Spelling appears to be a small issue. However, it is considered to be one of the most difficult problems that we face in academics and business.
Poor spelling can affect your reputation in the business and if you are a student, your grades.
But do not fret! On this page, we will enumerate the most commonly misspelled words in English along with what causes them so you will not commit such mistakes. Keep reading.
British vs. American English Spelling
While both the United Kingdom and the United States speak the same language (English), no one can argue that the way some words are spelled differs significantly.
People frequently misinterpret the spelling of several terms and are unable to determine which is proper, resulting in mistakes that could have been avoided.
The primary distinction is that British English retains the spelling of terms borrowed from other languages, primarily French and German.
While American English spellings are primarily determined by how a word sounds when spoken.
Here are the differences between British English and American English spelling and a few examples for your reference.
1. Words that end in -re or -er
One of the most common English spelling mistakes is shown in this category of common English spelling mistakes.
For this reason, nouns ending in -re are more prevalent in British English than in American English, where the identical terms are usually spelled with -er.
|British English||American English|
2. Words that end in -ise or -ize and -yse or -yze
The sole distinction between American English and British English in this category, according to the Oxford dictionary, is that in American English, verbs are always spelled with -ize and -yze at the end, whereas in British English -ise and -yse is preferred.
|British English||American English|
3. Words that end in -our or -or
Another notable distinction is the British choose to add -our at the end of a word, while the Americans prefer to use a plain -or instead.
|British English||American English|
4. An extra -l
The occurrence of a second ‘l’ in some terms is another typical English spelling error.
This is more common in British English than in American English since Americans tend to skip it entirely.
|British English||American English|
5. Words with double vowels
In most circumstances, American English is simplified, and it appears that Americans feel that there is no need to add an extra letter where it does not appear to be required.
British English adds an extra vowel to several words in this circumstance as well.
|British English||American English|
6. Words that end in -ogue or -og
This is true for some nouns with this specific ending. In British English, they should be spelled with –ogue, but in American English, they should be spelled with –og.
|British English||American English|
7. Words that end in -ense or -ence
Some nouns in British English have a ‘c’ ending, but they have an ‘s’ ending in American English.
This is a typical writing error, but it is easy to avoid because these words do not have anything else to search for.
|British English||American English|
What are the Common Causes of Misspellings?
According to one survey, 43% of hiring managers dismiss a candidate’s CV if it contains spelling problems.
Another study found that spelling and grammatical errors were the main ‘deal breakers’ in job hunting for 79 percent of recruiters and human resource managers. This just goes to show how important spelling words correctly is.
Here are the most common causes of misspellings that you need to avoid so that your academic and professional life will not suffer.
One of the most common reasons for misspelling is mispronunciation.
As a result, when a word is mispronounced, the phonetic misspelling is widespread.
The word ‘realize’, for example, could be misspelled as ‘relise’.
2. Typing Errors
Because some people’s typing is not faultless, some spelling errors are introduced, such as:
- letters are doubled, or in the case of ‘betwween’ and ‘betweeen’, double letters are tripled
- letters are singled such as ‘between’
- keys are sometimes transposed, ‘because’ has become ‘becuase’
If two (or more) differently spelled words with distinct meanings are pronounced the same, they are homophones. This seems to be one of the major causes of misspellings as well.
Below are a few words that are often used incorrectly in place of their homophones.
- ‘advice’ instead of ‘advise’ or vice versa
- ‘affect’ instead of ‘effect’ or vice versa
- ‘breath’ instead of ‘breathe’ or vice versa
- ‘principal’ instead of ‘principle’ or vice versa
- ‘loose’ instead of ‘lose’ or vice versa
4. Personal Names
Personal names and surnames are spelled differently than standard English words: ‘balance’ and ‘John Balance’, ‘war’ and ‘Evelyn Waugh’ (if spoken without a rhotic accent); ‘marshal’ and ‘George Marshall’.
Of course, most personal names begin with a capital letter.
Furthermore, personal names have several spellings, such as ‘Catherine’, ‘Katharine’, and ‘Kathryn’, or ‘Stewart’ and ‘Stuart’, and a writer may not be aware of the right spelling of a specific individual’s name.
