SummitPost Resource Central

SummitPost Resource Central

Page Type Page Type: Article


CONTINUALLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION, HOWEVER: This page is designed to address common writing mistakes seen on SP regarding posts in the forum or in contribution of various page objects.

This page also serves as a "link hub" to many of SP's excellent "how to" resources. Please add any suggestions in the COMMENTS section and we’ll incorporate them into the page content periodically (and erase the comment suggestion once that is done). Be sure to bookmark this page, or add it to your favorite links list for future reference! Thanks! --AJ

ATTENTION: Help for Non-English Contributors!

WRITERS OUTSIDE THE U.S: The following SP members can help you translate your text to English, if their schedule allows. Please PM or email them for assistance.

Moni German

Gabriele (Italian)

Misha (Russian)

Nartreb (French & Spanish)

Lower Marmot (Spanish)

Charles (German)

Leviathan (Dutch)


This section addresses common writing mistakes seen on SP’s pages and in the forums.

It's a good idea to check your work with your spellcheck and grammar checking software before submitting your text. Most folks forget that this feature is in their computer! It's a great tool and makes proofreading and correction much easier.

However, computers often miss a number of incongruities as well! That's where this resource page might be of help.

Thanks for stopping by and looking over this page.

The following words are often used incorrectly on SP in forum and page text.

Their (Used to infer possession)
EXAMPLES: “It is their car.” “It is theirs, not mine.”

They’re (Contraction of “they are”)
EXAMPLES: “They’re going to climb El Capitan.” “It won’t work if they’re not taking a rope.”

There (Used to indicate “place”)
EXAMPLES: “Mount Morrison is over there.” “There is another possibility.”

Then (Time or choice reference)
EXAMPLES: “If you don’t use a figure eight knot, then perhaps use a bowline.” “It was great back then.”

Than (Used in differentiation)
EXAMPLES: “Rather than climb this route, hike up this trail.” “The former is better than the latter.”

Whose (Possession)
EXAMPLES: “It was a someone whose credibility was in question.” “Whose cams are these?”

Who’s (Contraction of “who is”)
EXAMPLES: “Who’s going to carry the rope?” “Who’s he?”

Your (Possesion)
EXAMPLE: “It is your responsibility to coil the rope.”

Yours (Implying possession to someone)
EXAMPLE : “The responsibility is yours.”

You're (Contraction of “you are”)
EXAMPLE : “You’re going to coil the rope.”

It's (Contraction of “it is”)
EXAMPLE : “It’s your responsibility to coil the rope.”

Who is = who’s “Who’s going to carry the rope?”
Where is = where’s “Where’s that number 5?”
There is = there’s “There’s a chock pick in the rack.”
Why is = why’s “Why’s the chalk not with the rack?”
What is = what’s “What’s this nut doing in here?”
When is = when’s “When’s the climb going to happen?”
Tuesday is = Tuesday’s “Tuesday’s the day of the climb.”
She is = she’s “She’s going to fall.”
He is = he’s “He’s going to fall.”
John is = John’s “John’s going to lead this climb.”
We are = we’re “We’re going to the Johnson’s house for lunch.”
We will = we’ll “We’ll be going to the diner afterwards.”
You all = y’all “You know y’all are invited.”
You will = you’ll “You’ll be glad you did.”
You are = you’re “You’re going to be glad you did.”
It is = it’s “It’s going to be cold up there.”

Apostrophes are the most commonly misused punctuation on SP. Words with apostrophes are simply words that have been contracted (shortened) from two words into one, usually involving the word “is” and other short words. This is the only time apostrophes should be used in a word. If an apostrophe is used at the end of a name, it indicates a possession. The apostrophe is used in a name ending in “s” at the END of the name, otherwise it is inserted prior to an “s.”

“It is Simmons’ rope.”
“We are going to the Johnson’s house for lunch.”
“Rope coiling is a climber’s responsibility.”
“That is someone else’s responsibility.”

“It’s Randy’s backpack.”
Cindy’s bringing her camera.”
“We are going to Jack Simmons’ house.”
“John Schusters’ pack was found on the mountain.”

A plural word indicates multiples and DOES NOT NEED AN APOSTROPHE.

