Words we often misspell

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Words we often misspell
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2012-08-07 23:17:51
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Wrong words
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  1. acceptable 
    Several words made the list because of the suffix pronounced -êbl but sometimes spelled -ible, sometimes -able. Just remember to accept any table offered to you and you will spell this word OK.
  2. accidentally 
    It is no accident that the test for adverbs on -ly is whether they come from an adjective on -al ("accidental" in this case). If so, the -al has to be in the spelling. No publical, then publicly.
  3. accommodate 
    - Remember, this word is large enough to accommodate both a double "c" AND a double "m."
  4. acquire 
     Try to acquire the knowledge that this word and the next began with the prefix ad- but the [d] converts to [c] before [q]
  5. a lot 
    - Two words! Hopefully, you won't have to allot a lot of time to this problem.
  6. amateur 
     Amateurs need not be mature: this word ends on the French suffix -eur (the equivalent of English -er).
  7. apparent 
    A parent need not be apparent but "apparent" must pay the rent, so remember this word always has the rent.
  8. argument
    - Let's not argue about the loss of this verb's silent [e] before the suffix -ment.
  9. atheist .
     Lord help you remember that this word comprises the prefix a- "not" + the "god" (also in the-ology) + -ist "one who believes
  10. believe 
    You must believe that [i] usually comes before [e] except after [c] or when it is pronounced like "a" as "neighbor" and "weigh" or "e" as in "their" and "heir." Also take a look at "foreign" below. (The "i-before-e" rule has more exceptions than words it applies to.)
  11. bellwether 
     Often misspelled "bellweather." A wether is a gelded ram, chosen to lead the herd (thus his bell) due to the greater likelihood that he will remain at all times ahead of the ewes.
  12. calendar 
    - This word has an [e] between two [a]s. The last vowel is [a].
  13. category 
     This word is not in a category with "catastrophe" even if it sounds like it: the middle letter is [e].
  14. cemetery
     - Don't let this one bury you: it ends on -ery nary an -ary in it. You already know it starts on [c], of course.
  15. changeable 
    - The verb "change" keeps its [e] here to indicate that the [g] is soft, not hard. (That is also why "judgement" is the correct spelling of this word, no matter what anyone says.)
  16. collectible 
     Another -ible word. You just have to remember.
  17. column 
     Silent final [e] is commonplace in English but a silent final [n] is not uncommon, especially after [m].
  18. committed 
    - If you are committed to correct spelling, you will remember that this word doubles its final [t] from "commit" to "committed.
  19. conscience 
     Don't let misspelling this word weigh on your conscience: [ch] spelled "sc" is unusual but legitimate.
  20. conscientious 
     Work on your spelling conscientiously and remember this word with [ch] spelled two different ways: "sc" and "ti." English spelling!
  21. conscious 
    - Try to be conscious of the "sc" [ch] sound and all the vowels in this word's ending and i-o-u a note of congratulations
  22. consensus - The census does not require a consensus, since they are not related.
    - The census does not require a consensus, since they are not related.
  23. daiquiri 
     Don't make yourself another daiquiri until you learn how to spell this funny word-the name of a Cuban village.
  24. definite (ly) 
    This word definitely sounds as though it ends only on -it, but it carries a silent "e" everywhere it goes.
  25. discipline 
    - A little discipline, spelled with the [s] and the [c] will get you to the correct spelling of this one.
  26. drunkenness 
     You would be surprised how many sober people omit one of the [n]s in this one.
  27. dumbbell 
     Even smart people forget one of the [b]s in this one. (So be careful who you call one when you write.)
  28. embarrass (ment) 
     This one won't embarrass you if you remember it is large enough for a double [r] AND a double [s]
  29. equipment 
     This word is misspelled "equiptment" 22,932 times on the web right now.
  30. exhilarate 
     Remembering that [h] when you spell this word will lift your spirits and if you remember both [a]s, it will be exhilarating!
  31. exceed 
     Remember that this one is -ceed, not -cede. (To exceed all expectations, master the spellings of this word, "precede" and "supersede" below.)
  32. existence
    - No word like this one spelled with an [a] is in existence. This word is a menage a quatre of one [i] with three [e]s.
  33. experience 
    - Don't experience the same problem many have with "existence" above in this word: -ence!
  34. fiery 
    - The silent "e" on  fire" is also cowardly: it retreats inside the word rather than face the suffix -y.
  35. foreign 
     Here is one of several words that violate the i-before-e rule. (See "believe" above.)
  36. guarantee 
    - I guarantee you that this word is not spelled like "warranty" even though they are synonyms.
  37. hierarchy 
    The i-before-e rule works here, so what is the problem?
  38. height 
    English reaches the height (not heighth!) of absurdity when it spells "height" and "width" so differently.
  39. humorous
     - Humor us and spell this word "humorous": the [r] is so weak, it needs an [o] on both sides to hold it up.
  40. ignorance 
     Don't show your ignorance by spelling this word -ence!
