From Word Genius
Take a look at Google Trends data, and there’s a variety of words popping up with the search phrase “how to spell.” In Kansas, folks want to study “multiplycation.” In Washington D.C. there’s an interest in pharaohs, but they struggle with spelling it “paraoh” or “pharoh.” In many states, they definitely don’t know how to spell “definitly,” “definately,” or “defiantly.” And in Nebraska and both Dakotas, they believe it’s spelled “beleive.”
Good news; several of the most misspelled words fall into a few different, identifiable categories. Here are tricks to help with your spelling.
Appearing at both the beginning and within words, silent letters are likely left over from the way a word was once pronounced, according to Paul Fanning, author of Grammar Practice for Professional Writing and Secrets of English Grammar and blogger at Guinlist. Because languages undergo a natural evolution, the pronunciations changed, but the letters remained. Fanning writes that 75% of English consonant letters sometimes appear in the spelling of a word without being pronounceable. Some of the most misspelled words in this category include:
When a word has more than one pair of consonants, people find it tricky to remember which letters are repeated. Commonly misspelled double-consonant pairs include:
One of the best-known spelling rules from elementary school is “‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c.’” However, there are almost as many exceptions as there are words to fit this rule. These rule-breakers are among the most misspelled words:
Sometimes words are just hard to spell, and there’s no special rule to remember. If you have a hard time with certain words, try looking them up each time to memorize them. Keep these trickster words close at hand in your dictionary bookmarks.
One of the non-medical side effects of the pandemic was a new vocabulary — but it seemed a little tricky to spell. In the last year, Google Trends shows a spike in “how to spell” searches for variations on “quarantine” and “Coronavirus.” Some of the most creative options include “corn teen,” and caronavirus.”