Accidentally Omitting A Syllable Is No Excuse

If you do something by mistake, it has happened accidentally. Not accidently. In Australia, we can partly blame the regular appearance of this error on 1990s pop combo Frente!

The band's 1993 single 'Accidently Kelly Street' reached #4 on the Australian charts, and sported a cover with the incorrect spelling prominently displayed. Reputedly this was a mistake by the graphic designers. but the band decided the error was charming and quirky enough to leave in place. The song has aged somewhat better than the decision to be wilfully illiterate.

It's true that when spoken, accidentally is often pronounced with the fourth syllable essentially omitted. That does not change the spelling when you write it down. Accuracy matters, and it's no accident.

Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


    I'm usually a stickler for good spelling but i have a few Achilles heals 'accidently' is one of them.

      Achilles *heales

      that's embarrassing.

        oops, typical that id screw that up, but it was a long day.

    Oregon in the US is often pronounced "Org-n" or just "Orn" on their news. You kinda think you'd get your own state name pronounced consistently and correctly, but I'm assuming 3 is too damn many syllables.

    Another example of a pronunciation only an illiterate would use...!

    I thought I was watching this video for a second there - - Accidentally was released...

      My first thought exactly. I'd never seen the original and thought the Late Show spoof was a massive exaggeration - it wasn't!

      On the DVD commentary, Mick Molloy said he met the woman who was dating the guy he played (green jacket). He said "oh, I'm sorry" and she said "no, that's alright, I dumped him shortly after!"

    As mentioned: in speech, completely acceptable (and, in fact, conducive to communication): the unstressed vowel reduces to a schwa, which shortens and eventually deletes.

    In writing: no, just... no.

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