A spelling mistake can change your wife. Oops! I meant ‘life’. Imagine your all important love letter; in which you end up making a silly spelling error. Imagine your job application; where you repeat something similar. Dhikaar hai !! This blog post contains a list of the most commonly misspelled words in English language. I have also included crazy and easy tips to remember them words. My 10 year old son Atharv learned all these spellings just in a few hours. I am sure – you’ll do it much faster.
These words are highly frequently misspelled spellings. Glance them once in a while and feel the ‘Angrez’ within:
- Assassination : An ass behind another ass ; then ‘I’ and behind me the whole nation… learn assassination!
- Accommodate: It has double “c” and double “m”.
My Tip to remember it: It’s very accommodating to accommodate both a double “c” AND a double “m”.
- Acquaintance: The most common misspellings are : acquaintence, aquaintance.
My Tip to remember it: Imagine a ‘QUAINT’ ‘AC’ — Air conditioner in fr(ANCE).
- Acknowledgment: Note : The word ‘Knowledge’ is used as ‘Knowledg’ in the spelling of ‘Acknowledgment’.
- Commitment: Note that there is a single “m” in the latter half of the word.
My Tip to remember it: Commit to Me (Commitment).
- Argument: There is no e after the u in argument, even though it comes from “argue”. So it’s an exception to the rule that the final silent e is kept when adding endings that begin with a consonant.
My Tip to remember it: Remove the “e” since it’s an exception.
- Believe: you have to believe that it has (i) before (e) as in chief, thief, belief.
My Tip to remember it: Try to believe the lie.
- Definite: Note that the word doesn’t end with ‘t’, there is an ‘e’ to follow.
My Tip to remember it: It “definitely” carries a silent “e” wherever it goes.
- Drunkenness: Too many people omit one of the ‘n’s from this word.
- Exercise: It’s not “Excercise”.
My Tip to remember it: You shed some Calories (one c) when you exercise.
- Foreign: Take note of ‘e’ before ‘i’.
My Tip to remember it: Remember the song ‘Teri ORE’ from ‘Singh is King’.
- Guarantee: Rule: Although most verbs ending in -e drop the final e before adding -ing (e.g. bake, baking), verbs ending in -ee, -ye, and -oe keep the final -e: guarantees, guaranteeing, guaranteed.
My Tip to remember it: There is nothing “Great” in being grateful.
- Harass: Note the single ‘r’.
My Tip to remember it: Her big ‘ASS’. Note ‘Her’ has a single ‘R’ & ‘ASS’ has two ‘S’.
- Incidentally : The word has a suffix “ally” (like accidentally)
My Tip to remember it: Remember how do you spell “Incidental”, and so incidentally.
- Instalment: Spell instalment with one l (the spelling installment is American).
Rule: Drop the last l when adding suffixes (endings) which begin with a consonant to words which end in a double l (here, install): instalment.My Tip to remember it: Instalments lighten the burden so lighten the word by removing an “l” from install.
- Ignorance: Don’t forget to consider ‘-ance’ instead of ‘-ence’. My Tip to remember it: Ignore the ‘e’ to a get an ‘A’ in spellings.
- Independently: The word has the suffix “ly”. It does not have a suffix “ally”.
My Tip to remember it: Think, Independental is not a word, so can’t have the suffix “ally”.
- Mischievous: The most common misspelling is mischievious.
My Tip to remember it: Out of the five vowels “aeiou”, it uses four. And it is mischievous to use the first two in the reverse order and the next two in the same order.
- Millennium: The plural can be spelled either millennia or millenniums.
My Tip to remember it: A millennium is big enough to have double “l” and a double “n”.
- Misspell: My girlfriend Miss ‘Pell’ is such a warrior that you just can’t afford to misspell “Misspell”.
- Maintenance: Remember that maintenance is spelled with -ten- in the middle; the ending is -ance.
My Tip to remember it: The main tenants of this word are “main” and “tenance”.
- 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.”
- Necessary: It has a single “C” and a double “S”
My Tip to remember it: Remember a Cane has two Sides (Left hand side and Right hand side).
- Occurrence: you not only have to remember that it has a double ‘c’ and a double ‘r’ but also that the suffix is -ence, not -ance.
- OcASSion Vs Occasion: Dont be an ASS in an OCCasion.
- Perceive: Remember : ‘I’ comes after ‘E’ , as in the alphabet series.
- Pastime: Note it’s not PastTime.
