Little Book of Confusables

Nine 10-second proofreading tips for mistake-free social media posts

Social media has blurred the lines between formal and informal communication – but that doesn’t mean you can forget about spelling and grammar in your LinkedIn posts and tweets!

Here are nine ten-second proofreading tips to help you avoid spelling slip-ups and embarrassing errors.

1) Spellcheck

While I can’t stress enough that you should never rely on spellcheck alone, it’ll pick up obvious mistakes such as embarassed, neccessary and accomodate, as well as switched letter spellings (anyone else’s fingers do this?!) such as perosnal, diffciult, and whihc.

2) Read aloud

Proofreading on screen is fraught with danger. It’s far easier to spot mistakes and repetition – and to ensure consistency – when you check a printout. But printing a tweet? That’s not happening, is it?!

Get your computer to read your text aloud.

Copy and paste your post into Word, select the Review menu and click Read Aloud – or dig into your computer’s accessibility settings.

Listening to an automated voice read your words aloud is a great way to spot repetition, clunky phrasing and spelling mistakes.

3) Know your homophones

No, I’m not being rude.

We all have language blindspots when it comes to soundalike words such as affect and effect, principle and principal, compliment and complement.

Heaven forbid you ask your reader to ‘bare with me’.


The Little Book of Confusables contains fun, memorable spelling and usage tips for almost 600 commonly confused words, and will have you laughing while you’re learning.

4) Look for missing words

When you’re checking something you’ve written yourself, your brain will, rather unhelpfully, show you what you think you’ve written, rather than what you’ve actually written.

This even works when didn’t write the copy yourself.

(Did you automatically read the missing word?)

5) Beware one-i blindness

A common mistake is to drop the second i in words such as communities, utilities, facilities and difficulties.

Does your hotel really offer ‘great conference facilites’?

And are you sure you sell ‘affordable home insurance polices’?

6) Don’t write YOU when you mean YOUR

How often have you seen mistakes like this?

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Easy to miss, easy to rectify.

7) Check your #confusables

Just one letter difference between two words can create a whole new meaning.

Bought and brought, though and through, manager and manger, assess and asses, public and…

You get the picture.

The Little Book of Confusables has your back.

8) Ditch filler words

Make sure every word is working hard to get your message across.

Start by ditching unnecessary filler words, such as just, that, really and very.

❌ “I just thought that I’d share some really great tips…”

✅ “I thought I’d share some great tips”

Or, even better:

✅ “Here are some great tips”

9) Properly punctuate

Know your punctuation, and use it well.

Did you know, for example, that an ellipsis (one of these…) is always three dots – no more, no less?

Are you confident with the rules for using apostrophes?

Done properly, punctuation helps your reader understand your message. And that’s what it’s all about, right?!

Of course, these tips are great when you have time in your day to proofread your own work. When you don’t? Hire a professional.

The Little Book of Confusables by Sarah Townsend

No more confusing words!

Master 600 confusing words with The Little Book of Confusables: 300 gorgeous pages packed with memorable, fun spelling tips – from ACCEPT + EXCEPT to YOUNG + YOUTHFUL.

Loved by writers everywhere, this multi-award-winning guide has been described as The perfect book for anyone who ever has to write anything!”.


Your fun guide to confusing words
The Little Book of Confusables
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