Twenty Words People Rarely Spell Correctly

Twenty Words People Rarely Spell Correctly

There are plenty of words which people spell incorrectly because they haven’t heard them correctly: so many in fact that we have not just one but two separate lists of them already on Lifehacker. But some words are difficult to spell even when you know how to pronounce and use them.

Picture by greeblie

Words don't need to be lengthy for people to get them wrong, as the seeming inability for anyone to use apostrophes correctly demonstrates. But longer words with complex vowel combinations are a particular trap, as are exceptions to general spelling patterns (a feature English excels in). Based on my own experience and some asking around, these twenty words are common traps for young players.

  1. broccoli
  2. bureaucracy
  3. daiquiri
  4. desiccated
  5. drunkenness
  6. entrepreneur
  7. fuchsia
  8. guarantee
  9. inoculate
  10. jewellery
  11. liaison
  12. manoeuvre
  13. mischievous
  14. misspell Note: Both misspelt and misspelled are acceptable, but you can't skimp on the double S.
  15. nauseous
  16. occurrence
  17. sergeant
  18. supersede
  19. threshold
  20. whisky

Technology is helpful here; a spell checker won't necessarily spot when you use 'boar' instead of 'bore', but it will pick up 'bureacracy' as an error. However, over-reliance on spell checking isn't ideal. Knowing you've made a mistake is key to learning not to make it again, and selecting the correct version in a spell check won't imprint the correct version in your mind.

Got additional suggestions for this list? Let's hear them in the comments.


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