The 25 Most Commonly Misspelled Words in America
Our country has a "bannanas" spelling "dillema."
In this era of autocorrect and spellcheck, it’s easier than ever to spell things correctly. But even with cutting-edge technology at our disposal, there are still a handful of words that we consistently misspell. So which ones see the most consistent spelling violations? We consulted a number of resources, including Merriam-Webster, Google, Oxford English Corpus (an electronic collection of over 2 billion words that writers of the Oxford English Dictionary use to see how people are using the language), and a number of keywords tools that track how often we’re searching the wrong spelling of a word. Together, they’ve helped us narrow it down to a list of the 25 most commonly misspelled words in the English language. And for more language knowledge, check out The Shocking Backstories for Common Words You Use All the Time.
Accommodations, whether in reference to a place you’re staying for vacation or a place you’ve lived in for years, are better when they’re generous. Yet, we tend to skimp when spelling out the word, giving it just one “m” when it is supposed to have two. Oxford English Corpus lists “accommodate” as one of its top misspelled words.
In fact, according to keyword analytics platform SEMrush, “accomodate” is searched an average of 90,500 times a month—the same amount that the correct spelling of the word is searched. So we get “accommodate” wrong at the same rate that we get it right. Incidentally, we tend to spell “accommodation” correctly more often. Searches for the incorrect spelling occur half as many times as the correct spelling.
That second “i” trips everyone up, earning “liaison” a top score for spelling difficulty in Merriam-Webster’s Spell It game that tests whether readers can spell commonly messed-up words. It also earned a spot on Oxford’s list of most commonly misspelled words. Grammar app Ginger found that when its users misspell the word, 34 percent of the time it’s because they drop the second “i.” And for more ways in which we butcher words, check out the The Most Mispronounced Word in the World.
We each have our own way of eating these sweet treats—whether it’s sucking on it, licking it, or chomping down on it like Mr. Owl in the Tootsie Pop commercials. But there’s only one way to correctly spell it, and that’s with an “i” and not a “y.” Oxford lists this as one of the most misspelled words, and “lollypop” does get searched an average of 4,400 times a month. (To be fair, that’s just a fraction of the 90,500 times we search the correctly spelled version of the word monthly on average, but a fraction nonetheless.)
All those vowels right up front really throw us off. According to Google Trends’ list of most misspelled words by state, our attempts to spell “beautiful” can get pretty ugly.
“Beautiful” tops the list of hard-to-spell words in a whopping 11 states, by far the most of any word on the list. And now that you can spell beautiful, here’s how to look it: 50 Genius Ways to Be Instantly More Attractive.
On the Google Trends list, this one was the most-often-misspelled word in Montana. And according to Oxford English Corpus, “tomorrow” is a word most of us seem to struggle with. We get mixed up and double the “m” instead of the “r.”
On the average month, “weather for tommorow” is searched 14,800 times—more than a quarter of the average number of monthly searches for the correctly spelled phrase.
To be fair, this one is bound to cause confusion, thanks to its homophones. There’s the Halloween kind of “witch” and the edible “sandwich.” Our tendency to incorrectly spell the adjective-pronoun hybrid “which” earned it a spot on Oxford’s list of commonly misspelled words. On Google, there are an average of 14,800 searches for “wich” every month. And for more on our search histories, check out The Most Popular Search Term in Every State.
You may not have seen this coming, but “unforeseen” landed on Oxford’s list, due to the fact that we have a habit of dropping the first “e” from the word. According to keyword search tool SearchVolume.io, “unforseen” gets searched an average of 2,900 times a month—more than a third of the number of times that the correctly spelled “unforeseen” is searched.
This is another one from Merriam-Webster’s Spell It game. The most common way we mess “idiosyncrasy” up is by swapping out the penultimate “s” for a “c.” Searches for “idiosyncracy” hit about 2,400 per month, on average, according to SearchVolume.io.
Here’s another tough-to-spell word, according to Merriam-Webster, thanks to that combo of “s” and “c” at the end. Ginger has found that nearly 13 percent of its users tend to spell it “reminice.” And if you want to reminisce about your younger days, check out 20 Slang Terms From the 1970s No One Uses Anymore.
Unfortunately, we tend to forget that there is an “e” in this word. It’s on Oxford’s list of most-misspelled words and Ginger cites it as one we frequently mess up, too, with users spelling it “unfortunatly” an average of 18 percent of the time. According to SearchVolume.io, the misspelled version of the word generates an average of 3,600 searches monthly, compared to 110,000 accurate searches.