FAs: Abbreviation for “First Ascent” is multiplied to “First Ascents”. Using a small “s” is fine, no apostrophe needed.
The following are multiples, so no apostrophe is needed.
Tuesdays: “Seminars are on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Member/members: “The members are in agreement.”
Johnson/Johnsons: “The Johnsons are coming over.” “Ten Whilloughbys were at the reunion.” "All of the Liermans were there."

deers = deer
fishes = fish
sheeps = sheep
gooses = geese
mooses = moose
mouses = mice

"A" and "AN"
The words "a" and "an" are often used incorrectly. "An" usually precedes a word beginning with a VOWEL (A, E, I, O or U). This can get tricky, because some letters are consonants, but are SPOKEN as a vowel! Below are some tricky and admittedly confusing examples.

INCORRECT: "That is a excellent idea."
CORRECT: "That is an excellent idea."
AN precedes "excellent" because of the vowel at the begnning of the word.

Examples using the other vowels:

INCORRECT: "That is a Aaron Johnson page."
CORRECT: "That is an Aaron Johnson page."

INCORRECT: "You are a idiot."
CORRECT: "You are an idiot."

INCORRECT: "That is a opinion I disagree with."
CORRECT: "That is an opinion I disagree with."

INCORRECT: "That is a underhand knot."
CORRECT: "That is an underhand knot."


INCORRECT: "He is a SP member."
CORRECT: "He is an SP member."
AN is used because even though "SP" is two consonants, "s" is SPOKEN as a vowel ("es"). Yes, it's a mind blower, but such is the weirdness of the English language.

Here are other examples:

INCORRECT: "Insert a "F" for female here."
CORRECT: "Insert an "F" for female here."

INCORRECT: "Notation on the map is a "H"."
CORRECT: "Notation on the map is an "H"."

INCORRECT: "His name begins with a R, not a W."
CORRECT: "His name begins with an R, not a W."

It can get very confusing with situations that can go either way. In the following case, either way is correct since for many, the "H" in "historical" would be SILENT when SPOKEN.

"He was speaking in a historical sense."
"He was speaking in an historical sense."

When in doubt, go by the rule as a default.

"To" and "Too"
Another common mistake is the misuse of the words "To" and "Too."

The word "to" implies direction.
EXAMPLES: "He's going to the diner." "He's going to climb the mountain."

The word "too" implies the same meaning as "also." It is also used to add emphasis.
EXAMPLES: "He's eating at the diner too." (Also) "He's too tired to eat at the diner." (Emphasis)


LOSE is used to infer that something is lost.
EXAMPLES: "Did you lose your cam?" "Lose that bad attitude, would you?"
LOOSE is used to infer slackness.
EXAMPLES: "Her harness was loose." "The rope easily pulled loose after the rappel."


"Bushwhack" is often incorrectly spelled without the second "h."

"Couloir" is frequently misspelled a variety of ways; one of the most common errors is "coulior."

"Lightning" is what chases us off mountains. "Lightening," as in "lightening our load," occurs when we take items out of a pack to make it weigh less.

An interesting bit of spelling trivia: I've read where "judgment" is the most commonly misspelled word in the English language. That may be true, but only in the U.S. and Canada. British English renders it as "judgement."

Another word often seen gone astray on SP pages is "separate;" it is frequently seen as "seperate."


Any other punctuation instruction suggestions are certainly welcome and appreciated! Add them to the comments section and they will be added to the text routinely. Thanks--AJ


Recommendations for Adding and Maintaining Material on SummitPost
In-depth how-to guide on the basics of being a contributing member on SummitPost. Discusses adding photos, mountain pages and routes.

SP Frequently Asked Questions
SP's FAQ page is extensive and covers everything you need to know about being an actively contributing SP member.

Some Basic HTML Tips
This portion of SP's FAQ page was written and composed by SP staff member Gangolf Haub and is a great key resource to getting started learning computer language for contribution purposes on SP.

Pictures in Tables on Pages
Want to make your page more attractive? Want to add some spice to your contribution's appearance? Here's an excellent instructional resource on how to do that very thing! By one of SP's top contributors, thephotohiker.

Setting Tables and Columns
More page composition tips from SP's thephotohiker to get your page looking the best you want it to look. Great resource for lists and other data or chart presentations.

The Fast and Easy Way to Make Tables at SummitPost
Step by step, straightforward instruction on this topic by SP member myzantrope.

Mountain Glossary Terms
Excellent resource by SP member nartreb that will be helpful to anyone writing text to be contributed to SP.

Dictionary of Mountain Terms
You're writing a route description and need to know what a sharp ridge route might be called. Or, what does "dihedral" mean? This is a great resource for terms and correct spellings in multiple languages, composed by a large host of SP members.