  41. immediate 
    - The immediate thing to remember is that this word has a prefix, in- "not" which becomes [m] before [m] (or [b] or [p]). "Not mediate" means direct which is why "immediately" means "directly.
  42. independent 
     Please be independent but not in your spelling of this word. It ends on -ent.
  43. indispensable 
     Knowing that this word ends on -able is indispensable to good writing.
  44. inoculate 
    This one sounds like a shot in the eye. One [n] the eye is enough.
  45. intelligence 
     Using two [l]s in this word and ending it on -ence rather than -ance are marks of . . . you guessed it.
  46. judgment -
    Traditionally, the word has been spelled judgment in all forms of the English language. However, the spelling judgement (with e added) largely replaced judgment in the United Kingdom in a non-legal context. In the context of the law, however, judgment is preferred. This spelling change contrasts with other similar spelling changes made in American English, which were rejected in the UK. In the US at least, judgment is still preferred and judgement is considered incorrect by many American style guides
  47. leisure 
    Yet another violator of the i-before-e rule. You can be sure of the spelling of the last syllable but not of the pronunciation.
  48. liaison 
     Another French word throwing us an orthographical curve: a spare [i], just in case. That's an [s], too, that sounds like a [z].
  49. library 
    It may be as enjoyable as a berry patch but that isn't the way it is spelled. That first [r] should be pronounced, too.
  50. license 
    Where does English get the license to use both its letters for the sound [s] in one word?
  51. lightning 
     Learning how to omit the [e] in this word should lighten the load of English orthography a little bit.
  52. maintenance 
     The main tenants of this word are "main" and "tenance" even though it comes from the verb "maintain." English orthography at its most spiteful.
  53. maneuver 
     Man, the price you pay for borrowing from French is high. This one goes back to French main + oeuvre "hand-work," a spelling better retained in the British spelling, "manoeuvre."
  54. millennium 
    Here is another big word, large enough to hold two double consonants, double [l] and double [n].
  55. miniature 
    Since that [a] is seldom pronounced, it is seldom included in the spelling. This one is a "mini ature;" remember that.
  56. mischievous 
     This mischievous word holds two traps: [i] before [e] and [o] before [u]. Four of the five vowels in English reside here.
  57. Golden Rule
    I before E except after C and when it sounds like A
  58. noticeable 
     The [e] is noticeably retained in this word to indicate the [c] is "soft," pronounced like [s]. Without the [e], it would be pronounced "hard," like [k], as in "applicable."
  59. occasionally 
     Writers occasionally tire of doubling so many consonants and omit one, usually one of the [l]s. Don't you ever do it.
  60. occurrence 
     Remember not only the occurrence of double double consonants in this word, but that the suffix is -ence, not -ance. No reason, just the English language keeping us on our toes.
  61. pastime 
    Since a pastime is something you do to pass the time, you would expect a double [s] here. Well, there is only one. The second [s] was slipped through the cracks in English orthography long ago.
  62. perseverance 
     All it takes is perseverance and you, too, can be a near-perfect speller. The suffix is -ance for no reason at all.
  63. precede 
    What follows, succeeds, so what goes before should, what? No, no, no, you are using logic. Nothing confuses English spelling more than common sense. "Succeed" but "precede." Precede combines the Latin words "pre" and "cedere" which means to go before.
  64. principal/principle 
    The spelling principle to remember here is that the school principal is a prince and a pal (despite appearances)--and the same applies to anything of foremost importance, such as a principal principle. A "principle" is a rule. (Thank you, Meghan Cope, for help on this one.)
  65. privilege
     According to the pronunciation (not "pronounciation"!) of this word, that middle vowel could be anything. Remember: two [i]s + two [e]s in that order.
  66. questionnaire 
     The French doing it to us again. Double up on the [n]s in this word and don't forget the silent [e]. Maybe someday we will spell it the English way.
  67. restaurant 
    'Ey, you! Remember, these two words when you spell "restaurant." They are in the middle of it.
  68. schedule 
     If perfecting your spelling is on your schedule, remember the [sk] is spelled as in "school." (If you use British or Canadian pronunciation, why do you pronounce this word [shedyul] but "school," [skul]? That has always puzzled me.)
  69. sergeant 
    The [a] needed in both syllables of this word has been pushed to the back of the line. Remember that, and the fact that [e] is used in both syllables, and you can write your sergeant without fear of misspelling his rank.
  70. supersede 
    This word supersedes all others in perversity. This is the only English word based on this stem spelled -sede. Supersede combines the Latin words "super" and "sedere" which means to sit above.
  71. twelfth 
    Even if you omit the [f] in your pronunciation of this word (which you shouldn't do), it is retained in the spelling.
  72. vacuum 
    if your head is not a vacuum, remember that the silent [e] on this one married the [u] and joined him inside the word where they are living happily ever since. Well, the evidence is suggestive but not conclusive. Anyway, spell this word with two [u]s and not like "volume."
  73. weather
     Whether you like the weather or not, you have to write the [a] after the [e] when you spell it.
  74. weird
    It is weird having to repeat this rule so many times: [i] before [e] except after...? (It isn't [w]!)

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