All Women's Talk

9 Simple but Commonly Most Misspelled Words ...

By Alison

Commonly misspelled words include some that are confused with similar-sounding words, and others that we just can´t get right. These commonly misspelled words may be understandably difficult, or they can be a result of not thinking about the correct use. Here are some of the most misspelled words in the English language …

1 Their/ There/ They´re

These words are known as homophones, a homophone being a word that sounds like another but has a different spelling. The English language seems to be full of them! Even native speakers can be just as confused by this as students of English as a foreign language.

2 Lose/Loose

This should be simple. Lose = verb, loose = adjective. But plenty of people don´t seem able to tell the difference. Funnily enough, they usually use loose in place of lose, yet not the other way round. I wonder why that is?


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3 Prejudice

This is one of my personal commonly misspelled words. My spelling is usually excellent, but there are a handful that I just can´t get right. With ´prejudice´, I never can remember if the letter j comes first, or the d. It´s so infuriating!

4 Twelfth

Oh, that awkward little f, hiding there in the middle of twelfth. Foreigners are invariable confused by the peculiarities of English spelling, but this word must be one of the worst for them. Presumably the f is there as the v of twelve wouldn´t work (twelvth?).

5 Privilege

Privilege, by contrast, is one of those words that is often given an extra letter by confused spellers. That´s because it sounds as though there should be a d (as in words like bridge). Others spell it ´privilige´. Those vowel sounds can be really bewildering!

6 Weird

Of all commonly misspelled words, this must be in the top five. Here, the culprit is probably the rule we (or at least, those of us of a certain age) were taught - ´I before e, except after c´. The problem is that there are many exceptions, and weird is one of them.

7 Irresistible

Many of the most misspelled words end in the suffix –ible. They sound as though they should be pronounced –able, hence the common confusion with their spelling. Try saying irresistible out loud a few times, and you´ll see what I mean.

8 Caribbean

One of the spelling problems often experienced is knowing where a consonant should be doubled, and where it is single. Or is it both? Should it be Carribbean, Carribean, or Caribbean? Often you can look at a word for ages and still not be able to work out which is correct. Thank god for spell check!

9 It´s/ Its

Another homophone that leaves many people confused. There´s a very simple way to get it right though. It´s is a contraction of ´it is´, and the apostrophe is there to mark a missing letter. Its is the possessive pronoun - ´its absence was noticeable´.

No matter how good our spelling is, everyone falls prey to at least one of the most misspelled words from time to time. Plus we all have one (or several) words that we just can´t get right, no matter how many times we look them up! Do you have a mental block with any commonly misspelled words – or is there something that should be easy to spell that you always get wrong?

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