Commonly Misspelled Words

Commonly Misspelled Words

A commonly misspelled word is a word that is often unintentionally misspelled in a text. Some words in the English language are more problematic than others; that is, their spelling and pronunciation tend to be challenging for many non-native as well as native English speakers and writers. Therefore, some words are more susceptible to be misspelled than other words. In this article, we are going to look at some of the reasons why words get misspelled as well as what are the commonly misspelled words in general.

Why Do Words Get Misspelled?

Pronunciation is one of the main reasons for the misspelling of words. This is because English is not a phonetic language; there is no direct connection between spelling and pronunciation. Therefore, many words are not pronounced the same way as it is written.

Some words have the same spelling but different pronunciations. Heteronyms and homographs are examples of this type of words.

For example,

  1. He forgot to read the letter. → Read [ri:d]
  2. He read the whole book. → Read [rɛd]
  1. It was made of lead. → Lead [lɛd]
  2. He was born to lead. → Lead [liːd]

Some words have the same pronunciation but different meanings. Heterographs, homophones are examples of this category.

  1. He slipped on a stair.
  2. It’s rude to stare.        
  1. He doesn’t like to pray.
  2. The tiger caught a prey.

Prefixes and suffixes that are attached to the root of the word are sometimes written with different spellings but have the same pronunciation. Likewise, affixes or word parts that have the same pronunciation sometimes have different spellings.

Same Pronunciation, Different Spelling:

The suffixes –ance and –ence are pronounced as / -əns/. This is why many spelling mistakes can be seen in words that contain this suffix.

For example,

absence as absance

guidance as guidence

occurrence as occurance

acceptable as accepteble

Word endings -ory, -ery, and -ary are another example of this kind of mistake. People often write,

Category as categery 

cemetery as cemetary

Boundary as boundery

Machinery as machinary etc.

Same Spelling, Different Pronunciations:

“ough” letter combination can be seen in some commonly used words like though, rough, thought, cough, ought. But the pronunciation of this letter combination is different in each word.

Though is pronounced as /ðəʊ/ (like o in go)

Rough is pronounced as /rʌf/ (like uff in buffer)

Cough is pronounced as /kɒf/ (like off in offer)

Ought is pronounced as /ɔːt/ (like aw in craw)

Commonly Misspelled Words

Silent letters are another confusing area in spellings. Silent letters, as their name implies, are letters that are not pronounced, but they are very much present in the pronunciation. Castle, fascinate, feign, psychiatrist, solemn are examples of such words.

Words with double letters are also a tricky area in writing. This is yet another area where many people make mistakes. Addition of an unnecessary letter or an omission of a necessary letter is a common mistake by many writers. Given below are some examples of such words.

Imitate as immitate

Aggressive as agressive

Caribbean as Carribbean

Immediately as imidiately

possession as posession

harass as harrass

disappoint as dissapoint

necessary as neccesary

parallel as parelel

tomorrow as tommorrow

personnel as personel

coolly as cooly

fulfill as fullfil

occurred as occured

questionnaire as questionaire

millennium as millenium

embarrass as embarass

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