Common Errors Starting with W

whole-hardily vs wholeheartedly

<p>Wholeheartedly refers to a sincere and genuine gesture shown after similar has been done earlier.</p><pre>"The professor wholeheartedly embraced the class idea."</pre><p>Whole hardily on the oth...

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wail vs whale

One informal meaning of “whale” is “to beat.” Huck Finn says of Pap that “He used to always whale me when he was sober.” Although the vocalist in a band may wail a song, the drummer whales on the d...

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wait on vs wait for

In some dialects it’s common to say that you’re waiting on people or events when in standard English we would say you’re waiting for them. Waiters wait on people, so it’s all right to say “I’m tire...

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walk the talk vs walk the walk

Aristotle’s followers are said to have discussed philosophy while walking about with him—hence their name: “peripatetics.” I suppose they could have been said to “walk the talk.”For the rest of us,...

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wander vs wonder

<p>Wonder means something that causes amazement or awe in marvel. It is often inexplicable and astonishing to ponder on.</p><pre>"I wonder how the kids are doing without us."</pre><p>Wander means t...

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want that . . . should vs want . . . to

When someone wants someone else to do something, the expression is not “she wants that you should do it” but “she wants you to do it.” Similarly, it’s “I want you to do it,” “we want you to do it,”...

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warmongerer vs warmonger

“Monger” is a very old word for “dealer.” An ironmonger sells metal or hardware, and a fishmonger sells fish. Warmongers do not literally sell wars, but they advocate and promote them. For some rea...

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warrantee vs warranty

Confused by the spelling of “guarantee,” people often misspell the related word “warrantee” rather than the correct “warranty.” “Warrantee” is a rare legal term that means “the person to whom a war...

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wary vs weary vs leery

<p>Wary is the feeling of danger and be cautious about it. It entails carefully watching and guarding against deception.</p><pre>"Be wary of the dog, it is unpredictable."</pre><p>Weary is an expre...

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was vs were

In phrases beginning with “there” many people overlook the need to choose a plural or singular form of the verb “to be” depending on what follows. ”There were several good-looking guys at the party...

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wash

In my mother’s Oklahoma dialect, “wash” was pronounced “warsh,” and I was embarrassed to discover in school that the inclusion of the superfluous “R” sound was considered ignorant. This has made me...

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waver vs waiver

Wave bye-bye. Ride the wave. Do the wave. We all know what a wave is, right? The verb “waive,” whose root meaning is “abandon,” is less familiar. When you give up a legal right, you waive it; and t...

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wax

An unusual use of the word “wax” is “to change manner of speaking,“ as in “she waxed eloquent on the charms of New Jersey” or “he waxed poetic on virtues of tube amplifiers.” These expressions mean...

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way vs far, much more

Young people frequently use phrases like “way better” to mean “farbetter” or “very much better.” In formal writing, it would be gauche tosay that Impressionism is “way more popular” than Cubism ins...

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ways vs way

<p>Way is a physical or conceptual path, road or direction from one place to another. It is also described as a method or manner doing things. </p><pre>"I have a different way of attempting the que...

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weak vs week

People often absentmindedly write “last weak” or “next weak.” Less often they write “I feel week.” These mistakes will not be caught by a spelling checker.“Weak” is the opposite of “strong.” A week...

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weiner vs wiener

<p>A wiener means a sausage or hot dog. It shape also advocates for it to be used as a slang for penis. It is a variant of the spelling for weiner. </p> <pre><i>"That has got to be the most delici...

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wench vs winch

“Wench” began as a general term for a girl or woman, and over the centuries acquired a variety of meanings, including female servant, lower-class female, and prostitute. It is mostly used today as ...

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wensday vs wednesday

Wednesday was named after the Germanic god “Woden” (or “Wotan”). Almost no one pronounces this word’s middle syllable distinctly, but it’s important to remember the correct spelling in writing.

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went vs gone

The past participle of “go” is “gone” so it’s not “I should have went tothe party” but “I should have gone to the party."

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we’re vs were

<p>We’re is the contraction of ‘we are’. </p><pre>“We’re going to the store later.” </pre><p>‘Were’ is the past tense of ‘are’. </p><pre>“Today we are happy; yesterday we were sad.”</pre>

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were vs where

Sloppy typists frequently leave the H out of “where.” Spelling checkers do not catch this sort of error, of course, so look for it as you proofread.

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wet your appetite vs whet your appetite

It is natural to think that something mouth-watering “wets your appetite,” but actually the expression is “whet your appetite”— sharpen your appetite, as a whetstone sharpens a knife.

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whacky vs wacky

<p>Wacky means of a person to have an unstable behaviour that is quite unpredictable and eccentric.</p><pre>"The old woman scares me. She is wacky as hell."</pre><p>Whacky is an alternative spellin...

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what vs that

In some dialects it is common to substitute “what” for “that,” as in“You should dance with him what brought you.” This is not standard usage.

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wheat vs whole wheat

Waiters routinely ask “Wheat or white?” when bread is ordered, but the white bread is also made of wheat. The correct term is “whole wheat,” in which the whole grain, including the bran and germ, h...

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wheelbarrel vs wheelbarrow

<p>A wheelbarrow is a small cart for carrying things in the garden or during construction. It has one wheel at the front and two handles to hold and push with. </p><pre>“It will be easier if you us...