Rendering Special Characters in SP Pages
Excellent instruction on applying various language nuances to your page or post text. Includes Albanian, Croatian, Czech, German, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Scandanavian, Slovak and Slovene text characters. By SP member peterbud.

SP automatically links your page to Topozone for a map reference for the locale your contribution covers. You can also use Topozone to determine the coordinates of your object (a requested field on most SP objects) if you don't previously know them.

Webmonkey HTML Tutorial Site
Excellent HTML teaching resource SP has referred to from the beginning. All you need to know to get your HTML skills up and running is right here.


Waiting for the Light
By SP member photohiker on the importance of light in photography.

7 Ways to Post Panoramas to SP
Staff member Gangolf Haub provides excellent instruction on this popular topic, from the basics to the advanced.

Using Polarization Filters
Gangolf Haub provides tips on the uses of filters to get your desired photographic results.

Cropping-The Kindest Cut
SP is blessed with excellent photographers. Mark Doiron is one of them. Get instruction from one of SP's best in this resource on cropping and thus improving your pictures.

Using Graduated Filters
SP's Mark Doiron discusses tips using graduated filters and improving your photographic results.

Panorama Construction
How to shoot and construct panoramas by SP member Lucas Kunze.

High Dynamic Range Imaging
Article by SP member Vid Pogachnik on a still photo technique utilizing multiple images to bring out the details spanning a wide range tonal detail.


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-19 of 19
Vid Pogachnik

Vid Pogachnik - Nov 9, 2007 12:51 pm - Voted 10/10

Wrong link

Thanks for including my page on the list - High Dynamic Range Imaging. However the link is wrong.

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson - Nov 9, 2007 1:22 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Wrong link

Oops! Got it, Vid. Thanks!

Augie Medina

Augie Medina - Nov 9, 2007 1:34 pm - Voted 10/10

Grammar & Spelling-Sad Commentary

First, let me say that this page is excellent; a great idea and I'm sure it will be very useful. However, it is a sad commentary on the state of knowledge of English grammar and spelling that you had to include an extensive list of very basic rules of English usage that are routinely violated on SP pages and forums. Granted the English language has weird rules and all of that, but I am glad to see that this site hasn't abandoned all hope of encouraging members to learn correct usage. I often read the pages of members whose primary language is not English and am generally impressed with their command of what is to them a foreign language. We have no excuse for being outdone in written use of our own language.

Augie Medina

Ed F

Ed F - Nov 9, 2007 2:20 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Grammar & Spelling-Sad Commentary


Also, Aaron - It's 'apostrophe' not 'apostrophy.'

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson - Nov 9, 2007 3:50 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Grammar & Spelling-Sad Commentary

Thank you sir! This page is for those that truly want to do a better job contributing to SP. There will always be those that don't give a hoot, and that's fine. But hopefully our efforts will result in some at least marginal improvement in SP's content quality. We don't expect perfection, because as you say, the English language is indeed weird, but the extra effort is appreciated. Thanks for stopping by and offering your support.

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson - Nov 9, 2007 3:50 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Grammar & Spelling-Sad Commentary

Hmm-I thought I'd corrected them all...looking again. GOT IT! Thanks Ed.

Ed F

Ed F - Nov 9, 2007 4:10 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Grammar & Spelling-Sad Commentary

No prob. I only noticed one of them, so you must have found it. Incidentally, thanks for putting this together. It's amazing to me that in the age of spell check and grammar check that people err so often expressing themselves on the internet.

Bob Bolton

Bob Bolton - Nov 9, 2007 8:23 pm - Voted 10/10

Awl thoze grammer n speling airers driv mee nutz two!

Nise jawbb awn thiss gize! Mae bee i kin fineley lurn hough too rite form you're efarts. yore thuh gr8ist--thanx!

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson - Nov 9, 2007 10:36 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Awl thoze grammer n speling airers driv mee nutz two!

Why, thankee dare Bobby!

Wandering Sole Images

Wandering Sole Images - Nov 10, 2007 3:05 am - Hasn't voted

Great idea for a page.

I hope that those who most need to read this do just that! These things just seem so common sense that it's funny people have to be told. One thing I have a problem with is when people don't even use capital letters in the name of their beloved mountain - some times even in the titles of their pages! Or there's always that new trend... spelling "lose" as "loose." I can't figure that one for the life of me. I never saw that until a few years ago and now a lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon. I hope that people who don't take the time to proofread their own pages have a look at this. Nice work!


