no call for that kind of lazy writing. I know you should write as you speak but really, there are limits. :)

    The “there/their/they’re” mistake is so forehead smackingly common. I think a lot of it is that these words are phonetically similar and spelled correctly (although incorrectly used) and so pass the spell checker test but people have become lazy proofers.

    It’s okay to make up words, language must evolve, but I think a lot of the time people think they are “talking posh” and litter their prose with poshisms and half assed stabs at using longer words to appear more intellectual. But unless standards improve they will continue irregardless. Ugh.

    • says

      Hi Phil,

      Shouldn’t half assed be hypenated? LOL

      You write beautifully, so it’s no wonder you get ‘whipped up into a fine furious froth’ over those errors.

      I’m with you on ‘of’ vs. ‘have’. Another of my pet peeves is ‘got’ instead of ‘have’.

      BTW, you should include Facebook like buttons on your posts… I was ready to push one. :-)


  19. says

    They must get their cue from TV commercials: yesterday, within about an hour I heard, “they’ve got another THING coming”, and saw “water-repellAnt”. And those are the folks with the big budgets!

  20. says

    Hi Ross, I certainly can agree that bad grammar really gets my goat! I often chuckle at posts hat are obviously written by someone who needs to go back to the high school :)

    However my BIGGEST bug ‘in regards to grammar’ comes from the ever growing amount of really poorly written comments that appear on my blogs. I am sure they are written by some eager but under paid outsourced help.

    I often follow the links and email the blog owners and show them the type of comments they are paying for.

    And white smoke rocks I like how they give you a great free trial of the product too…

    Cheers for the share & hope that you Trip planning goes well 😉

    • says

      Hi Tony,

      I hope those other bloggers appreciate your efforts.

      I sometimes peruse the comments that end up in spam simply for amusement and try to figure out how anyone could build (or buy) a comment-spinner that churns out crap like this:

      “This topic was incredibly beneficial and effectively created. I approach to accomplish some much more investigation on this. Thanks for expressing this timely details. We need to have a lot more such as this.”

      And we need a lot less of that! :-)

    • B, Bisch says

      ” chuckle at posts hat are obviously written by someone who needs to go back to the high school :)ummm “chuckle at posts HAT are obviously written…”

      I still do read the newspapers, but what drives me up the wall, is the news stories that appear on the Internet, through the News Stations. A spelling mistake can happen, ( if one does not have spell check) but when the whole article is so befuddled that one is wondering what was meant by the time you get to the end or the story???
      I do make mistakes but I do try to read what I wrote before I hit the “send to” button.
      Ok, I will hop off my soap box, and go back to reading the SUPER AFFILIATE HANDBOOK

  21. says

    Hi Ross,
    How about ICONIC? Defined as “very famous and well known, and believed to represent a particular idea”

    So how come Lady Gaga’s latest hair style is Iconic??


  22. says

    Your points are well taken Ros…

    My mother, who was a retired high school English teacher would have had a field day with her red pen on the Internet. It seems that many people are in such a hurry to make a buck on the Net that basic language skills go by the wayside. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot :-)!

    All the best,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclosure: We are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details.