Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Even George R.R. Martin Confuses Common Words in the Newly Leaked Winds of Winter Chapter

[SPOILER FREE--Don't worry. We wouldn't do that to you.]

George R.R. Martin has now leaked another chapter of the highly-anticipated book Winds of Winter from the A Song of Ice and Fire series (known by HBO viewers as Game of Thrones). As dedicated A Song of Ice and Fire fans, we were thrilled to read and analyze every drop of the story that Martin was willing to dole out to us. It has been an entire year since he has teased us with another chapter, and with Season 5 of Game of Thrones premiering this weekend, the timing couldn't be better. 

At Correctica, our dedication to finding and correcting misused words, articles, and homophones on the web isn't something we can just turn off. So when reading (and loving) this new excerpt we were thrust out of Martin's Westoros world a few times when we noticed some glaring misused words and homophones. 

George R.R. Martin is an incredibly talented writer whose ability to create an elaborate fantasy world with complex, interweaving storylines seems almost superhuman.  That being said, we have learned that no one is immune to making grammatical errors--not even someone who notably takes the care to work on a book series for decades. 

Here are some of the errors we found: 

[Note: These excerpts aren't plot spoilers, but we blacked out names because people, rightly, have varying ideas of what is considered a spoiler.]

1) Shudder Not Shutter:

Martin writes that the character in this excerpt could not help but "shutter." What he actually intends to write is that the character could not help but shudder. A shutter is a hinged panel that covers a window or a part of a camera. You shudder in fear or in revulsion. 

2) Soon Not Sound:

In this line, Martin writes the character "sound found herself laughing." This is less of a confusion of the words soon and sound, and more of a typing mistake that happens when your brain is working faster than your fingers. But, alas, your grammar checker will see that sound is spelled correctly and will typically not mark it as an error. 

3) Forgot Not Forget:

Here, Martin writes that "she forget who she was." We assume he intended to write that "she forgot who she was." 

Correctica takes into account the context of your words when it scans your website or document. So if you write that you are "bear naked," you may, in fact, mean that you are as naked as a bear. More than likely, you mean that you are completely naked. Although both "bear" and "naked" are correctly-spelled words, Correctica will recognize a writer's probable meaning when using those two words together and will identify this as an error. 

Our objective isn't to expose or taunt people who make errors, but to show that no one is immune to them. Whether you have been writing a seven-book series since 1991 or you are updating your website, resume, or blog, we are all susceptible to errors. 

If you would like to check your own website for grammatical errors such as misused homophones, idioms, and articles, scan your website with our free demo. You may also check your resume, blog, article or chapter using our automated Proof It Free tool.

[Image created by Yulia Nikolaeva]

Thursday, April 2, 2015

20 Embarrassing Phrases Even Smart People Misuse

Everyone makes grammatical mistakes, but some can be more humiliating than others. Here at Correctica, our aim is to save you the embarrassment of writing about “prostrate cancer” in your next research paper, or to prevent you from emailing a “sneak peak” of your new product to potential clients. Even worse, when you make these mistakes on your website, your Google rankings can be negatively impacted and the perceived quality of your site is lowered. 

We compiled a list of 20 embarrassing phrases for that you’re likely getting wrong in the hopes that we can save you from shame. Read the full list of errors here, and use our Proof It Free tool to run your site or documents through a shortlist of our errors.

Have a website? Run your site through our Website Demo to get examples of errors that are currently on your site. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Guardian Reveals Correctica's Discovery That Intelligence Agencies May Not Be So Intelligent

In honor of National Grammar Day, we decided to analyze the grammar of websites that belong to top tier organizations that you would think would be above any and all errors. These organizations are notoriously known for having no hard feelings, for letting people slide, and for not being intimidating at all: the CIA, the NSA, and the MI5. [Gulps]

The Guardian bravely reported on our findings and was surprised that "these agencies -- which claim to exhibit, employ and exude intelligence -- all but abandon it when it comes to grammar and basic copy editing." 

Our research uncovered a 13% error rate for American intelligence agencies and a slightly better 7% error rate for British agencies. 

In the article, writer Adam Lewis explains "there is a growing body of evidence that suggests spelling and grammar have measurable effects on perceptions of credibility, quality and importance--traits ought to be essential for agencies charged with protecting our safety and security."

Would you like to see if your website fares better than the ‪‎CIA‬'s and NSA‬'s did? Run a free preliminary scan of your site here!