5. Foreign Writers
Someone who is used to a different spelling in another language may make a mistake in English; for example, ‘address’ is translated ‘adresse’ in German and French.
Many words from Spain are identical or similar to English ones, but with a ‘n’ is appended or a ‘m’ replaced, resulting in errors such as ‘inmigrant’ instead of ‘inmigrante’, ‘cementery’ instead of ‘cementerio’, and ‘confortable’ instead of ‘comfortable’.
To Germans, the English word ‘loss’ appears to be pronounced as ‘lose’, because a lone ‘s’ in German often sounds like an English ‘z’, while a lone ‘o‘ in English rarely sounds like ‘oo’.
A plural possessive form can cause some difficulty. When the singular is ‘book’s title’ and the plural is ‘books’ titles’, the plural can be ‘book’s or ‘books’s’. ‘Apple’s and pear’s’ can be written with an incorrect apostrophe (‘grocer’s apostrophe’ in Britain).
The apostrophe denotes the elided ‘o’, therefore ‘doesn’t’ could be misspelled ‘does’nt’.
7. Silent Consonants
Although this is a surprisingly common occurrence in English, spelling errors appear to be uncommon.
In fact, pronunciation issues, such as mispronouncing both ‘b’s in ‘bombing’, appear to be more common.
8. The spelling of Another Word
The noun ‘improvement’ is an example of a word spelled as the spelling of a closely related word would suggest; it simply adds to the verb ‘improve’s basic spelling without changing it.
The word formed from ‘maintain’, on the other hand, is ‘maintenance’ rather than ‘maintainance’, and as a result, it is often misspelled. This base spelling change is completely unpredictable; you only need to be aware of it.
9. Endings of the Same Word with Different Spellings
-Sion/-tion, -able/-ible, and -ent/-ant are three word ends that have different spellings.
With the first of these, choosing the correct spelling is not necessarily an issue because there are certain fairly clear rules, such as that verbs ending in -d, such as suspend, become nouns ending in -sion, such as ‘suspension’.
10. Words That are Difficult to Pronounce
There are times when struggling to speak a word correctly does not result in a spelling error, but this does not happen all the time.
Many East African language speakers, for example, have difficulty pronouncing the /ɪ/ sound in the middle of longish words like ‘discipline’, ‘hesitate’, ‘municipal’, ‘president’, and ‘studying’, as a result of which the corresponding letter is sometimes lost from the spelling.
What are the 100 Commonly Misspelled Words?
At one point or another, we have committed a spelling mistake.
Mistakes might be caused by a lack of proofreading time or a lack of understanding of proper spelling.
Sometimes it is because of a misunderstanding of how to use the word.
The examples provided here will assist you in staying on track.
|Correct Word||Meaning||Spelling Tip||Common Misspellings|
|accommodate||To provide a place to stay or enough space for||There is a double ‘c’ and a double ‘m’||accommodate|
|achieve||To succeed in completing something or achieving a goal, especially after a significant amount of effort||Remember that ‘i’ comes before ‘e’ except in ‘c’||acheive|
|across||From one end of the spectrum to the other||The ‘c’ is single||accross|
|address||The specifics of where someone lives or where an organization is located||There is a double ‘d’ and a double ‘s’||address|
|advice||Guidance or suggestions for sensible future action||If it is the noun, use ‘c’, if it is the verb, use ‘s’||advise|
|aggressive||Ready, willing, or able to attack or challenge||There is a double ‘g’ and a double ‘s’||aggressive|
|assassination||A murder committed in a surprise or covert strike, usually for political purposes||There are two double ‘s’es||assassination|
|awful||Very unpleasant or bad||Forget the ‘e’||aweful|
|beginning||The point in space or time when something begins to happen||There is only one ‘g’ but a double ‘n’, think of the root word ‘begin’||beggining|
|believe||To accept something as true||Remember that ‘i’ comes before ‘e’ except in ‘c’||beleive|
|breathe||To take air into the lungs and then expel it, particularly as a physiological process||There is an extra ‘e’ at the end if it is the verb, if it is the noun, forget the ‘e’||breath|
|business||The act of making a living through commerce is a common practice||The single ‘s’ comes before the double ‘s’||bussiness|
