The Most Often Mispelled Misspelled Words in English

The alphaDictionary has now provided a one-stop cure for all your spelling ills. Here are the words most often misspelled (misspell is one of them). Each word comes with a drop of memory medicine that will help you to remember how to spell the word. Master the orthography of the words on this page and reduce the stress on your spellchecker. You will also write better when there is no spellchecker around.

Once you have finished studying this list test your spelling skills with Miss Spelling's Sure Cure for Misspelled Words Game!

Spelling Memory Medicine
• A •
a while It should only take a little while to learn that this expression is two words, not one.
acceptable Unfortunately, there is no rule that predicts when to use -able and when to use -ible. But if you can accept a table in a cafe, you should be able to remember this one.
accidentally It is no accident that, if an adjective may end on the suffix -al, this suffix must be in the adverb—that is the al-rule. Theatric may be theatrical, so the adverb must be theatrically. No publical, then publicly is OK.
accommodate This word is large enough to accommodate two Cs and two Ms. Don't forget.
accordion Since accordions do not come from Accordia, you spell the ending on this word, -i-o-n, not -i-a-n.
acquire You should acquire the habit of adding a silent C before the Q in this word.
acquit Don't quit before adding a C before the Q in this word, either.
a lot If you allot some time learning that this expression is two words, you should master it after a while.
altar Be sure you do not alter (change) the spelling of altar when writing about churches.
amateur Amateurs may or may not be mature but you always spell these two words differently.
apparent It should be apparent to all that apparent has two Ps and a parent in it.
argument The silent E on the end of this word can't argue with a suffix bigger than it is, so it gets out of argument.
atheist Remember religiously that this word is built on the same -the- "god" that we find in theology.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• B •
believe You must believe the "I-before-E rule": that I comes before E except after C or when it is pronounced like "a" as neighbor and weigh. However, beware of exceptions like foreign below.
bellwether A bellwether is not a bell that predicts the weather but a gelded ram (= a wether) with a bell around his neck, chosen to lead the herd by virtue of the greater likelihood that he will remain ahead of the ewes.
broccoli You don't have to like broccoli to spell it correctly with two Cs and one L.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• C •
calendar You might put a review of this word on your calendar: remind yourself that it ends with -ar, not -er.
camouflage Even though we shorten this word to camo, we should always remember U in the middle of the full form.
cantaloupe Here is another place we often forget U: don't be misled by signs that say 'Lopes for sale'.
Caribbean As any Carib bean tells you, this word has one R and two Bs.
category Spelling category like catastrophe isn't catastrophic but it could be embarrassing.
cemetery Don't let this word bury you: except for the final Y, the only vowel in it is E.
changeable The silent E on change is able to live with the suffix -able, so it remains to remind us that the G is soft, pronounced like J. (See also noticeable.)
chili You'll never find a chilly chili but do keep their spelling straight: chili in the US, chilli elsewhere in the English-speaking world.
collectible Even if you collect tables, what you collect is collectible, with an I. Unfortunately, there is no rule for this one.
colonel There is more than a kernel of truth in the claim that colonel is pronounced exactly like kernel—but spelled colonel.
column E is not the only letter in English that can be silent: column has a silent N.
committed Let's hope you are committed to learning the double-consonant rule, that consonants at the end of a verb preceded by accented vowels are usually doubled when you add -ed (or -ing or -er): nab - nabbed, nap - napped, knit - knitted.
conscience No one with a conscience would try to con science. SCI is often pronounced [ch] after an N.
conscientious Here is a word where both SCI and TI are pronounced [ch] after an N. Be a conscientious speller and remember that.
conscious I hope that by now you are conscious of the fact that SCI after N is pronounced [ch] in English.
consensus The consensus (majority opinion) is that the census is a good idea, even though they are not spelled alike.
coolly You will coolly spell this word correctly if you remember that it is the adjective cool with the adverb suffix -ly.
cupboard Just because we don't hear the P in this word when we pronounce it [kuhburd], doesn't mean it's not there.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• D •
daiquiri After a few of these, you could forget that the name of this Cuban village contains 5 vowels, including 3 Is.
definite(ly) This word definitely sounds like it ends on T but that is because the E behind it remains silent no matter what.
descendant This word may also be spelled descendent but this spelling usually indicates an adjective (a descendent vine) while a person in a family tree is a descendant of his or her ancestors.
desiccate Don't let memory dry up when spelling this word: double the C and not the S.
deterrence Four common English words ending on an accented vowel + R, double the R before the suffixes -ence and -ent: deterrence, abhorrence, occurrence, and concurrence.
discipline A little discipline in spelling habits will help you remember the silent C in the middle and silent E on the end of this word.
drunkenness Even sober writers sometimes forget one of the Ns in this word.
dumbbell Be careful calling someone else a dumbbell in your e-mails unless you remember both Bs.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• E •
embarrass(ment) This word has an embarrassment of Rs and Ss—two of each.
equipment This word is easier to spell than you think if you avoid sticking a T between the P and the M: not equiptment!