My Tip to remember it: The second ‘t’ slipped down while you were passing time.
- Personnel: Consider two Ns and one L
My Tip to remember it: Nobody says No to the Leader.
- Perseverance: you got to be a little perseverant to be a master speller. Homonymous to the word ‘FEVER’ is the word ‘SEVER’ ; which is a part of this spelling.
- Pronunciation: Nouns often differ from the verbs they are derived from. Here “Pronunciation” is different from “Pronounce”.
My Tip to remember it: If you know how to speak “pronunciation”, that’s one big clue.
- Privilege: It has two ‘i’s and two ‘e’s in that order.
- Slaughter is LAUGHTER with an S at the beginning.
These 33 ‘Commonly Misspelled Spellings in English and Ways to Remember Them’ with memory keys should give you an idea as to how you can create your own list of unforgettable keys. If you frequently need a spell check (because of your old sins), you can try using Grammarly for spell-check. There are many other apps and software. But none of them will ensure you don’t screw up your exam. Only you can nail that!
So make sure you find a way to not make the most common spelling mistakes. They can be suicidal to your efforts – especially if you are writing exams like UPSC, UGC, CAT, XAT, CLAT, NDA, Bank PO, TOEFL, CDS, IELTS etc. In fact, if you have been struggling with other grammar rules for these exams, you may want to check out these – English Grammar Rules Made Easy & 150 Common Grammatical Mistakes. A complete list of all such posts is also given at the end of the blog post.
I have put below the most commonly misspelled words in English, and their correct answers. They should help you:-
- accidentally (accidently)
- accordion (accordian)
- acquaintance (acquaintence, aquaintance)
- acquire (aquire)
- acquit (aquit)
- a lot (alot)
- argument (arguement)
- a while (awhile)
- axle (axel)
- barbecue (barbeque)
- believable (believeable)
- broccoli (brocolli)
- cemetery (cemetary)
- chauvinism (chauvanism)
- chocolaty (chocolatey)
- coliseum, also colosseum (colliseum)
- collectible (collectable)
- Dalmatian (Dalmation)
- definite (definate)
- development (developement)
- drunkenness (drunkeness)
- dumbbell (dumbell)
- exercise (excercise)
- existence (existance)
- fiery (firey)
- flabbergast (flabberghast)
- flotation (floatation)
- frustum (frustrum)
- genius (genious; see “ingenious”)
- grammar (grammer)
- handkerchief (hankerchief)
- harass (harrass)
- inadvertent (inadvertant)
- incidentally (incidently)
- indispensable (indispensible)
- ingenious (ingenius; see “genius”)
- inoculate (innoculate)
- irresistible (irresistable)
- its (it’s)
- judgment (judgement)
- led (lead)
- liquefy (liquify)
- lose (loose)
- maneuver, also manoeuvre
- marshmallow (marshmellow)
- medieval, also mediaeval
- memento (momento)
- millennium (millenium)
- minuscule (miniscule)
- mischief (mischeif)
- mischievous (mischievious)
- misspell (mispell)
- no one (noone)
- pastime (pasttime)
- pharaoh (pharoah)
- pigeon (pidgeon)
- pistachio (pistacchio)
- plenitude (plentitude)
- poinsettia (pointsettia)
- presumptuous (presumptious)
- pronunciation (pronounciation)
- privilege (priviledge)
- pursue (persue) – There is a word peruse as well.
- questionnaire (questionaire)
- refrigerator (refridgerator)
- seize (sieze)
- sensible (sensable)
- septuagenarian (septagenarian)
- shish kebab
- sorcerer (sorceror)
- supersede (supercede)
- too (to)
- ukulele (ukelele)
- until (untill)
- you’re (your)
Remember – spellings are not about memorizing the letters involved. That’s just to help us begin (as kids). Correct spellings are more about having read those words so many times that we sort of remember what they look like, we remember the image! Here are a few posts on English Grammar and Communication that might help you improve your skills.
As a Motivational Speaker and Career Counselor, I get to do a lot of communication training programs. The one thing I constantly tell people is – There is only one short cut to improving your English – Reading more. And more. And more. Especially with spellings, that image is formed only when you have seen that word a number of times. Get down to work, if it’s important to you. The English section of those coveted exams like CAT, IELTS, GMAT, GRE, CLAT, CDS, NDA, TOEFL, Bank PO etc. will test your spelling skills. And you can tip the scales in your favour if you don’t make these common spelling mistakes to say the least!