The English language is notorious for its complex spelling rules and irregularities, making it a challenge even for native speakers at times. Commonly misspelled words can trip up anyone, regardless of their level of proficiency. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of 81 commonly misspelled words in English, along with their common misspellings and insights into why these errors are so prevalent.
81 Most Commonly Misspelled English Words
Here is a list of words that are commonly misspelled in English:
Common Misspelling: Except
People often mix up “accept” and “except” because both words sound similar and involve a form of inclusion or exclusion. However, “accept” means to receive something willingly, while “except” is used for exclusions.
Common Misspellings: Acommodate, Accomodate
Accommodate is a tricky word to spell and along with accommodation is commonly misspelled. Just remember, there are two lots of double letters on the first two consonants in the word “accommodate” — “cc” and “mm.”
Common Misspelling: Acknowledgement
“Acknowledgement” is an alternate spelling used in British English. So, depending on where you’re from it could actually be the correct spelling! In American English, the correct form is “acknowledgment.”
Common Misspelling: Aquire
The omission of the “c” in “acquire” is a common error.
Common Misspelling: Accross
The extra “c” in “accross” is often added unintentionally. Remember, it’s just “across.” An easy way to remember this is to think about a cross and then just add the “a” at the start of the word.
Common Misspelling: Effect
The confusion between “affect” and “effect” arises from their similar pronunciation. “Affect” is a verb that means to influence, while “effect” is a noun signifying a result or consequence. Remember, it’s cause and effect, not cause and affect!
Common Misspelling: Arguement
To “argue” is the verb form of the word, so it’s easy to think that the “e” would remain when forming the noun form “argument”. However, in this case, we drop the “e” to spell “argument”.
Common Misspelling: Basicly
Basically, don’t make this spelling mistake. The simplified spelling “basicly” is a common error. You need to add a double “l” on the end and proceed this with an “a” to form the correct spelling, which is “basically.”
Common Misspelling: Begining
People often omit one of the “n”s in “beginning” due to its pronunciation.
Common Misspelling: Beleive
Spelling it as “beleive” is a common typographical error. People might mistakenly think it follows the pattern of words like “receive” or “conceive.”
Common Misspelling: Benifit
The “i” often creeps into “benefit” due to the way it sounds. “Benefit” relates to advantages or gains.
Common Misspelling: Calender
“Calender” is a misspelling that results from swapping the “a” and “e.” It’s a frequent mistake because of the similarity in pronunciation and with so many words ending in “-er” in the English language a word ending in “-ar” almost doesn’t look quite right! Calendar comes from the Latin word kalendarium, which is why it ends in “-ar”.
Common Misspelling: Carribean
Probably one of the most difficult places to spell correctly on the world map, the Caribbean is a place that is commonly misspelled. The extra “r” in “Carribean” is often added mistakenly and the extra “b” is often omitted. There is only one set of double letters in the Caribbean and that is “bb”.
Common Misspelling: Catagory
When you say or hear the word “category” it often sounds like “catagory”, leading to confusion in the placement of the “a” and “e.” The correct spelling is “category.”
Common Misspelling: Cemetary, Cemetry
The misspelling “cemetary” occurs due to swapping the “e” for an “a” or just dropping that last vowel entirely. Remember, it’s “cemetery” with an “e” after the “c.”
Common Misspelling: Collegue, Coleague
One of those commonly misspelled words that you don’t want to get wrong in the workplace! If you want to be top of your office spelling league just remember that “colleague” is spelled with two letter “ls.”
Common Misspelling: Comittee
The silent double “m” and double “t” in “committee” can lead people to omit one or both. This word is frequently used in formal contexts and if you want to put your best foot forward just remember that there are 3 lots of double letters in this word; “mm”, “tt”, and “ee.”
Common Misspelling: Conciense
Misspelled words on your conscience? Don’t forget to add an “s” and you can con science!
Common Misspelling: Concious
Now that you’re conscious of some of the commonly misspelled words, hopefully you’ll avoid this spelling mistake. Just make sure you add an “s” and you’ll be fine.
Common Misspelling: Definately
You’ll definitely spell this word correctly next time. The incorrect spelling “definately” often arises due to its phonetic similarity. Remember, “definitely” has no “a.”
Common Misspelling: Embarass
People often forget the double “r” in “embarrass.” It’s easy to understand why, as “embarrassment” can be, well, embarrassing!
Common Misspelling: Entrepeneur, Entreprenur, Entreperneur
Let’s face it, “entrepreneur” is a difficult word to spell and is also one of the most commonly misspelled business words. Why? It’s French in origin and doesn’t fit the standard rules of the English language. Your best bet is to memorize the spelling so that you don’t get it wrong in future.
Common Misspelling: Enviroment
The mistake of dropping the “n” in “environment” likely occurs due to its pronunciation.
Common Misspelling: Existance
Including an “a” to make it “existance” may result from its pronunciation and the sound of the word. However, it’s incorrect and we should always use “existence.”
