Can you spell these commonly misspelled words?Forget about "saccharolytic," "admittatur," and "arrondissement." While 14-year-old Snigdha Nandipati had no problem with those advanced vocabulary words during the National Spelling Bee on Thursday (she won by spelling "guetapens," which means "ambush"), most adults have a hard time with words that are much easier.
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According to the experts at Oxford Dictionaries, YourDictionary.com, and Spellchecker.net -- as well as some longtime English teachers -- the words we misspell most often aren't archaic or obscure. In fact, the most commonly misspelled words are ones we use all the time (including, ironically, "misspell"). Here are 15 words you already know but probably don't always spell correctly, along with handy hints for getting them right every time.
- A lot. That's right, it's two words.
- A while. Again, two words.
- Believe. This one follows the old "I before E except after C" rule.
- Congratulations. It's easier to remember to use a "t" (instead of a "d") if you just say "Congrats!"
- Embarrass. The word is long enough for two sets of double letters ("rr" and "ss").
- Fiery. The "e" from "fire" hides inside when things get hot.
- Grateful. There's no "great" in "grateful."
- Its. Like "his," "hers" and "ours," this possessive doesn't have an apostrophe.
- It's. If you mean to say "it is," use an apostrophe to join the two words together.
- Lose. Lose the extra "o."
- Misspell. Mis + spell.
- Principal. The head of the school is your pal.
- Receipt. The "except" part of the "I before E except after C" rule.
- Separate. The two "e"s are separated by two "a"s.
- Weird. Remember that "I before E except after C" rule? This word breaks it.
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Spellcheckers seem like a godsend, but they can't help when the word is incorrect but not misspelled. For example, this excerpt from an error-filled poem -- "Candidate for a Pullet Surprise" by Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar -- would get the green light from any spell checking program:
To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should bee proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaw's are knot aloud.
(There are eight other verses, but you probably get the point.)
And don't rely on your auto-correct function, either. Since it can't recognize most foreign words or proper names, it can cause more problems than it fixes. (See: Damn You Auto Correct.)
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