exceed Exceed all expectations and master spelling this word like proceed but not like precede or supersede below.)
exhilarate Just think of the exhilaration knowing that you are one of those good writers who know this word contains an H.
existence Putting an A rather than an E before the NCE in this word can make your existence miserable.
experience Avoid the embarrassing experience of spelling this word with an A before the final NCE, too.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• F •
fiery The final E in fire jumped over the R to get away from the Y. Wouldn't you?
foreign The I-before-E rule is foreign to the spelling of foreign.
fulfill Full is not fully spelled in this word but fill is.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• G •
gauge Learn to gauge the positions of the A and U in this word; they are in alphabetical order.
grateful The spelling grateful greatful grates on the eyes. Spelling it grateful is great.
guarantee I guarantee you that this word does not end like warranty and warranty does not end like guarantee.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• H •
handkerchief Remember that handkerchiefs go in your hand and not on your head and you won't forget the silent D. The I-before-E rule works in this word.
harass Don't let the single R in this word harass you—only double the S.
height English reaches the height (not heighth!) of absurdity when it spells "height" and "width" so differently—and ignores the I-before-E rule.
hierarchy The I-before-E rule works in this word, just as it does in hieroglyph.
humorous Humor us by spelling this word humorous: don't forget the O and the U and no one will say, "Forget you!"
hypocrisy It isn't just hype to say this word has nothing to do with hippos: it's hip to spell it hypocrisy.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• I •
ignorance Don't let ignorance becloud the fact that this word ends on -ance, not -ence.
imitate Be sure not to imitate those who write this word with two As rather than two Is.
immediate This word contains two Ms in immediate proximity of each other—side by side.
incredible It is simply incredible that there is no rule that tells us when to use -ible and when to use -able. Just remember: incredible.
independent There is no independent way to spell this word: it ends on -ent not -ant.
indispensable The A in the suffix -able is indispensable if you want to spell this word correctly.
inoculate You should inoculate yourself against the temptation to double any letter in this word.
intelligence Let's use our intelligence to remember the double L in this word and the ending -ence.
its/it's Sometimes it's hard to remember that it's is a contraction of it is or it has while its means "belonging to it", as in, "It's too bad that its leg is broken."
Spelling Memory Medicine
• J •
jewelry Jewelry is made by a jeweler but the ending Y is a thief that pilfers the E from ER. If you use British spelling, please double the L: jeweller and jewellery. (See also pronunciation.)
just deserts We would not get our just deserts if we ate just desserts for our meals. Deserts with one S means "that which is deserved", as is dessert when we finish our vegetables.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• K •
kernel There is more than a kernel of truth in the claim colonel is spelled peculiarly to be pronounced the same as kernel. English spelling can be chaotic.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• L •
leisure We can't leisurely apply the I-before-E rule to this word: it does not follow it.
liaison The A is a liaison between the I's in this word. It has three—count them—three vowels in a row.
library Pronouncing this word correctly helps with the spelling: you will find no berry in library.
license We'll give you a license to spell this word with both letters for the sound "s": C and S.
lightning Even though lightning is capable of lightening the sky, it contains no E.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• M •
maintenance Help us maintain the correct spelling of maintenance by never forgetting the E in the middle: maintain but maintenance.
maneuver Always maneuver a EU into the middle of this word and, if you live outside the US, OEU: the British spelling of this word is manoeuver.
marshmallow No matter how mellow your marshmallow gets, it is still spelled with two As and an O, no Es.
medieval Take this memory med to remember that the adjective referring to the Middle Ages begins with MED and follows the I-before-E rule.
memento Don't hesitate a moment to spell this word with two Es and one O.
millennium Never in a thousand years could we spell millennium with fewer that two Ls and two Ns.
miniature It is only a miniature task to write (and pronounce) the A in the middle of this word.
minuscule And it is but a minuscule task to remember that minuscule begins with a minus.
mischievous It would be very mischievous to ignore the I-before-E rule when spelling this word.
misogyny Of course, we all love women but the word for hating them ends on the same gyn- that we see in gynecology.
missile You can send a missal to your friend about launching a missile; just keep the missile in its silo.
misspell Misspelling misspell can be embarrassing, so remember both Ss and both Ls.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• N •
nauseous This word has enough vowels to make you nauseous, another one with three vowels in a row, this time in alphabetical order.
neighbor Just remember: the neigh of a horse plus -bor and you will always spell this word correctly in the US. If you use British spelling, spell this word neighbour.
necessary It is necessary to use two Ss but only one C to write this word right every time.
no one Let no one tell you this is one word; it is always two.
noticeable Don't forget to leave the final E of notice on before the suffix -able so everyone will know the C is soft (pronounced like S. See also changeable.)