Common Misspelling: Experiance
This one all comes down to experience. The issue here is that the endings “ance” and “ence” often convey similar meanings and share a resemblance in pronunciation. The variations in their spelling typically stem from their origins in Latin and how they were integrated into the English language. Rather than delving into complex rules, it’s often more practical to commit these distinctions to memory (or seek help).
Here are some other frequently misspelled “ance” and “ence” words:
- Guidance (not guidence)
- Occurrence (not occurrance)
- Perseverance (not perseverence)
- Reference (not referance)
- Perseverance (not perseverence)
By mastering these distinctions, you can enhance your spelling accuracy and written communication.
Common Misspelling: Finaly
The omission of one “l” in “finally” is a common typographical error.
Common Misspelling: Florescent
The incorrect spelling “florescent” may be due to its visual similarity to “floral.” However, it’s not related to flowers but to light.
Common Misspelling: Foriegn
The spelling of some English words may feel foreign to you, but don’t let this word be one of them. Place the “e” before the “i” and you’ll avoid any misspellings here.
Common Misspelling: Fulfil
“Fulfil” is the British English spelling, but in American English, it’s “fulfill.” Once again, this one depends upon where you come from.
Common Misspelling: Goverment
The misspelling “goverment” is a result of dropping the “n.” The pronunciation doesn’t help clarify this one, which makes it more difficult for people.
Common Misspelling: Grammer
If you’re trying to improve your spelling and grammar, the last thing you want to do is spell “grammar” wrong. It may sound like it ends in “er” but it actually ends in “ar.”
If you’re ever struggling with your grammar, or even you’re spelling of grammar, you can use an app like Grammarly to see if you’re on the right track and get corrections.
Common Misspelling: Greatful
The misspelling “greatful” occurs due to the confusion with the word “great.” However, the correct spelling is “grateful.” Be grateful that you know this.
Common Misspelling: Harrass
The fact that there is no double “r” in “harass” is often forgotten. This word pertains to persistently troubling or annoying someone.
Common Misspelling: Imediately, Immediatly
The double “mm” is often what trips people up here. Immediately think of Eminem (sounds like “m and m”) and you should be on your way to remembering this one.
Common Misspelling: Independant
This word is commonly misspelled because it often sounds like it ends in “-ant”. You only have to listen to Destiny’s Child “Independent Women” and you can hear where the confusion comes in.
Common Misspelling: Indispensible
The common misspelling “indispensible” occurs due to the similarity in pronunciation to “indispensable.”
Common Misspelling: Innoculate
The misspelling “innoculate” might result from associating it with “innocent” which has two “ns”. However, only one “n” is used for this word.
Common Misspelling: Interupt
People often omit one of the “r”s in “interrupt” mistakenly.
Common Misspelling: Irrelevent
Is it an ant or an Ent? Another word that is commonly misspelled because of it’s ending. In this case, the word ends in “-ant.” A good way to recall this is that an ant is very small, almost irrelevant in size terms. Whereas an Ent from Lord of the Rings is huge and anything but irrelevant.
Common Misspelling: Judgement
“Judgement” is a variant of “judgment,” but the latter is the standard spelling in American English. The extra “e” is the British English spelling.
Common Misspelling: Justifyable
The misspelling “justifyable” is a result of breaking down the word into “justify” and “able,” but it’s not the correct form.
Common Misspelling: Knowlege
The missing “d” in “knowlege” might result from its silent pronunciation, but it is a crucial part of the word. If you want to showcase your spelling knowledge you’ll need to get this one right.
Common Misspelling: Knive
“Knive” is a common mistake likely because it resembles the plural form, “knives.” However, the singular is “knife.”
Common Misspelling: Langauge, Langwich
The misspelling “langauge” is a result of swapping the “u” and “a.” Remember, it’s “language” with an “a” after the “g.” Also, some English learners hear the ending of the word “language” similarly to “sandwich”, which results in them spelling it “langwich”. If you make this mistake you’ll soon be eating your words!
Common Misspelling: Lead
“Lead” and “led” are often confused and frequently form one of the most common spelling mistakes on CVs. “Lead” is the present tense, while “led” is the past tense. However, there is also a metal called lead, which is pronounced “led”. Who said English was easy!?
Common Misspelling: Lisence
It’s easy to mix up the “s” and the “c” when it comes to spelling license, but in American English it’s always license.
Things get a bit more confusing in British English where “licence” is the spelling of the noun form, and “license” is the spelling of the verb form.
Common Misspelling: Lightening
There is no “e” in “lightning”, just a lot of electricity!
Common Misspelling: Loose
People often mix up “lose” and “loose” because of their similar pronunciation. “Lose” refers to misplacing or failing to win, while “loose” means not tight.
Common Misspelling: Maintanance
Adding an extra “a” in “maintenance” is a common error. However, if you associate “maintenance” with the number “ten” then you shouldn’t make this mistake.
Common Misspelling: Miniture
When spoken, “miniature” has a silent “a”, so it’s easy to see why people often spell it as “miniture.”