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whenever vs when

“Whenever” has two main functions. It can refer to repeated events: “Whenever I put the baby down for a nap the phone rings and wakes her up.” Or it can refer to events of whose date or time you ar...

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where it’s at

This slang expression gained widespread currency in the sixties as a hip way of stating that the speaker understood the essential truth of a situation: “I know where it’s at.” Or more commonly: “Yo...

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whereabouts are vs whereabouts is

Despite the deceptive S on the end of the word, “whereabouts” is normally singular, not plural. “The whereabouts of the stolen diamond is unknown.” Only if you were simultaneously referring to two ...

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wherefore

When Juliet says “Wherefore art thou Romeo?“ she means ”Why do you have to be Romeo—why couldn’t you have a name belonging to some family my folks are friendly with?” she is not asking where Romeo ...

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where (and prepositions)

When you are asking about a location someone is coming from you need to use the preposition “from” with “where”: “Where are you coming from?” But when you are discussing a destination instead of a ...

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whether vs whether or not

“Whether” works fine on its own in most contexts: “I wonder whether Iforgot to turn off the stove?” But when you mean “regardless of whether”it has to be followed by “or not” somewhere in the sente...

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whilst vs while

Although “whilst” is a perfectly good traditional synonym of “while,” inAmerican usage it is considered pretentious and old-fashioned.

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whim and a prayer vs wing and a prayer

A 1943 hit song depicted a bomber pilot just barely managing to bring his shot-up plane back to base, “comin’ in on a wing and a prayer” (lyrics by Harold Adamson, music by Jimmy McHugh). Some peop...

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whimp vs wimp

The original and still by far the most common spelling of this common bit of slang meaning “weakling, coward,” is “wimp.” If you use the much less common “whimp” instead people may regard you as a ...

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whisky vs whiskey

Scots prefer the spelling “whisky”; Americans follow instead the Irish spelling, so Kentucky bourbon is “whiskey.”

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who’s vs whose

This is one of those cases where it is important to remember that possessive pronouns never take apostrophes, even though possessive nouns do (see ). “Who’s” always and forever means only “who is,”...

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who vs whom

“Whom” has been dying an agonizing death for decades—you’ll notice there are no Whoms in Dr. Seuss’s Whoville. Many people never use the word in speech at all. However, in formal writing, critical ...

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who’s ever vs whoever’s

In speech people sometimes try to treat the word “whoever” as two words when it’s used in the possessive form: “Whose-ever delicious plums those were in the refrigerator, I ate them.” Occasionally ...

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wile away vs while away

”Waiting for my physical at the doctor’s office, I whiled away the time reading the dessert recipes in an old copy of Gourmet magazine.” The expression “while away the time” is the only surviving c...

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wit vs whit

<p>Wit is the ability to think quickly characterized by mental cleverness especially during short time constraint. It also means intelligence and common sense.</p><pre>"The idea is one of wit."</pr...

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within vs among

“Within” means literally “inside of,” but when you want to compare similarities or differences between things you may need “among” instead. It’s not “There are some entertaining movies within the c...

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woman vs women

<pre><i>"Never make a woman mad. Women can remember stuff that hasn't event happened yet."</i></pre> <p>Woman means an adult individual of the female gender. It is the singular term to characteriz...

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wonderkind vs wunderkind

We borrowed the term “wunderkind,” meaning “child prodigy,” from the Germans. We don’t capitalize it the way they do, but we use the same spelling. When writing in English, don’t half-translate it ...

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wont vs won’t

People often leave the apostrophe out of “won’t,” meaning “will not.” “Wont” is a completely different and rarely used word meaning “habitual custom.” Perhaps people are reluctant to believe this i...

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worser vs worse

If you look “worser” up in a dictionary, you’re likely to find it labeled “achaic,” which means that although Shakespeare and many other writers once used it, the word is no longer a part of standa...

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would have vs had

People are often confused about how to discuss something that didn’t happen in the past. It’s standard usage to say “If I had remembered where I parked the car, I would have gotten home sooner.” No...

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wrangle vs wangle

If you deviously manage to obtain something you wangle it: “I wangled an invitation to Jessica’s party by hinting that I would be inviting her to our house on the lake this summer.” But if you argu...

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wrapped vs rapt

When you get deeply involved in a project, you may say you’re wrapped up in it; but if you are entranced or enraptured by something you are “rapt,” not “wrapped.” The word means “carried away” and ...

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wreath vs wreaths vs wreathe vs wreathes

One circle of greens is a wreath (rhymes with “teeth”). The plural is “wreaths” (rhymes with “heaths”). In both cases the TH is unvoiced (like the TH in “both”).To decorate something with wreaths i...

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wreckless vs reckless

<p>Reckless means someone to be indifferent of the idea of danger or the attendant consequences. It entails wild, passively aggressive, violent actions and headstrong.</p><pre>"The way you're livin...

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write me

Many UK English speakers and some American authorities object strongly to the common American expression “write me,” insisting that the correct expression is “write to me.” But “write me” is so com...

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writting vs writing

<p>If you think that your hand writting is bad then what is bad is your spelling and not necessarily your hand writing. "Writting" is a misspelling. "Writing" is correct.</p><p>Writing is a process...

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world wide web

“World Wide Web” is a name that needs to be capitalized, like“Internet.” It is made up of Web pages and Web sites (or, less formally,Websites).

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