Let’s face it: you’re an idiot who can’t spell. Or, English is just such a mess of a language that even common words can be confusing. One of the two. The truth is, even otherwise-intelligent people have problems with spelling when words don’t follow the expected patterns, or are spelled really differently from their pronunciation. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the ten most frequently-misspelled common words.
This word has been all but destroyed by its other form, practice. Traditionally, practise is the verb and practice is the noun — you go to band practice so you can practise the skin flute. Almost everyone uses the noun form exclusively nowadays, but it’s worth remembering that the people still using practise aren’t wrong. They’re just irritating pedants.
Licence with a C is a noun and license with an S is a verb. This word seems to be doing the opposite of practise, in that the form with an S is starting to replace the form with a C. So while it’s acceptable to use license for all purposes, it’s worth remembering that most places outside the United States are calling it a licence — legally, at least.
For some reason, the noun form of the verb absorb is absorption. Apparently the bottom of the B was absorped during the transition.
This is one of the trickier spellings to remember, since there’s a wide variety of ways you could spell this that all seem to make perfect sense. Occurrence is the standard spelling that professionals expect, though, so keep it in mind. The best way I can think to remember it is to think of it like a camel: oCCuRRence. Two bumps!
Another camel word: aCCoMModate.
A lot of people seem to think this word has two Rs in it, presumably by association with embaRRaSS. Unfortunately for those people, harass is not a camel at all. Just remember: a good way to harass someone is to touch her ass.
The verb is pronounce, but the noun is not pronounciation. For the sake of easy pronunciation, the second O is dropped from the word pronunciation.
Is it ironic that misspell is so often written incorrectly as mispell? Yes. Just remember that the word comes from the prefix mis– plus the base word spell — then don’t proceed to misspell it.
You see every homophone of to misspelled, but too seems to be the most common. If I had a penny for every time I saw someone write “Me to”, I would probably have… a dollar or so. Put simply: use two for the number, too to mean also, and to for everything else. Really, you should never be making this mistake past grade two.
The granddaddy of misspelled words. Mischievously is so often misspelled and mispronounced as mischeviously that correcting people is almost pointless; it might as well just be the real word. It comes from the noun mischief, so the I comes before the E and the word is pronounced as it logically should be: MISS-chiv-us-lee — but don’t beat yourself up over it, because almost nobody is going to correct you.
If you have any more words you see frequently misspelled, post them in the comments below.