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Posted on 18th June 2012

Make Word work for you with some find and replace tips for tricky typos.

I was recently proofreading a thesis about education when I noticed that learning had been misspelled as leaning. I could have continued through the document and amended any further instances of this as I encountered them, but even for a proofreader, the omission of an 'r' to make a word that is still a word can be hard to spot. Instead, I used the nifty CTRL+H trick and searched for all instances of 'lean' (be it leaner/leaners/leaning/leaned) and replaced them with 'learn'.

A word of caution though: it's often wise to check each instance one by one as sometimes the 'other version' may be correct - perhaps a learner was leaning against a metaphorical wall... Or Pret a Manger has a new manager.

What this did inspire me to do though was to compile a list of common errors (with the help of friends on Facebook and Twitter) in a handy list of words to look out for where a little typo can make a big difference. Whether you're a proofreader, or having to check your own work, this list can work as a useful reminder of words to look out for where Word's spell check just won't help.

If you think I have missed an important one off the list, drop me an email and I will add it on...

  • lean/learn
  • manger/manager
  • pubic/public
  • complaint/compliant
  • casual/causal
  • costumer/customer (less common but I've seen it a few times)
  • form/from
  • lager/larger
  • contacts/contracts
  • handing/handling
  • word/world
  • trials/trails
  • quality/qualify
  • combing/combining
  • aboard/abroad

Written by Kate Haigh.