PS - I also think SP should start reviewing any pages that have fallen below some threshold - maybe 20%? Some have been sitting there for years from the looks of it.

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson - Nov 10, 2007 10:16 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Great idea for a page.

Hi Les. These things should be common sense to most English speaking folks, but that's not the case, and there are many reasons. Background, how they were raised, education, environment, multilingual influences and many other factors can have an influence. I've found most folks write well enough to be understood and that's it. Then of course you have the rebels, who won't learn it for many selfish reasons, or actually know how to write well but refuse to do so for whatever reasons. We certainly have all types here at SP.

Some folks will rebel and ignore this page and continue to be bad writers. There's nothing we can do about it. Others will embrace this page, and those are the ones we hope to assist, and those are the ones that will help make SP better.

I'll include the "lose" and "loose" thing.

Proofreading is easier now with grammar and spellcheck functions on our computers, yet folks fail to look after themselves when submitting stuff. Hopefully for those that want to do better, this resource will help them.

SP automatically detaches pages and makes them invisible when they fall below a certain percentage, although that percentage is reall, really low. When SP was smaller, a culling of neglected pages by the staff was not an unreasonable exercise, but today, it would be a considerable time consuming chore. One possibility would be to raise the threshhold, but I would be against that, as each page needs to be handled on a case by case basis. Each page will have exceptions, circumstances and contributions from other members to be considered. So currently, when a page is in bad shape, the staff will transfer it to someone willing to make it better, or eventually it's deleted once we can figure out what to do with the content, namely photos. Otherwise, the page either remains invisible or ignored. It's the nature of the beast!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment and offer your support.

Mark Doiron

Mark Doiron - Nov 10, 2007 5:45 pm - Voted 10/10

Thanks ...

This is a great resource. And thanks for the nice compliment above, Aaron! But "your" is mispelled ("yor"). A typo, I'm sure. :-) --mark d.


donhaller3 - Nov 13, 2007 9:19 pm - Hasn't voted


I hope it doesn't intimidate anybody.

It is difficult to tell whether pedantry begins with the serve or the volley, but the list of irregular verbs has some archaisms of commission and omission.

"Durst?" "Abode" as past tense? "Shore" but no "shorn?"

I cannot remember anyone saying "chid" in written or spoken English, but I have heard "chided" lots of times. "Pled" seems to be rapidly edging out "pleaded" even among lawyers.

I think some of the above examples are more likely to add confusion than to add clarity.

However, I will try to be less sloppy, and less telegraphic, but sometimes I will be tired or short of time, or both.

What I really need is a failsafe way to deal with parentheses or quotes, or both, at the end of a clause or sentence. Never looks right. (Fragment acceptable in colloquial English.)

So is this the beginning of "The SP Style Book?"

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson - Nov 14, 2007 6:07 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Interesting

Hi Don. This page is going to be what each member wants it to be. We do not expect perfection, nor will we be checking on everyone's style and correctness. This page is hopefully a tool to help folks become better writers on SP. For those that choose to ignore it, well, there's nothing we can do about that, and it's up to them to decide what they'll use the page for, if at all. In the end, it's up to you, the contributor.

I know what you mean about parentheses and quotes. I'm wrestling with that issue all the time. I'm trying to get away from the parentheses whenever I can. I usually default to putting quotes at the end of a line, or after a comma, because that's the way I've seen it done the most in books.

Bottom line is you enjoy your time on SP, and if that means referring to this page now and then for whatever reason, that's great. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Have fun with SP!


tanya - Jan 3, 2008 3:59 pm - Voted 10/10

Awesome Page!!!

I had to bookmark this one! :)

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson - Jan 3, 2008 7:02 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Awesome Page!!!

Thanks. Glad you liked it! Thanks for stopping by.

Cascade Scrambler

Cascade Scrambler - Feb 23, 2009 12:09 am - Voted 10/10


Thank you for putting together a resource that addresses my biggest pet peeves- spelling, grammar, and punctuation!

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson - Feb 23, 2009 6:10 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Thanks!

You're welcome sir! Thanks for stopping by this rarely visited spot on SP. Glad it helped you out!


yatsek - Jul 1, 2009 7:15 pm - Voted 10/10


1 I've attached a child page on some grammatical problems (aimed at non-US/UK SP'ers).
2 I'd add "chamoises" to the incorrect plurals.
3 And "accomodation" to the commonly misspelled words.

Jacek aka Yatsek

Viewing: 1-19 of 19



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.