Posted by: Jack Henry | November 10, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Misspelled Words

Good morning, friends.

The Grammarly blog recently sent out a list of the 10 most commonly misspelled words. I don’t think the words will be too much of a surprise. I’ve seen most of them on lists of often misspelled words before, but I think the reminder of how to spell them will be useful, and even more useful are the tips Grammarly gives to help you remember the correct spelling. So, without further ado…

· Apparent

Misspelled forms: apparant, aparent, apparrent, aparrent

There’s often confusion about whether to use one or two “p” and “r” letters, as well as whether the word ends in “-ent” or “-ant.”

· Believe

Misspelled forms: belive, beleive

The uncertainty of using “-ie” or “-ei” in the word “believe” and other words with the same pairing (“relieve,” “deceive,” etc.) led to the creation of the following mnemonic device: “‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ or when sounded as ‘a’ as in ‘neighbor’ and ‘weigh.’”

· Entrepreneur

Misspelled forms: entrepenur, entrepeneur, entreperneur, entreprenur

The French origins of “entrepreneur” make this word a tricky one to spell. It has a variety of misspellings, some of which include dropping or misplacing the “r” in “-pren-”; other common misspellings have issues with the “-eu” at the end of the word.

· License

Misspelled forms: licence, lisence, lisense

Having different letters in a word that produce the same sound can lead to incorrect spellings. In “license” the “c” and “s” are often swapped, or an extra “c” or “s” is used to form the word.

Although “licence” is not considered an incorrect spelling in the rest of the English-speaking world, when writing in American English, you should replace the second “c” with an “s.”

· Privilege

Misspelled forms: priviledge, privelege

The last part of the word “privilege” sounds similar to how you might say “ledge,” but in the correct spelling of “privilege” there’s no “d.” The “i” before “-lege” is also tricky since some might pronounce it similarly to the short “e” sound and incorrectly spell the word as “privelege.”

· Pronunciation

Misspelled form: pronounciation

The spelling of “pronounce” is what leads writers to spell “pronunciation” incorrectly. They use “-noun-” instead of the correct form—“-nun-”—which drops the “o.”

· Separate

Misspelled forms: seperate, seprate

Speaking of pronunciation: How you say the word “separate” could lead you to misspell it. Depending on your pronunciation, you might exchange the first “a” for an “e” or drop the first “a” altogether.

· Tendency

Misspelled form: tendancy

It’s common for writers to erroneously replace the second “e” with an “a.”

· Weird

Misspelled form: wierd

The mnemonic device “i before e . . .” mentioned above makes this word particularly confusing. If you steadfastly follow this device, you’d expect to spell the word using “-ie,” as in “wierd.” But it’s, well, weird.

· Weather

Misspelled forms: wether, waether, whether

The “-ea” in weather can cause a spelling mix-up. Since the “a” is silent, it’s sometimes dropped, or the letters are reversed as “-ae.”

Additionally, “whether” is a real word and not an incorrect spelling in itself, but when used in a climate-related context, it becomes a common misspelling of “weather.”

How to avoid common spelling mistakes:

If you tend to misspell words, below are tips to improve your spelling and finally get it right:

· Remember spelling devices: Mnemonic devices, like “there’s a rat in separate,” can help you land on the right spelling of “separate” every time.

· Sound out the word:Another way to attempt the spelling of a tough word is by sounding it out. It’s effective at helping you hear distinctions in consonants and vowels.

· Check for homophones: Homophones, meaning different words that sound the same, can result in misspelled words. For example, “to,” “too,” and “two.” Pay extra attention to these words to ensure you’re using the right one.

· Break up larger words: Compartmentalizing words into smaller pieces can help you spell them correctly. For example, “independent” can be broken into “in-de-pen-dent” and “maintenance” is “main-ten-ance.”

· Consider your geography: Some words are spelled differently depending on geographic preferences. In Australia and the United Kingdom, it’s not uncommon to see the spelling “judgement,” which keeps the first “e.” The U.S. spelling, however, drops the first “e” to form “judgment.”

· Refer to a reliable dictionary: Ultimately, turning to a trusted dictionary can help you improve your spelling. It also gives you an opportunity to check that you’ve chosen the best word for the message you want to convey. [dbb – This is the best advice of all since we have online dictionaries and Google™ literally right at our fingertips!]

Happy Veterans Day tomorrow. I’d like to say a special thank you to all our veterans, our active military, and our military spouses and families. Thank you all for your sacrifices.

Donna Bradley Burcher |Technical Editor, Advisory | jack henry™

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123

Pronouns she/her/hers

Symitar Documentation Services

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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