Most Commonly Misspelled Words

By Kimberly Bowen
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I was driving through the city the other day and passed a road construction sign that told of roadwork that would be happening in "Augest." As I drove past it, I did a double take. Augest? How did no one catch that? Well, I'm sure since it was posted many drivers had noticed, but how had the construction workers not noticed? August is a common word. I mean, it's the name of a month so you'd think that at least one person would have caught the error, right?

Now, most of us probably have some words that we have trouble remembering how to spell. The English language has many rules, but there are as many exceptions as there are rules. So spelling in English requires a lot of memorization.

Most of the time we have a spell-checker to help identify words we misspell, but in times when it's up to us to remember how to spell a particular word, it's important to have as many words as we can memorized and ready for use. So to aid in this cause, below are some of the most common words that adults misspell. And since we don't want you to misspell them anymore, we've included some ideas for how you can remember their correct spelling. If you have more than a few words you're not confident spelling, you can use spelling software to improve your skills.

Embarrass, embarrassing and embarrassment – When you do something that's so embarrassing that you want to hide, the more you can hide behind, the better you seem to feel. Remember this word has two Rs and two Ss because they're both helping you hide from what you've just done.

Occurrence – Similarly, this word has two Cs and two Rs. Remember that history repeats itself. If it is going to happen once, it's going to happen again. (Happen has two Ps as well.)

Definitely – Be sure you're not defiant. Commonly this word is mixed up with defiantly. Stop and think about the word you're writing, define it in your head. Remember that in this case, "It" fits into "Define" so it is defin(it)e-ly.

Separate – It's ironic that for this word, the vowels are separated by consonants. Additionally, the Es are separated with As.

Already – This is one word and it only has one "l."

Truly – If you have to take a grammar/writing test when you apply for a job, you can almost assume this word will be among those you're supposed to spell check. So does it have an E or not? The answer is No. You can remember this because when you testify in court that you're telling the truth, you put your hand on a bible and then hold up your other hand. You have five fingers on your hand and there are five letters in truly.

Rhythm – So vowels include A-E-I-O-U and sometimes Y. The only vowel this word has is the "sometimes Y." Perhaps try remembering that the rhythm of this word is better without common vowels.

If the words you commonly misspell aren't on the list, write them down and then think about patterns – words within words and letter tricks that can help you better remember their spelling. Good luck!

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