Spelling Memory Medicine
• O •
occasion Now is a good occasion to remember that this word has two Cs and one S.
occasionally Ditto for this word but also remember the al-rule: if an adjective may end on -al, its adverb must contain -al before -ly.
occurrence Never forget the two occurrences of C and the two occurrences of R in this word. (See other words that double R before -ence.)
overween Since this verb does not mean to breastfeed too long but to be arrogant and presumptuous, it comes from ween, not wean.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• P •
pastime Even though a pastime is a good way to pass time, you only need one S to spell it correctly.
perseverance Too much perseverance of the E is bad for the spelling of this word: all Es except the next to the last. Also notice that there is no R before the V.
personnel Funny Story: The assistant Vice-President of Personnel notices that his boss, the Vice-President himself, upon arriving at his desk each morning, opens a small locked box, looks inside, smiles, and locks it up again. Some years later when the assistant is promoted to his boss's position, he comes to work early one morning and opens the secret box to see what was inside. He finds a single piece of paper on which is written: "Two Ns, one L." That's the way you spell personnel.
pigeon If you aren't speaking pidgin English, you must spell pigeon without a D and with an -eon.
playwright If you play right, you are a right player but folks who write plays were first called "play-makers" or, to use the word of the time, playwrights, like cartwrights, wagonwrights, wheelwrights.
plenitude It takes a plenitude of self-restraint to resist the temptation of including a T in this word: plenty but plenitude.
possession The word possession possesses more Ss than a snake—four altogether.
precede Coming before is to precede; coming after is to succeed. Don't you love the consistency of English spelling? Precede is spelled like accede, antecede, concede, intercede, recede, and secede, but not like proceed or supersede.
principal Just remember your principal is a prince and a pal in principle, especially if your principal is a man or woman of principles.
privilege Consider it a privilege to know that this word contains two I's in a row followed by two Es.
proceed You may proceed to the spelling of precede and supersede once you know that this word is spelled like three others: exceed, proceed, and succeed.
pronunciation The pronunciation of pronunciation is not like that of pronounce—nor is the spelling.
publicly The al-rule works here, too: if publical is impossible, the adverb will be publicly.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• Q •
queue This word sets a record: four vowels in a row forming a double UE! And speaking of rows, it refers to a line you stand. We pronounced the same as cue.
questionnaire Double up on the Ns in this word and don't forget the silent E on the end. This is another French word causing problems for English spelling.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• R •
raspberry If you can remember that the skin of a raspberry looks a little like a rasp, it will help you to remember the SP in this word that sounds like Z.
receive/receipt The I-before-E rule works on all words ending in -ceive, including this one, deceive, perceive, and conceive.
recommend We strongly recommend that you write this word with two Ms but only one C.
referred According to the double-consonant rule, single consonants at the end of verbs usually double before -ed if preceded by an accented vowel.
reference Reference contains only one vowel, E. The R is not doubled before -ence because the er is not accented as it is in deterrence.
relevant The A in this word is very relevant to its spelling; do not replace it with E. Of course, the L always precedes the V even though revelant looks like a real word.
restaurant Restaurants aren't for resters, so you don't spell it that way. The middle of this word is AU as in Australia.
rhyme This word was originally spelled rime but not any more; it looked so much like rhythm that ancients decided it should be spelled that way.
rhythm This word was borrowed from Greek (and never returned) so the R sound is spelled the Greek way, RH.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• S •
sandal Sandals won't keep out the sand, Al, but if you spell the word with two As, you will at least spell it correctly.
schedule School should schedule a time to learn how to spell this word since school and schedule start on the same letters. Outside the US, this word is pronounced [shedjule], not [skedjule].
scissors See the C in scissors? You can't snip it out when you spell this word.
seize Pronounced like two Cs, this word roundly breaks the I-before-E rule.
separate Never forget that two As separate the Es when spelling separate.
sergeant The sergeant's nickname is Sarge but his full name is sergeant. (Don't ask why.)
succeed If you want to succeed in this world, you must learn how to spell succeed. Remember, it is spelled double C and double E, like proceed but not like precede and supersede.
supersede This word supersedes all others in spelling perversity. Spelling words like proceed and precede raise problems enough. The good news is, this is the only English word like these spelled -sede.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• T •
their/they're/there Their pronunciation is the same but not their spelling. Possessive their means "belonging to them" and they're is a contraction of "they are". That leaves there for everywhere else.
threshold This one can looks like a compound thresh + hold but it isn't. Two Hs in the middle of this word pushes you over the threshold of bad spelling.
tomorrow One M and two Rs yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
turmeric This word for an antioxident spice has suffered enough. It was originally Old French terre-merite and has already been reduced to turmeric. Don't make it suffer any more.
twelfth Remember the little elf in the middle of twelfth and you should write this word right every time.
tyranny Remember how tyrant is spelled and the correct spelling of tyranny follows. Of course, we mustn't forget to double the N.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• U •
until I won't stop saying that this word ends on only one L until everyone is spelling it correctly!
Spelling Memory Medicine
• V •
vacuum A vacuum holds a large volume of dust but the two words do not end the same.
Spelling Memory Medicine
• WXYZ •
weather In good weather or bad, we must write an A after the WE.
weird It's so weird to see how this word breaks the I-before-E rule.
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