VOCABULARY - Most Misspelled Words in English

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VOCABULARY - Most Misspelled Words in English

Post  Vincent Law on Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:54 am

English is influenced by every major language on Earth, including some that aren’t even used anymore, so spelling is bound to cause frustration. Our headstrong language does have rules, but not all words abide by them. The old “I before E, except after C”, for instance, was discarded when the exceptions were found to outnumber the words that followed it. Einstein might have chuckled, having broken it twice with just his name.

Nothing makes a writer look more like a yokel than a page full of misspelled words, and if that page happens to be a resume, the results will be disastrous. Once upon a time, spelling boiled down to memorization, but in this age of computers, as the infographic suggests, spell check is an easy fix.

Most who have spell check consider it a necessity, as even the most grizzled veteran writers encounter potholes. A university professor once remarked, “I was writing along, quick as you please, and I hit a wall in the form of the word ‘rabbit’. My mind went blank…was it one ‘B’ and two ‘Ts’? Two ‘Bs’ and one ‘T’? It was odd–I can write ‘cognitive neuropsychiatry’, but I get stuck on ‘rabbit’? Thank goodness for spell check.”

The most misspelled words in the English language are not pulled from college term papers, they are in everyday writing. While reading through this list of the 15 most commonly misspelled words (when your nose begins to bleed and your eye starts to twitch), remember that there is an easy solution: spell check.

1: Their –confusion may come from “thief”.

2: A lot –”alot” isn’t a word.

3: Received –there’s that “I” and “E” again.

4: Separate –confusion is probably caused by the pronunciation.

5: Until –one “L”: “Till the earth until it’s ready.”

6: Because –”A” and “U” are commonly swapped.

7: Beginning –two “Ns”.

8: Different –spoken, the first “E” isn’t enunciated, so it’s often left out.

9: Occurred –two “Cs”, two “Rs”.

10: Believe –it actually follows the old rule.

11: Behavior –no “U” for American spelling.

12: Which –don’t forget that first “H”.

13: Truly –”true” loses its “E” when adding “ly”, but–

14: Really –”real” gains an “L”.

15: Definitely –an “A” often sneaks in.

As this infographic proves, the most commonly misspelled words are the ones we use every single day. By taking a minute and spell checking your work, you can avoid these blunders and, in doing so, appear more professional in a business email, come off as more caring and considerate in a birthday card (because you took the time to perfect and polish your writing), and simply be viewed by the world at large as a more educated, conscientious individual. Spelling matters in real life, not just in English class!

Have any misspellings captured your keyboard this year, or have you been able to conquer them with clever mnemonic strategies?
You are very welcome to share them in the comments.

Vincent Law
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Re: VOCABULARY - Most Misspelled Words in English

Post  Vincent Law on Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:02 pm

VOCABULARY - Most Misspelled Words in UK English:
Many of the commonly misspelled words plaguing America also annoy UK writers. In fact, 8 of the 15 most misspelled words in there are on the American list of misspelled words.

An asterisk indicates words found on both lists.

15 Most Misspelled Words in UK English:

*1: Received – the “I” and “E” are often switched.

*2: A lot – two words, not “alot”.

*3: Their – again, the dreaded “ie” to “ei” flip.

*4: Until – confused with “till”; only one “L”.

5: Experience – an “A” often creeps in.

*6: Definitely – sometimes an “A” replaces the second “I”.

*7: Separate – two “Es”, two “As”.

8: Practice – a rogue “S” may replace the second “C”.

9: Environment – remember the “N” in the middle.

*10: Behaviour – the “U” is often forgotten.

11: Favourite – again with the forgotten “U”.

12: Centre – ”center” is incorrect in UK English.

13: As well – often written as one word.

*14: Really – two “Ls”.

15: Occurrance – two “Cs”, two “Rs”.

A Parting of the Ways
Half a century after America became independent, Noah Webster began to “Americanize” the language. Many words with a “C” soon sported an “S” (“defense”), and he removed an “L” from “traveler”. He also attempted to change “tongue” to “tung”, but this proved unpopular.

In 1906, the Simplified Spelling Board initiated further changes. Their plan to convert “-ed” to “-t” in words like “wished” did not catch on, but some silent letters were eliminated (“behavior”). They changed “-re” to “-er” (“fiber”, “center”), and they swapped many an “S” for a “Z” (“specialize”). Completely removed from the language were æ and œ, which is why America no longer has amœbas, leukæmia, or encyclopædias (or diarrhœa, for that matter).

Common Cultural Variations
Some very basic words in UK and American English vary in spelling, and the lines between them are usually solid. An example of rare borderline words is “grey/gray”. In UK English, “grey” has a single spelling; in American English, the accepted spelling is “gray”, yet the UK spelling occasionally slips in. Though it is technically wrong, some may turn a blind eye, but type “grey” into an American English spell checker, and the program will throw a flag faster than a football official.

Though many a silent U is gone from American English, UK English still employs it in many words, including colour, honour, and armour. People from the UK enjoy a fizzy drink from an aluminium tin and they fly in aeroplanes, while Americans drink soda out of aluminum can and fly in airplanes.

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