|careful||Ensuring that there is no danger, disaster, or harm; with caution||Be careful not to add an extra ‘l’||carefull|
|cemetery||A graveyard||There is no ‘a’ in cemetery||cemetary|
|chauffeur||A person who is compensated to drive a personal or rental vehicle||There are two ‘u’s; one after the ‘a’ and one after the ‘e’||chauffer|
|coming||Due to happen||There are no double letters||comming|
|committee||A group of people assigned to perform a specific task, usually made up of members of a larger group||There are three double letters; ‘m’, ‘t’ and ‘e’||committee|
|conscience||An voice or inner feeling that serves as a guidance to the correctness or incorrectness of one’s actions||Think of the prefix ‘con’ added to the word ‘science’||conscience|
|convenience||The state of being able to complete a task with minimal effort or difficulty||An ‘e’ follows the ‘v’, not an ‘i’||convinience|
|curiosity||A burning desire to study or know something||There is only one ‘u’||curiousity|
|decide||To come to a mental conclusion as a result of deliberation||There is no ‘s’||decide|
|definite||Not ambiguous or doubtful; plainly expressed or resolved||There are two ‘i’s in between the two ‘e’s||defenite|
|desperate||Feeling, displaying, or involving a dismal sensation that a situation is so horrible that it is unmanageable||There is only one ‘a’ – after the ‘r’||desparate|
|disappear||To stop being visible||Only one letter is doubled – ‘p’||dissappear|
|difference||A distinction between individuals or objects at a certain period or in a certain way||Do not forget the ‘e’ after the double ‘f’||diffrence|
|dilemma||A situation in which a difficult choice must be made between two or more options, particularly those that are both equally bad||Only the ‘m’ is doubled||dillema|
|discipline||The system of teaching people to abide by norms or a decorum by enforcing penalty for noncompliance||Do not forget the ‘s’ before the ‘c’ or the ‘c’ after the ‘s’||discipline|
|ecstasy||An overpowering sense of joy or joyous exhilaration||There is only one ‘c’ and two ‘s’s||ecstacy|
|embarrass||To experience discomfort, self-consciousness, or humiliation||There are two double letters – ‘r’ and ‘s’||embarrass|
|environment||The environment or circumstances in which a person, plant, or animal lives or works||Do not forget the ‘n’ after the ‘o’||enviroment|
|exaggerate||To give the impression that something is bigger, better, or worse than it is||Only the ‘g’ is doubled||exagerrate|
|excellent||Really good; exceptional||Do not forget the ‘c’ after the ‘x’ The letter ‘l’ is doubled||excellent|
|except||Not included||Do not forget the ‘c’ after the ‘x’||exept|
|excited||Extremely ecstatic and eager||Do not forget the ‘c’ after the ‘x’||exited|
|experiment||A technique used in science to create a discovery, test a hypothesis, or prove a known fact||The ‘i’ comes after the ‘r’||expirement|
|familiar||Well-known as a result of a long or intimate relationship||There are no double letters||familliar|
|finally||After a long period of time, usually with difficulty or delay||Only the ‘l’ is doubled; think of the root word ‘final’||finally|
|fluorescent||Vibrantly colored||Do not forget the ‘u’ after the ‘l’ and the ‘c’ after the ‘s’||florescent|
|foreign||Pertaining to or dealing with foreign countries||Remember that ‘i’ comes before ‘e’ except in ‘c’||foriegn|
|forty||Four tens||Forget the ‘u’||fourty|
|forward||Toward the front; in the direction one is facing or traveling||There is no ‘e’ after the first ‘r’||foreward|
|friend||A person who is not an opponent or on the same side||Remember that ‘i’ comes before ‘e’ except in ‘c’||freind|
|gauge||An apparatus or gadget that measures the size, quantity, or substance of anything, usually with a visual display of the results||Just like in the alphabet, ‘a’ comes before the ‘u’||guage|
|generally||Most of the time; typically||Only ‘l’ is doubled; think of the root word ‘general’||genneraly|
|glamorous||Excitingly appealing||Do not forget the ‘o’ after the ‘r’||glamorus|
|government||A nation’s, state’s, or community’s governing body||Do not forget the ‘n’ after the ‘r’||goverment|
|grateful||Thankfulness; feeling or expressing gratitude for kindness||An ‘a’ follows the ‘r’ – not an ‘e’||greatful|
