How can I monitor for commonly misused words?

Modified on: Fri, 17 Sep, 2021 at 3:19 PM

What are "commonly misused words"?

It happens to the best of us, we mean to type one thing, but accidentally type another. But the Siteimprove spell checker should catch this type of thing, right?
We do a great job of catching blatantly misspelled words (e.g. blatently) in Quality Assurance, but there are a handful of words that are commonly misused, or become another word entirely if you misplace a letter or two. Let's use the word "public" as an example: all it takes is a missing "l" to change a Public Defender into a...well, I'm sure you get the point.

Here's a list of similar words to keep an eye out for:

List of Commonly Misused Words

  • Does vs. Dose
  • Massage vs. Message
  • Quiet vs. Quite
  • Collage vs. College
  • Capital vs. Capitol
  • Principal vs. Principle
  • Complement vs. Compliment
  • Decent vs. Descent
  • Suck vs. Such
  • Advice vs. Advise

How do I keep tabs on commonly misused words?

All of the examples used above are spelled correctly and won't be flagged in misspellings. So how are you supposed to find and review them? That's where policy comes in!

Create a Content Match Policy

This is essentially the same process outlined in our How do I find unwanted words on my site? article, so I recommend following the steps there if you're not familiar. You will just want to add one match for each of the words above so they can be flagged for review.

Example of a content match policy flagging terms from our commonly misused words list.

Review Your Results

Once you've created your policy, it's time to review the results. Your goal should be to review all initial results for accuracy, fixing those that need fixing, and approving (or ignoring) those that don't.

Monitor for New Matches

Reviewing your list of initial results should, ideally, result in zero policy matches for your new "Commonly Misused Words" policy. This assumes you have either fixed every inaccuracy or approved every false positive. Using this approach, you will know it's time for additional review whenever the number of policy matches is greater than zero. Keeping an eye on this is much more easily accomplished through a custom dashboard.