Spelling mistakes

Sooner or later everyone has trouble spelling a word. Certain words pose more trouble than others, for a variety of reasons. Some spellings are inherently tricky (e.g. sacrilegious) or counter-intuitive (e.g. pharaoh). Some errant forms are widely mimicked (e.g. accomodation – two cs, two ms and two early os please), while others mislead because they resemble more familiar words or word parts (momento for memento, miniscule for minuscule). Pairs of similar words are often mixed up (e.g. principal and principle).

If you have recurring difficulty spelling certain words, it can be useful to keep a list handy, or to learn mnemonics to help you remember the correct form. For example, if you’re unsure whether it’s hypocrisy or hypocracy, you could use a mantra like “hypocrisy is a pox” or “hypocrisy is a shock, Chrissy”. Is it ad nauseum or ad nauseam? You could say to yourself, “I am nauseated that I can’t remember.” Mnemonics don’t have to make any sense; indeed, sometimes the more absurd ones are easier to remember.

[Edit: Since spelling changes over time, it can be considered ‘correct’ only at a given time and in a given culture. As the Oxford English Dictionary puts it:

“The pronunciation is the actual living form or forms of a word, that is, the word itself, of which the current spelling is only a symbolization.”

Nonetheless, many readers are quite unforgiving of spelling mistakes, especially in formal or edited writing, so it is helpful to be able to spell well.] Here is a list of words commonly misspelled, with typical misspellings for each:

accelerate – accelarate, accellerate, acelerate
accommodation – accomodation, acommodation, accomadation
acquire – aquire
acquit – aquit
ad nauseam – ad nauseum
advise – advice
affect – effect (and vice versa – see this post)
aggressive – agressive
angle – angel
Arctic – Artic
broccoli – brocolli
calendar – calender
camouflage – camoflage
committee – commitee, comittee
complement – compliment
conceive – concieve
conscious – concious
consensus – concensus
coolly – cooly
defendant – defendent
definite – definate
definitely – definately, definetly, definatly
desiccate – dessicate
disappear – dissappear, disapear
disappoint – dissappoint, disapoint
discrete – discreet (and vice versa)
ecstasy – ecstacy
eighth – eigth
embarrass – embarass, embaress, embarress
environment – enviroment, envirment, envirement
exaggerate – exagerate
existence – existance
February – Febuary
fulfil – fullfil, fulfill
gauge – guage
guarantee – gaurantee, garrantee
government – goverment
grammar – grammer
grateful – greatful
haemorrhage – haemorage, haemhorage, haemorhage, haemorrage (with or without the first ‘a’)
handkerchief – hankerchief
harass – harrass
height – heighth, heigth
horrific – horriffic, horiffic
hypocrisy – hypocracy
inadvertent – inadvertant
independent – independant
irresistible – irresistable
its – it’s (and vice versa)
led – lead
liaise – liase
liaison – liason
library – libary
liquefy – liquify
lose – loose
Mediterranean – Mediteranean, Medateranean, Mediteranian, etc.
memento – momento
millennium – milennium, millenium
minuscule – miniscule
mischievous – mischievious, mischevious
misspell – mispell
necessary – necesary, nesessary, neccessary
occurring – occuring
occurrence – occurence
opossum – opposum
parallel – parralel, parallell, paralell
paraphernalia – paraphenalia, paraphrenalia
parliament – parlament
pharaoh – pharoah
pigeon – pidgeon
playwright – playwrite
possess – posess, posses
possession – posession, possesion
precede – preceed
principal – principle (and vice versa)
privilege – priviledge, privelege, privelige
pronunciation – pronounciation
putrefy – putrify
putrefaction – putrifaction
questionnaire – questionaire, questionairre
receipt – reciept
receive – recieve
reconnaissance – reconnasance, reconaissance, reconnaisance
refrigerator – refridgerator
restaurant – restaraunt, restarant, restraunt
resuscitate – ressusitate, resusitate
rhythm – rythm, rhythym, rythym
sacrilegious – sacreligious
separate – seperate
silhouette – silouette
stationary – stationery (and vice versa)
success – sucess
supersede – supercede
their – there, they’re (each is confused with the others)
tragedy – tradgedy
vicious – viscious
weird – wierd
wholly – wholy
your – you’re (and vice versa)

If you already spell each of these correctly, or would do given the chance, you’re doing well.

2 Responses to Spelling mistakes

  1. […] following is just a snippit of the post, the complete post can be read under the title ‘Spelling Mistakes’. Sooner or later everyone has trouble spelling a word. Certain words pose more trouble than others, […]

  2. […] it out). The wayward spelling ad nausea also appears, sometimes as a joke. I mentioned ad nauseam before, along with a mnemonic to commit the correct form to memory, but the prevalence of ad nauseum […]

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