Did you know that there is no such thing as a bicep? It's actually a biceps... fancy?
I wonder how many other mistakes we unknowingly make in our writing. If, like me, you make your heroine wait with baited breath instead of bated breath, you might like to take a look at this really useful website that I read about in Keir Thomas' Technophobia article in Writers' Forum - called The Guardian and Observer Style guide. This has been produced for their production staff but there are some useful tips in it for all writers. It covers grammar, commonly misspelt words, punctuation and a lot of other writerly things.
The guide is alphabetically ordered and, rather than looking through all of its very extensive list, I decided to take a look at the letter 'b' and see what gems I could find.
Two of them, I have already mentioned. Here are some others:
Blackpool Pleasure Beach - is a pleasure park not a beach.
blond - is an adjective and male noun; blonde is a female noun e.g. the woman is a blonde, because she has blond hair.
bands - these take the plural verb e.g. Iron Maiden are a great band.
barracks - the army has barracks, the RAF has airfields.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home - there are no apostrophes.
berserk - I went berserk not beserk when I found I had sold two stories this week (yes really!)
bourgeois - can anyone spell it without looking?
brackets - If the sentence is logically and grammatically complete without the information contained within the parentheses (round brackets), the punctuation stays outside the brackets. (A complete sentence that stands alone in parentheses starts with a capital letter and ends with a stop.)
Of course, I'm sure a lot of you will know all these already but I bet there are plenty of other things in their lists that that you don't know.
So there you have it... a little snippet of what you might discover if you follow this link. If you take a look, it would be great if you could leave a comment if you find that you didn't already know.