Grammatical Gremlins

Over the years, I have heard time and time again, from employers who lament about what a great CV they had enjoyed reading until they saw spelling mistakes littered through the document. They have then cast it aside. Why, you may wonder? 

Simple. A CV with spelling mistakes shows a careless mind that is complacent with details and has a sloppy attitude to work. We all know that. 

“Ha! What an idiot for not checking their CV. That would never happen to me!”, I hear you say confidently. Well, I can tell you, it has happened to all of us at some point in our career. 

I have lost count, the number of people who confidently tell me they have spell-checked their CV and there are no mistakes whatsoever….. and I then immediately identify a grammatical gremlin when I start to review their resume. 

Why did this little blighter not come up in Spellcheck? How did my eyes not see this literacy rascal? Simple. The word is often so similar to the one we had intended to write and is itself spelt correctly….however it is in the wrong context. Something our computers don’t often recognise and our minds can easily misread as we speed-read.  

I am sharing a list of the more common of these grammatical gremlins so you do not fall into this trap again. 

Intended Word/Gremlin

  • Alter/Altar            Angle/Angel          Insight/Incite
  • Lose/Loose           Board/Bored         Manager/Manger
  • Capital/Capitol    Marital/Martial     Site/Cite
  • Past/Passed          Course/Coarse       Personal/Personnel
  • Career/Carer       Quite/Quiet           Prospective/Perspective
  • Role/Roll             Dear/Deer             Confident/Confidant
  • Sole/Soul             Diffuse/Defuse       Complement/Compliment
  • Dual/Duel           Tailor/Taylor         Summary/Summery
  • Fair/Fare             Then/Than            Flair/Flare
  • There/Their        For/Fro                  To/Too/Two
  • Forth/Fourth      Very/vary                From/Form
  • Further/Farther  Great/Grate            Whether/Weather
  • Your/You’re       Grown/Groan         Wonder/Wander
  • Finance/Fiancé  Hone/Home            Human/Humane

Two ways to minimise these grammatical gremlins are to (a) be vigilant and, (b) ask a friend, colleague, parent or peer to read through your CV with a fine-tooth comb.  A fresh pair of eyes can see things ours don’t. 

If you want to know how your CV reads. Get in touch. I’ll give your CV more than the usual 3 minute screen-through that most recruiters do. 

CVVictoria Fellowes