Special Report

50 Commonly Misspelled Words in English

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We all make spelling mistakes from time to time — in fact, “misspelled” is itself often misspelled as “mispelled.” It’s easy to get many words wrong, particularly homophones. These are words that sound the same but have different spellings. For example, “there,” “their,” and “they’re” are all pronounced the same way but have different meanings and are often confused.

Then there are words that are spelled differently in different places. For example, people in England wear colourful socks, whereas Americans might prefer colorful. In fact, the “u” has been dropped from many American English words, so that we savor favors and flavors.  

Americans sometimes even misspell the names of states, especially some with a complicated history behind the name. You probably wouldn’t get New York wrong, but how about Connecticut or Massachusetts?

In the internet age, online dictionaries are just a click away and even if you’re pretty sure you know how to spell a word, you can double check in no time. Does accommodation have one “c” or two? One “m” or two? Does millennium have one “n” or two? And if you’re using a smartphone, autocorrect will do the job for you (although it doesn’t always correct to the right word).

And then there are words that are so rarely used they’d send anybody but a spelling bee champion to a dictionary. For example, one of the most common “how to spell” searches in several states is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, according to Google.

To compile a list of 50 of the most commonly misspelled words in English, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed numerous online articles and resources, including dictionaries and Google Trends 2018 list of the top searches related to “how to spell.”

Click here to read about 50 commonly misspelled words in English.

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Accommodate

Accommodate is often misspelled with one “c” and/or one “m.” We won’t accommodate either.

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Apparently

Apparently apparently is sometimes misspelled as apparantly.

Source: Chiltepinster / Wikimedia Commons

Argument

This is often misspelled as arguement, but let’s not argue over that.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/spelling/common-misspellings

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Aural/Oral

These homonyms have related meanings: aural refers to the ear or hearing and oral to the mouth or speaking.

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Assassination

People sometimes take a shot at spelling assassination with only three “s’s” instead of four.

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Basically

People sometimes make a basic mistake with this one, and spell it basicly.

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Beautiful

According to Google, this is the most common “how to spell” search in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

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Beginning

According to Google, this is the most common “how to spell” search in South Carolina.

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Bellwether

This word, meaning an indicator or predictor, has nothing to do with the weather, but is often misspelled with an “a.”

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Bizarre

Bizarre means strikingly unconventional. It’s not just unconventional to spell it bizzare — it’s plain wrong.

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Calendar

Calendar has two “a’s” and one “e,” not one “a” and two “e’s”

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Canceled

People in Maryland and Oklahoma aren’t sure how to spell canceled, according to Google Trends. And while one “l” is the preferred spelling in America, thanks to Noah Webster, two are still acceptable and more common in Britain.

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Caribbean

Caribbean has one “r” and two “b’s” — make sure you get it right when you’re booking your vacation.

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Chaos

According to Google Trends, this is the most common “how to spell” search in South Dakota. Sounds a bit ominous.

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Connecticut

This state is misspelled so often, a character in the Woody Allen movie “Small Time Crooks” said, “I’ve always wanted to learn how to spell Connecticut.”

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Consequences

This is the most common “how to spell” search in Kansas, according to Google Trends. What would Dorothy make of that?

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Cousin

It’s family first in Alabama. According to Google Trends, cousin is the most common “how to spell” search in the state. The confusion apparently stems from the silent “o.”

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Desert/Dessert

People often confuse desert, the sandy place, and dessert, the sweet treat. The difference is only an “s,” but with desert, the first syllable is stressed, and with dessert, the second.

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Dilemma

This word creates a dilemma for some people, who spell it with an “n” instead of two “m’s”

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Disappoint

You’ll disappoint your English teacher if you spell this with two “s’s” and one “p.”

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Dying

This one is a bit morbid. According to Google, dying is the most common “how to spell” search in Rhode Island (which is among the states with the highest premature death rate).

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Embarrass

To spare you embarrassment, this word has two “r’s” and two “s’s.”

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Ecstasy

You don’t have to agonize over ecstasy — there’s one “c” and two “s’s,” not the other way round, and certainly no “x.”

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Fahrenheit

There’s no need to get hot and bothered over this — there are two “h’s” in Fahrenheit.

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Fiance

A fiancé is a man who is engaged to be married, a fiancée is a woman who is engaged to be married. And both have an accent, reflecting their French origin.

Source: Dmitry G / Wikimedia Commons

Fluorescent

Bright people know there’s a “u” in fluorescent.

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Forty

It’s a simple word, but it’s easy enough to see why people might get this one wrong — four has a “u” but forty doesn’t.

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Hors d’oeuvre

According to Google Trends, this word of French origin meaning appetizer is the most common “how to spell” search in Florida.

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Harass

Don’t let this word bother you — harass has one “r” and two “s’s.”

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Massachusetts

Even residents aren’t always sure how to spell Massachusetts correctly. In 2016 it was the most common “how to spell” search in the state itself, according to Google.

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Millennium

People often leave out an “l” and/or an “n” from this word. Let’s hope Millennials get it right.

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Mississippi

With two “p’s,” three “i’s” and four “s’s,” it’s easy to see why Mississippi might often be misspelled.

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Misspelled

Ironically, misspelled is often misspelled as mispelled.

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Neanderthal

So easy a caveman could spell it? Maybe not. People often leave out the “h.”

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Nocturnal

This word looks simple enough that it shouldn’t keep you up at night. According to Google, however, nocturnal the most common “how to spell” search in Nebraska.

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Noticeable

People don’t always notice that there should be an “e” in the middle of this word.

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Occasion

Whatever the occasion, people aren’t sure if there’s one “c” or two, and one “s” or two.

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Occurred

It’s a common occurrence for people to omit a “c” and/or an “r” from this word.

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Permanent

According to Google, this is the most common “how to spell” search in Washington, D.C. Perhaps that’s because there aren’t term limits for members of the Senate or the House of Representatives.

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Resume

This is the most common “how to spell” search in New York, New Jersey, and Colorado, according to Google. Google did not include an accent, so did Google/searchers mean the verb to begin again (resume) or curriculum vitae (resumé)? And an accent on one “e,” both “e’s,” or neither is acceptable.

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Sincerely

Sincerely, this is the most common “how to spell” search in Connecticut, according to Google.

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Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

It’s easy to see why people might be unsure how to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It was the most common “how to spell” search in six states. However, it does beg the question: How often do they need to use it?

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Tattoo

This word is often misspelled with just two “t’s.” What’s more, tattoos featuring spelling mistakes are a popular meme.

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Tendency

You should resist the tendency to spell this with an “a.”

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Threshold

There’s only one “h” in the middle of threshold.

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Tomorrow

Don’t put this off till another day — tomorrow has one “m” and two “r’s.”

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Truly

Believe me — true has an “e” but truly doesn’t.

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Vacuum

People misspell this word with two “c’s” and one “u,” and sometimes with an “e” for good measure.

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Veteran

According to Google, this is the most common “how to spell” search in Alaska.

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Weird

It may seem weird, but people often spell this with the “i” before the “e.”

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Yacht

According to Google, this is the most common “how to spell” search in North Dakota — curious, since it’s a completely landlocked state.

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