You give the report one more look, click the spellcheck button – no errors – and you hit “Submit.”
The next day the reviewer tells you that you had a number of misspelled or misused words, so your rating is lower than you would have expected. What?!
Did you know our brains have the ability to read a word the way we think it should be read based on the context of the words around it?
Listed below are some of the types of errors we see in mystery shopping reports. Each of them is only off by one letter, but their meanings are quite different!
Fright vs. Freight
fright – a sudden intense feeling of fear; an experience that causes someone to feel fear suddenly
freight – goods transported (or to transport goods) in bulk by truck, train, ship or aircraft
Incorrect Usage: Horror movies give me a freight!
Correct Usage: Horror movies give me a fright!
Incorrect Usage: That ship carries fright rather than passengers.
Correct Usage: That ship carries freight rather than passengers.
Bought vs. Brought
bought – obtain in exchange for payment; to purchase
brought – to come to a place with (someone or something); to cause (someone or something) to come to a place
Incorrect Usage: I brought a new phone with my last paycheck.
Correct Usage: I bought a new phone with my last paycheck.
Incorrect Usage: I bought my friend Jackie to the party.
Correct Usage: I brought my friend Jackie to the party.
Versus vs. Verses
versus – against; as opposed to; in contrast to
verses – plural form of verse; writing arranged with a rhythm; a group of lines that form a unit of a poem or song, a stanza
Incorrect Usage: In a hypothetical fight of a gorilla verses a shark, I’d put money on the gorilla.
Correct Usage: In a hypothetical fight of a gorilla versus a shark, I’d put money on the gorilla.
Incorrect Usage: The poem’s versus didn’t contain a rhyming scheme.
Correct Usage: The poem’s verses didn’t contain a rhyming scheme.
Adapt vs. Adopt
adapt – to make something suitable for a new use or purpose; to modify; to adjust to new conditions; to alter
adopt – to legally take a child (or pet) and raise it as one’s own; to take up an idea or method; to take on or assume
Incorrect Usage: The institution must change and therefore adopt to new conditions.
Correct Usage: The institution must change and therefore adapt to new conditions.
Incorrect Usage: “Adapt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Correct Usage: “Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spell check would think these words are just fine! But the mystery shopping company and the client would not. Simple errors like these work against all the hard work you do to observe and write up your reports.
Take that extra moment to actually read your comments out loud to catch any of these errors. We will appreciate it, and so will you when you get a better mystery shopper rating!
What are some other words you see frequently confused?