It took Y2K for me to finally have to learn out to spell millennium, and I’ve kept a list of other words that have bedeviled me over the years – plus a few memory joggers on how to spell them correctly. I’ve added some from other list. If you have other favorite (or hated) words that have worn our your spell checker, email them to me and I may include them on my list:
Accessible –ible, not able
Accommodate – two C’s, Two M’s
Allege – there’s no ledge there.
Amend – Just one M
Apparent – Not “apparant” with an A
Argument – No sense fighting over an E
Barbecue – no Q, no hyphens. Don’t spell it like the roadside vendors do.
Bookkeeper – the Keeper of BooKs has two K’s
Calendar – think A-E-A – a vowel sandwich
Camouflage – “Camo” and “flage” hides U in the middle
Caribbean – A great place to be be.
Catalog – no UE at the end
Cemetery – All vowels are E’s
Chili, chilly – The first is hot; the second is cold. (Or “I” is hot.)
Collectible – it’s an “ible.” Live with it.
Commitment – one T in the middle
Conscience, conscious, conscientious – Conscience is your sense of right and wrong. Conscious is when you are away. Conscientious is doing things with a sense of responsibility.
Criticize – No S. Remember that it’s coming from the critiC, with a C on the end
Defendant – with an “ant”
Dependent – not dependant
Desert, dessert – One is sandy; two is candy
Dumbbell – Dumb plus bell. Don’t be a dumbell.
Echo, echoes –
Embarrassment – two R’s, two S’s
Espresso – You’re not expressing anything, so X the X. (One of my favorite political bloggers in Arizona is EspressoPundit.com. It took me repeatedly landing at ExpressoPundit.com to learn this correct spelling.)
Exaggerate – exaggerate the G’s
February – Feb, are you ary?
Fiery – You’d think firey, but it’s not
Foresee – as it to see before
Fourth, but forty – who knows why
Grammar – not grammer
Grateful – not greatful
Harass – One R, two S’s
Heinous – Pronounced “Hay-ness,” not “Hay-nee-us”
Hemorrhage – or just write “bleeds a lot.”
Inoculate – one “N”
Irrelevant – not irrevelant
Judgment – no E in the middle; it’s not judgement
Kindergarten – With a “T.” Kindergarten is no rose garden
Liaison – Revenge of the French; another vowel sandwich (i-a-i)
Lightning – that’s the dangerous bright flashes out of the sky. Lightening would refer to a load.
Likable – No E
Lose, loose – To lose is to be defeated or to misplace. Loose is the opposite of tight. They are misused often.
Maintenance – It comes from “maintain,” but that’s how it’s spelled
Memento – it seems like it should be momento, but it’s not
Millennium – Until 2000, we didn’t use this word much. Remember the double consonants: two L’s and two N’s.
Minuscule – think of “minus” plus “cule” – whatever a cule us.
Miscellaneous – sounding it out helps: Mis – cell – an- e – ous
Misspelled – it’s “mis” plus“spelled,” hence two S’s.
Occasion – two C’s, one S
Occurred – two R’s
Occurrence – No A in the final syllable
Oriented – not orientated
Parallel – the parallel lines (the double L’s) go in the middle
Parliament – “I am” in the middle of Parliament
Pastime – As if to demonstrate the language’s inconsistency, it’s NOT “past” plus “time,” it’s pastime. One T.
Pavilion – No double L’s
Perseverance – there’s a “sever” in the middle
Playwright – They couldn’t figure out if it should be playwrite or playright, so it’s both.
Potato (but potatoes) – insert lame Quayle joke here
Practically – not practicly
Principal, principle Principal is the owner — or the guy chasing Ferris Buehler; principle is the underlying logic.
Privilege – Note the vowels and the absence of a D.
Proceed, but procedure
Publicly – You have no “ally” in the public.
Questionnaire – Double N’s.
Queue, cue – Queue is a line. Cue is a stick.
Raise, raze – To raise is to put it up. To raze is to take it down.
Reign, rain, rein – The king reigns. The rain falls on the plain. Reins guide the horses.
Remembrance – not rememberance
Ridiculous – not Rediculous
Sacrilegious – It sounds like Sac-religious, but it’s not spelled that way.
Satellite – T – double L – T
Savvy – two V’s
Separate – with an “A” in the middle (or A rat in the middle, if that helps remember it)
Shepherd – We had a dog named Shep who would herd the cows.
Sheriff – One R, two F’s
Sophomore – not sophmore. Think of an open mouth in the middle.
Subtle – Sub-tle
Supersede – No C
Thorough, though – Thorough is complete. Through is where it goes from A to B.
Truly – No E
Vacuum – Double U’s
Valleys – not vallies
Weather-whether. Weather is the temperature and precipitation, whether you like it or not.
Weird – Yes, it’s I before E, except after C. But this one is weird.
Wherever – Just one E in the middle
Yield – I before E
Zoology – Studying animals, like in a zoo (only it’s pronounced “zoh” or Homer Simpson’s “Doh!”)
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