I can't help it. As a onetime English major and teacher of the same and as a writer, teacher, and sometime editor, I can't not notice errors in writing. And they're everywhere.
Sometimes they're just typos--any errors you notice in this piece are typos, by the way--but usually they're the result of the writer's having heard a particular usage rather than having read it.
I'm talking about homophones-- words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings.
A few days ago I read a piece in which someone said he called a contractor he was having a problem with and "raised cane." I immediately thought of someone hoeing sorghum or sugar cane, though I knew what the angry person meant to say was "raised Cain"--an expression that means caused a ruckus and implies that one is resurrecting the spirit of the biblical Cain--the first murderer.
The person who wrote he'd raised cane probably wouldn't be fazed by a nit-picky old lady. And he'd probably spell fazed wrong--phased or phazed are two popular variations.
Then there's the expression to give free reign. Sounds plausible, as if one were giving the right to reign over something. Except that the correct phrase is to give free rein -- as in holding the reins loosely so that a horse can go at its own pace.
And speaking of horses, what happened to Whoa--the traditional command to stop a horse? It's also used for people, as in "Hold your horses" and as an expression of amazement, as in "Whoa, I didn't see that coming!" But more and more people are writing Woah, which, to me, should rhyme with Noah (like Cain, another biblical character.)
Oh well, horses and biblical knowledge and correct usage are so yesterday.
Kinda like me.