We love to add an extra “c” to this word. According to SEMrush, “accross” gets searched an average of 5,400 times a month—almost a third of the amount of searches for the proper spelling of “across.” That habit helped earn it a spot on Oxford’s list of commonly misspelled words.
Turns out, we’re not as aggressive with the letter “g” as we should be when it comes to spelling “aggression.” We have the opposite problem here than we do with “across,” dropping one of its first consonants. “Agression” is searched an average of 2,400 times a month.
Don’t forget that this word has “mem” in the middle of it. We seem to prefer short memories, trimming the word to just “rember” or “remeber” when typing it out. Oxford lists it among the most-misspelled words in the English language.
Any Steven Seagal fan should know how to spell this one, but Under Siege just doesn’t seem to have the following it once did.
It’s become common for us to swap the “i” and “e,” which has made “siege” one of Oxford’s top misspelled words. The incorrectly spelled “seige” gets searched 6,600 times monthly, compared to the 22,200 times the correct spelling is sought out, according to SearchVolume.io.
It’s understandable that a word that relates to power dynamics would cause us to want to include the word “cede”—as in, give up—but that’s not how “supersede” is spelled.
Our difficulty getting it straight has led Oxford English Corpus to list it as one of the most commonly misspelled words. According to SEMrush, the incorrectly spelled version is searched an average of 14,800 times monthly, compared to the 49,500 times the correct spelling is searched for.
Maybe we need to permanently write on our bodies that “tattoo” has a second “t.” It’s one of the most misspelled words in English, according to Oxford, and about a tenth of the time we search for the word, we spell it “tatoo,” according to SearchVolume.io.
A government’s job is to govern, not to “gover,” but we have a habit of forgetting that, often misspelling it “goverment,” according to Oxford. SEMrush reports that “goverment” is searched an average of 18,100 times per month, compared to the 90,500 times on average that we search the correctly spelled version of the word.
This is one of those words you hear a lot, but might not write down as often, so it’s easy to hear “jist.” After all, anyone who’s debated the proper way to pronounce a “.gif file” can appreciate the trickiness of the “j”/”g” pronunciation challenge.
Oxford has it listed as one of the more challenging words to spell, and SEMrush reports that we search for “jist” 14,800 times a month, compared to the 49,500 average searches for the correct “gist.”
It’s no wonder why we tend to shorten this to “misc.” whenever we can—this is a hard one to spell correctly. It’s actually one of the toughest to spell in the Merriam-Webster Spell It quiz. We tend to add an “s” that shouldn’t be there, or drop an “l” that should.
This one is a perfect storm of spelling traps. There are the two pairs of double letters, and the penultimate “e” that seems like it should be an “a,” depending on how you pronounce the word. The result is that “occurrence” gets searched an average of 22,200 times monthly, while “occurance” gets 8,100 searches and “occurence” gets 6,600 searches, according to SearchVolume.io.
Apparently we all need a lesson in how to spell “apparently”—that is, with an “ent,” not an “ant.” Oxford English Corpus lists this in its roundup of commonly misspelled words and our search habits back it up: While we look for the correct spelling an average of 60,500 times monthly, we search for “apparantly” 9,900 times a month on average.
With “calendar,” we have the opposite problem that we have with “apparently”—swapping an “e” for the final “a” and ending up with “calender,” according to Oxford. How bad of a habit is this? Well, searches for “Google calender” alone exceed 200,000 per month on average.
This word has nothing to do with a “pendant” you’d wear around your neck, yet we tend to want to switch out the “e” at the end of the word for an “a.” The incorrect spelling, “independant,” gets searched an average of 8,100 times a month, compared to the 135,000 times the correct spelling is searched.
If you keep at it, you’ll be able to master the spelling of this oft-misspelled word. Similar to “independent,” we have a habit of putting an “a” where the last “e” belongs, making this one of the most commonly misspelled words, according to Oxford. SearchVolume.io finds that “persistant” is searched an average of 8,100 times a month, compared to the 60,500 times the correct version is searched.
We like to spell this one “propoganda,” according to Oxford, which lists the word among the most misspelled. According to SEMrush, we search for the misspelled version of the word an average of 14,800 times a month, compared to the 135,000 times we search for the correctly spelled version. And for some words you don’t have to learn how to spell because they’re so passé, check out 150 Slang Terms From the 20th Century No One Uses Anymore.
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