Common Misspelling: Neccessary
The repeated “c” and “s” sounds in “necessary” can lead to the misspelling “neccessary.” Just remember, it’s only necessary to add one “c.”
Common Misspelling: Notible
The incorrect spelling “notible” may result from its visual similarity to “noticeable.” However, it’s not related to being noticeable but to being significant.
Common Misspelling: Occassion
People often double the “s” in “occasion” because it has a double “c”. However, it’s incorrect and there is only one “s” in “occasion”.
Common Misspelling: Occured
The misspelling “occured” is a result of dropping the second “r.” This word is often used when describing past events.
Common Misspelling: Occurence
Likewise, the misspelling “occurence” is a result of omitting the second “r.”
Common Misspelling: Paralell
Don’t make the mistake of incorrectly placing the doubling the “l” in “parallel.”
Common Misspelling: Pasttime
People often misspell “pastime” by combining two words; “past” and “time.” In this case the two words come together and we drop one of the “ts.”
Common Misspelling: Percieve
The erroneous spelling “percieve” might result from the similar pronunciation to words like “believe”. Just keep in mind that old saying, it’s “i before e except after c.”
Common Misspelling: Persistance
The common misspelling “persistance” often occurs due to its phonetic similarity. Remember, it’s “persistence.”
Common Misspelling: Phillipines
They really made the spelling of this country complicated, didn’t they? With three “ps” and one “l” in this word, you just have to commit this one to memory.
Common Misspelling: Privelege, Priviledge
People often misspell “privilege” by swapping out the the “i” for an “e.”
Common Misspelling: Pronounciation
Ironically, when people add the extra “o” in “pronounciation” it may result from its pronunciation. However, it’s incorrect.
Common Misspelling: Publically
This one is tricky. Logically, adverbs from adjectives ending in -ic should add -ally. Publicly is an exception to this and it makes it one of the top commonly misspelled words in English.
Common Misspelling: Quite
People often mistakenly use “quite” when they mean “quiet” because of the similarity of their spelling. However, “quite” means completely or very.
Common Misspelling: Recieve
Still one of the most commonly misspelled words when it really shouldn’t be! All you have to remember is “i before e, except after c” and you should spell it correctly.
Common Misspelling: Recomend
We recommend that you memorize this one, “recommend” has two “m”s.
Common Misspelling: Rythm
The missing “h” in “rythm” is a frequent error. “Rhythm” is a word known for its unique spelling so it takes some learning.
Common Misspelling: Seperate
A study done in the UK in 2010 found “separate” to be the most commonly misspelled word in English. The incorrect spelling “seperate” may result from its visual similarity to “separate” and also the way it’s pronounced. However, it’s not the correct form and you should always spell it as “separate.”
Common Misspelling: Succesful
The omission of one “c” in “succesful” is a common error. To spell “successful” correctly, just remember that there are two sets of consonants in the middle of the word.
Common Misspelling: Supercede
The common misspelling “supercede” might occur due to the word’s pronunciation, but the correct spelling contains an “s.”
Common Misspelling: Suprise
Surprise! I bet you didn’t think this would be in here. Actually, I did because it is a mistake I have made over the years. People often omit one of the “r”s in “surprise” mistakenly.
Common Misspelling: There
People often confuse “their” and “there” because they sound the same. However, “their” indicates possession, while “there” refers to a place.
Common Misspelling: Tommorow
The extra “m” in “tommorow” is often added unintentionally. So, if you remember this today, you won’t make the same mistake tomorrow.
Common Misspelling: Truely
Adding the “e” to “truely” is an easy mistake to make when the word derives from “true.”
Common Misspelling: Unneccessary
The misspelling “unneccessary” is a result of doubling the “c” and “s” sounds. However, it should have only one “c.”
Common Misspelling: Untill
People often double the “l” in “until”, possibly because they remember the spelling of “till” which has two “ls.” However, there is only one “l” in “until.”
Common Misspelling: Vaccuum
The misspelling “vaccuum” results from doubling the “c.” The correct form has only one “c.”
Common Misspelling: Wierd
The misspelling “wierd” might occur because the word itself is quite unusual!
- Common Misspelling: Weather, wether
- The confusion between “whether” and “weather” arises from their similar pronunciation. “Whether” is used to introduce alternatives or possibilities, while “weather” pertains to atmospheric conditions.
Common Misspelling: Withold
Yet another word that is made up of two words, or in other words, a compound word. In this case, we combine “with” and “hold” to form the word “withhold” and we don’t lose any of the letters.
Common Misspelling: You’re
People frequently mix up “your” and “you’re” because they sound the same. However, “your” indicates possession, while “you’re” is a contraction of “you are.”
The Last Word
These commonly misspelled English words highlight just how challenging learning English can be. However, by familiarizing ourselves with these words and their correct spellings, we can enhance our writing skills and communicate more effectively in English. Remember, practice makes perfect, and even native speakers can benefit from ongoing spelling improvement.
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