Most writing errors are a mixture of misspellings and grammatical errors, although these days there is an increasingly thin line between what is right and what is acceptable as proper usage, what is literate and what's colorful. Over my past 31 years of writing and editing news articles, legal summaries, congressional comments and academic studies, I have compiled a list of 50 common errors in the writing business. Don't use old adage unless you are prepared to sound like some illiterate radio commentators, who at least have the excuse of speaking, thus avoiding the jarring effect of a misused phrase in print. 2. The dictionary may list alright as a legitimate word, but it is not acceptable in standard usage, says Random House and most style books. 5.