I often see self-published authors use the word “peak” when they should be using “pique.” This mistake is just one example of why I strongly recommend hiring a copyeditor if you go the indie route. (I also recommend hiring a creative/developmental editor. See my post about the difference between the two if you’re uncertain.)
Here are some other words and phrases I’ve seen writers get mixed up:
What they say: This is unchartered territory for both of us.
What they should say: This is uncharted territory for both of us.
What they say: I could care less about what she does.
What they should say: I couldn’t care less about what she does.
What they say: He wished he could of been there to see it with his own eyes.
What they should say: He wished he could have been there to see it with his own eyes.
What they say: She wants to affect change in her community.
What they should say: She wants to effect change in her community.
While the above mistakes are minor, their cumulative effect on the quality of your work is not, so hiring a copyeditor to catch them is important. (If you can’t afford a copyeditor, beg a friend, preferably one who majored in English, to do it in exchange for a nice dinner.) That way, you can focus on the intended meaning behind your words and leave the nitpicking to someone else.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2013 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.