|guarantee||Something that ensures a positive outcome||There is no ‘y’ Do not forget the ‘u’ after the ‘g’||guarantee|
|happiness||A state of mind characterized by feelings of happiness, contentment, and fulfillment||There are two double letters – ‘p’ and ‘s’;||hapiness|
|harass||To be subjected to coercion or intimidation||Only the ‘s’ is doubled||harrass|
|heroes||A person who is admired or idealized for their bravery, extraordinary accomplishments, or virtuous traits||Do not forget the ‘e’ before the ‘s’||heros|
|imitation||Something that attempts to imitate or mimic something else||There are no double letters||immitation|
|immediately||Instantly||The ‘m’ is doubledAn ‘e’ comes after the double ‘m’||immediately|
|incidentally||Used when someone has something else to say or is about to say something unrelated to the current topic||Do not forget the ‘a’ after the ‘t’||incidentlly|
|independent||Not relying on others for a living or sustenance||There is only one ‘i’; the beginning letter||indipendent|
|intelligent||Having or demonstrating a high level of intelligence||An ‘i’ follows the double ‘l’||intellegent|
|interesting||Arousing or maintaining someone’s interest in something; retaining or capturing someone’s attention||Do not forget the ‘e’ after the first ‘t’||intresting|
|interruption||A situation in which someone or something temporarily prevents something from happening||The ‘r’ is doubled||interuption|
|irrelevant||Not important since it has nothing to do with what is being discussed or considered||Only the ‘r’ is doubled||irrelevant|
|irresistible||Too appealing and enticing to refuse||An ‘i’ follows the ‘t’ – not an ‘a’||irresistable|
|length||The length or measurement of something from beginning to end; a body’s greater of two or greatest of three dimensions||Do not forget the ‘g’ after the ‘n’||lenth|
|lightning||A natural electrical discharge with a very short duration and high voltage that occurs within a cloud, usually accompanied by a blinding flash and thunder||Do not forget the ‘n’ after the ‘t’||lighting|
|losing||The act of being defeated in a game or contest; suffering||There is only one ‘o’||loosing|
|medicine||A substance or preparation used to treat or prevent disease, particularly a medicine or drugs administered orally||An ’i’ follows the ‘d’ – not an ‘e’||medecine|
|millennium||A ten-thousand-year period||There are two double letters – ‘l’ and ‘n’||millennium|
|miniature||A little duplicate or model, especially one that is substantially smaller than typical||Do not forget the ‘a’ after ‘mini’||miniture|
|necessary||Required to be done, accomplished, or present||Only the ‘s’ is doubled||necessary|
|noticeable||Plain or obvious; easily seen or noticed||Remember the words ‘notice’ and ‘able’ put together||noticeble|
|occasion||A specific moment or occurrence of an event||Only the ‘c’ is doubled||occasion|
|occurred||Took place||Two letters are doubled – ‘c’ and ‘r’||occured|
|official||Pertaining to a government agency or public body’s tasks, actions, and obligations||The ‘f’ is doubled||oficial|
|omission||The act of leaving something or someone out or excluding them||Only the ‘s’ is doubled||ommision|
|parallel||Side by side, with the same distance between them all the time||Only the ‘l’ is doubled||parallel|
|peculiar||Odd or strange; unusual||There are no double letters||peculliar|
|perceive||To become aware of or mindful of something; to comprehend or recognize||Remember that ‘i’ comes before ‘e’ except in ‘c’||percieve|
|possession||Owning, or controlling something is the state of having, owning, or controlling anything||There are two double ‘s’es||possession|
|preferred||To like one item or person over another or others||Only the ‘r’ is doubled||preferred|
|prejudice||Predetermined notions that are not founded on logic or experience||A ‘c’ follows the ‘i’ – not an ‘s’||prejudise|
|privilege||A unique right, benefit, or immunity bestowed on or available to a single individual or group||There is no ‘d’An ‘i’ follows the ‘v’ – not an ‘e’||privilege|
|professional||Pertaining to or being a member of a profession||Only the ‘s’ is doubled||professional|
|pronunciation||The way a word is pronounced||Do not put an ‘o’ after the first ‘n’||pronounciation|
|really||In reality, rather than what is claimed or thought to be true or possible||The ‘l’ is doubled||realy|