Learn what other embarrassing gaffes we uncovered in The Guardian's article here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Republican National Committee Misspells “Committee” 1,800 Times on Their Mobile Website

[Update: After our blog post on February 3, 2015, the GOP updated their mobile site and corrected their misspelling of Committee that was on every page of their mobile site (corrected image below). However, the following errors in this blog post besides Committee remain.

We would be pleased to offer a full, complimentary scan to the political party organization, either the the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee, that replies to our offer first.]

With a majority of seats in both houses of Congress, the GOP has clearly mastered the art of communicating their message in order to win elections. While the overall message is clear, the ability of a leader to communicate with correct grammar gives their message credibility, precision, and a higher likelihood that readers will understand their intent and meaning. Are you more likely to vote for someone who is claiming they will “Repeel Taxes” as opposed to “Repeal”? What about a candidate who wants their national health care reform plan to give you “piece of mind,” as Obama’s administration tweeted in promotion of Obamacare in 2013. Would you feel confident in a governmental organization that misspells its own name? Didn't think so.
As each party gears up to fight for the Oval Office in 2016, Correctica wanted to find out who's better at crafting a clear message to voters: the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee. Using our new tool, which scans content looking for errors that even spell checkers and grammar checkers miss, we crawled a sub-set of pages from each committee’s website ( and and ran them against our database of grammar and spelling rules. These rules include such things as misused idioms, incorrect articles, and commonly confused words or homophones.
We came to some startling conclusions.
While the GOP holds the majority of Congress, they also make the majority of grammar and spelling errors, including misspelling their own name on every single page of their mobile site. The footer of each page we examined reads “Paid for by the Republican National Committe.” We get it. There are a lot of double letters in the word “committee.” While the Republican National Committee may just be taking a stand against the excessive use of letters in their name, their mobile website is not the place for such a demonstration.
For our study, we crawled just a sub-set of each sites' pages, but a quick search of Google confirmed our suspicions – the spelling error appears to be sitewide.

Whoops. That's a pretty big gaffe. And that's not all, the GOP made a number of other embarrassing errors. Such as…

“…to ensure that new fuel-efficient cars and trucks are build in the U.S. with American workers.”
This sentence mixes active and passive voice. Objects are built, and subjects build them. To keep this statement in passive voice, it should read, “…to ensure that new fuel-efficient cars and trucks are built in the U.S. with American workers.” Or to change it to active voice, it could read, “to ensure that American workers build the new fuel-efficient cars and trucks in the U.S.”  There are several options they could go with, and none of them are “trucks are build.”

“…I don’t know what polls your looking at…”

This should be “…I don't know what polls you're looking at…” where the word is used as a contraction of you and are – “…I don’t know what polls you are looking at…” The word “your” is a possessive adjective which always precedes an object. The word “looking” isn't an object in your possession, it’s an action that you're doing. In Chairman Priebus' defense, he probably was thinking “you're” when speaking about Republicans in the Senate, but the transcriber didn't do him any favors. 

“…ObamaCare Was Suppose To Lower Healthcare Costs…”

This should read, “…ObamaCare Was Supposed To Lower Healthcare Costs…” which means that an outcome was expected. We suppose that “suppose to” is commonly misused because when speaking the words it’s easy for the ear to miss the sound of the “d” followed by the “t”. But you’re supposed to always write “supposed to” when trying to convey an expected outcome.

As you can see, the GOP has some cleaning up to do on their website if they want to convey a clear message to voters before the big race. But, we would be remiss if we didn't give Democrats equal grammar challenge airtime as well. Though the Democratic National Committee managed to spell their name correctly, they still made a few noteworthy grammar gaffes.

“…he’s been proved so throughly wrong…”

Sorry, Dems, but this time you’re thoroughly wrong – “throughly" isn't a word, so Romney can’t rightly be proved "throughly" wrong. Can he be proved thoroughly wrong? We'll leave that question for you all to address.

“…the President honed in on the impact of his administration’s policies on women and families…”

To hone is to sharpen, to home is to aim toward a goal or target. You don't sharpen in on a goal, you home in on it, like a homing pigeon nearing his destination. In this case, “…the President homed in on the impact of his administration’s policies on women and families…” 

Thats why, when the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act…”
That’s confusing because “thats” is not a word.

And that's that, isn't it? Both the Dems and the GOP have some corrections to make to their messaging before they can home in on their goal of seating a presidential candidate in the Oval Office for the next four years.
And how about you? Think you can beat the elephants and donkeys in a grammar contest? Try out Correctica at to see how you contend. Our "Proof It Free" tool can check blog posts, term papers, resumes... anything.