The 24 Most Commonly Misspelled Words in English

“Misspelled” is one of them and people often misspell it.

The 24 Most Commonly Misspelled Words in English

If you ever had the feeling a word doesn’t look right after you typed it, you are not alone. The most commonly misspelled words from this list pose challenges for more people than you think. No matter if you’re an English native speaker or not, hard-to-spell words are determined to give you a headache. And if bad spelling does happen, it’s usually in very important contexts like your application letter or during a conversation with your crush – can’t decide which one is more heartbreaking.

Whether we’re talking about fancy words or downright common ones like “license” (not “lisence”), misspellings are like Thanos: inevitable. But even Thanos was finally defeated so you too can vanquish misspelled words. The first step is to acknowledge them so let’s do it.

Commonly misspelled words and how to spell them properly

English has drawn inspiration from many different languages, so it’s perfectly normal to get confused because of its double consonants and silent letters. We all know that moment when you stare at a word for ages and still can’t believe it has two sets of double letters. But it’s true. There are many such examples. In fact, “misspelled” is one of them and people often misspell it.

Here are some of the most commonly misspelled words in English (both British and American where it’s necessary), along with their common misspellings.

1. Accommodate not accomodate

Also commonly misspelled as: acommodate

Let’s start strong with a common example of double consonants – two sets of them. Keep in mind that the same goes for “accommodation”.

2. Acquire not aquire

It’s still a mystery as to why there’s a C in “acquire”, but you’ll just have to go with it. Think of this rhyme whenever you encounter the word: “I c that you want to acquire that wire.”

3. Awkward not akward

This one will haunt some of us for the rest of our days because it also describes how we feel when we realize we’ve just misspelled a word.

4. Believe not belive

There’s a famous rhyme in English that says I before E, except after C. The exact same rule applies to “believe”, so it’s advisable to use this mnemonic when in doubt.

Careful though – there are some exceptions to it.

5. Bizarre not bizzare

Buzz Lightyear got us used to double Zs, but this is not the case.

6. Colleague not collegue

Also commonly misspelled as: collaegue, coleague

It’s hard to get this one right, but you can do it! Make a funny association like “the big league of the double Ls”, you may just win the misspelling match.

7. Embarrassed not embarassed

Also commonly misspelled as: embarrased

Another classic case of two sets of double letters. You’ll reduce the chances of finding yourself in an embarrassing bad spelling situation if you remember this one.

8. Entrepreneur not enterpreneur

Also commonly misspelled as: entrepeneur , entreprenur , entreperneur

We honestly can’t blame whoever misspells this one. It’s not only hard to spell, but also hard to pronounce. The reason? It’s a French word coming from the root entreprendre (‘undertake’).

9. Environment not enviroment

The N is silent, so it’s quite easy to misspell this one too. Luckily, it’s similar to “government” whose verb is “to govern” which ends in N. A very long, but good association.

10. Definitely not definately

Also commonly misspelled as: deffinately, deffinitely, definitley

You’ll definitely get this one right if you remember it’s not a case of double letters. Neither does it feature any As.

"Hard words to spell" by Julia M Cameron©

 

11. Liaison not liasion

There’s a reason why you’re never sure how to spell “liaison”, “bureaucracy”, “manoeuvre”, “questionnaire”, and “connoisseur”. They do not follow the same patterns because they are all French words.

Your best bet is to just remember the correct spelling.

12. License not lisence

This is a special situation. In American English, it’s always spelled “license” – no matter what. On the other hand, in British English, it’s spelled “license” when it’s a verb and “licence” when it’s a noun.

Basically, the only wrong spelling is “lisense”. However, once you decide which spelling you’re going to use – American or British – it’s best to go forward with that one don’t combine both.

13. Publicly not publically

Words ending in “ic” receive the “ally” suffix when transformed into adverbs (e.g., organically). But “public” makes an exception so it’s totally understandable if you misspell it.

14. Receive not recieve

Remember the “I before E, except after C” rule? This is the kind of word where the rule applies. It also applies to “niece” and “siege”, but it doesn’t apply to “weird” or “seize”. So trust the rule but keep in mind it has some exceptions.

15. Responsibility not responsability

People often get tricked by this word’s pronunciation. And if you think about it, it does really sound like it has an A in the middle. Safe to say – it doesn’t. So keep an eye out for misspellings.

16. Rhythm not rythm

It’s uncertain who put that first H there, but we’ll just have to take their word for it and spell it “rhythm”.

17. Separate not seperate

“Separate” is apparently one of the most misspelled words on Google and we can understand why. The same as with “responsibility”, its pronunciation can trick you into thinking there’s an E there.

18. Strength not strenght

Even spelling bee champions will sometimes have to think twice about this one. Our mind is probably used to seeing the H after the G because of words like “through”. Not this time though (wink wink).

Don’t forget that the same goes for “length” (and not “lenght”).

19. Successful not successfull

Also commonly misspelled as: succesful, sucessful

There are so many double consonants in English, that it becomes tempting to double them all sometimes. But for the love of English, don’t do that to “successful”.

20. Succinct not succint

Some people would say two Cs are enough. This is why the word “succinct” gets misspelled so frequently. It’s true the third S is very soft, but don’t let pronunciation deceive you.

21. Thorough not thorough

You probably heard this tongue twister before: “English can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.” It’s hard not to get confused with so many similar-looking words. You add an O to “through” and its pronunciation changes completely.

22. Until not untill

This one is somehow similar to the “successful” situation, but not entirely. As a matter of fact, “until” was spelled with two Ls in the Middle Ages. If it helps you remember, you can think it just lost some weight but getting rid of the last L (unlike “still”).

23. Whether not wether

Also “weather” not “wheather”.

Not as confusing as the “through” and “thorough” example, but still pretty challenging.

24. Which or witch not wich

Do you know which one is which?

How to avoid misspellings

One obvious answer would be spell-checkers, but the truth is spell-checkers won’t actually help you to improve your spelling. You will continue to misspell words and they’ll continue to correct them. This process won’t stimulate you to want to learn the correct spelling because somebody else already does the job for you.

Supposing you really want to improve your English spelling, you’ll just have to practice. Go through this list, then add your own commonly misspelled words and practice writing them a few times. You’ll get the hang of it with just a few attempts.

If you’re only starting to learn English (or any other language), put your best foot forward with a language learning app such as Mondly. Not only does the app include spelling exercises, but it also gives you access to quick lesson reviews with all the words you’ve learned. The best way to avoid bad spelling is to convince your brain to remember the correct spelling from day one!


Improve your English fast

Do you want to get better at speaking and writing English fast? Try Mondly, the award-winning language app that is serious about making learning English fun.

Instead of tiring yourself for hours with inch-thick textbooks, slip a 10-minute Mondly lesson into your routine and make learning a breeze. You will learn English naturally using:

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Diana Lăpușneanu

Movie geek turned content writer, Diana is passionate about storytelling, mythology and art history. She is currently exploring the wonderful world of languages at Mondly where she can put her fascination with historical linguistics to good use. Her Master’s Degree in advertising helps her sail smoothly through her responsibilities as a content creator for blogs and social media.

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