|receive||To be provided, presented with, or compensated with||Remember that ‘i’ comes before ‘e’ except in ‘c’||recieve|
|recommend||To put someone or something forth as being appropriate for a specific purpose or duty||Only the ‘m’ is doubled||recommend|
|referred||To imply or make a reference to||Only the ‘r’ is doubled||referred|
|religious||Relating to a pious order or other group of individuals who share a common religious practice||Do not forget the ‘i‘ after the ‘g’||religous|
|resistance||The unwillingness to accept or comply with anything; the action or argument used to try to prevent something from happening||An ‘a’ follows the ‘t’ – not an ‘e’||resistence|
|separate||Developing or being seen as a separate unit or by itself||An ‘a’ follows the ‘p’ – not an ‘e’||seperate|
|successful||Achieving a goal or objective||Two letters are doubled – ‘c’ and ‘s’||succesful|
|therefore||As a result; thus||Do not forget the ‘e’ at the end||therefor|
|threshold||The size or intensity that must be exceeded in order for a particular reaction, phenomenon, result, or situation to occur or exhibit itself||Do not double the ‘h’ after the ‘s’||threshhold|
|tomorrow||The day after today||The ‘r’ is doubled – not the ‘m’||tommorow|
|tongue||A mammal’s fleshy muscular organ used for tasting, licking, ingesting, and (in humans) producing speech||The ‘u’ comes after the ‘g’ – not after the ‘o’||tounge|
|truly||In a sincere manner||The ‘l’ is not doubled||trully|
|until||Up until the given point in time or occurrence||The ‘l’ is not doubled||untill|
|vicious||Willfully brutal or violent||There is only one ‘s’ – at the end||viscious|
|weird||Implying something supernatural; bizarre||The ‘e’ comes after the ‘w’ – not after the ‘r’||wired|
|wherever||In any place; regardless of where you are||There are no double letters||whereever|
|whether||Expressing apprehension or a decision between two options||Do not forget the ‘h’ after the ‘w’||wether|
|writing||The act or talent of writing down a set of comprehensible words on paper and putting them together into a text||The ‘t’ is not doubled||writting|
Why Do Proper Spelling Matter in Writing?
While some spelling errors are harmless and funny, the majority are not. Not only may a simple error make us appear less smart than we really are.
Poor spelling can lead to misunderstandings, a lack of clarity, and, in extreme circumstances, millions of dollars in lost sales and job prospects.
It has the potential to sabotage our business and as a student, your chances of getting good grades could be jeopardized.
Needless to say, it is important that we be extremely careful when it comes to spelling, as this could seriously affect our personal and professional life.
Additional FAQs — Commonly Misspelled Words
What is the #1 Misspelled Word?
Based on 2020 research, the most commonly misspelled word is ‘quarantine’.
To a point, there are even people who spell it as ‘corn teen’.
Which Spelling Should I Use: British English or American English?
While both spellings are accepted almost everywhere, it is advised that you lean towards the spelling being followed or preferred in the university/company/country you are in.
For example, if you are in Australia, you should stick to British English spelling as it is one of the countries that follow British English spelling.
Does Spelling Matter in English Proficiency Exams?
Spelling plays a crucial role in your IELTS marks but not as much in the TOEFL and Duolingo tests.
The TOEFL and Duolingo examiners are keener on the content of your answers rather than the spelling, but it is important to note that poor spelling will surely affect your marks in these three exams.
Additional Reading — ENGLISH GRAMMAR
- What is British English?
- What is American English?
- What is Canadian English?
- What is Australian English?
- 30+ Tips to Speak English Without Grammar Mistakes
- What Are Idioms?
- What Are Verbs?
- What Are Nouns?
- What Are Adjectives?
- What Are Pronouns?
- What Are Adverbs?
- What Are Tenses?
- What Are Punctuation Marks?
- What Are Prepositions?
- What Are Loanwords?
- What are Phrasal Verbs?
- What Are Collocations?
- What Are Conjunctions?
- What are Modals?
- What is Subject-Verb Agreement?
- What Are Sentence Structures?
- What Are Sentence Parts?
- What are Sentence Functions?
- What Are Clauses?
- What are the Common Slang Words in the English Language?