Commonly misspelled words

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

Acknowledge –

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.

Colonel –

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”

Definite –

Dilemma —

Dependent – not dependant

Desert, dessert – One is sandy; two is candy

Disastrous —

Dumbbell – Dumb plus bell. Don’t be a dumbell.

Echo, echoes –

Ecstasy —

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 It took me repeatedly landing at 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.”

Hygiene –

Inoculate – one “N”

Irrelevant – not irrevelant

Judgment – no E in the middle; it’s not judgement

Khaki –

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.

Luxurious –

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

Pamphlets –

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.

Phenomenon –

Pneumonia –

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

Renaissance –

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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3 Responses to Commonly misspelled words

  1. Craig Tribken says:

    someday I would like to know if a flier is a pamphlet and a flyer is a bird or if flyer can be both…..I suspect I had it write the first time  

    Craig Tribken Central Arizona Shelter Services Arizona Housing, Inc. 

    home address: 914 W. Glendale Ave. Apt. 18  Phoenix, AZ 85020 (602) 418-5134


    >________________________________ > From: >To: >Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 7:27 AM >Subject: [New post] Commonly misspelled words > > > > >PartnerChats posted: “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 f” >

  2. Iona Nerissa says:

    Reblogged this on Burning the Root and commented:
    I found many words here that have stumped me over the years. Excellent list!

  3. Bill says:

    How about an article on lie, lay, etc
    How about grouping spelling problems into smaller, similar problems

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