Is there a pesky word haunting you with its tricky spelling? You know, that one you constantly stumble over whenever you’re typing a text, writing a document, or crafting an email? You’re not alone. Whether it’s because of double consonants, silent letters, or just breaking common language patterns, there’s a whole mass of words that tend to trip us up. Thanks to the patron saints of digital communications – spellcheck and autocorrect – for helping us avoid looking like total morons! Here's a refresher on ten commonly-misspelled words you might need to double check.
Separate and separately just feel like they’re wrong, even when they’re right, likely because of those repeating vowels. In the same vein, many people have trouble with desperate, which, while sounding very similar to separate, actually flips the script on separate’s e-a-a-e vowel pattern to e-e-a-e.
One of the English language’s most cringeworthy words (and conditions!) just happens to be one of the most painful to spell, too. Maybe it’s because a double r and h aren’t usually neighbors. Maybe it’s because pronouncing diarrhea becomes a bit of a consonant mess, to the point where you may be surprised it’s actually four syllables long! That awkward vocalization means it’s harder to parse out exactly which letters go where in this tricky word.
Beware the silent letter. That extra i is just waiting to be forgotten, or if you do happen to remember it, chances are you try to insert it after the s and not before it.
We pronounce this word as geh-ruhn-tee, so it’s no wonder our brains want to kick off the spelling as gar or gare instead of the correct guar. We’re just saying – if guacamole has a guah sound at the start, why don’t we say this as guah-ruhn-tee to make it easier to spell?
Everyone wants to drop an a somewhere in this common word. But that is definitely not part of how it’s spelled. Do that and you might end up with defiantly, a totally different word.
Words with unusual vowel patterns tend to break our brains, and vacuum stands almost alone. There are actually a handful of other words that contain a double u – like continuum – but vacuum is probably the one we mix up the most. If you’ve ever been stumped by which letter repeats – the c? the u? the m? – rest assured, you're not alone.
Double consonants can also be tough to remember, even more so when a word contains not one, but two sets of them. Leaving out one c or m is just one of the battles people face with this convoluted word: adding an a instead of the second o is yet another common gaffe.
As a mirror to accommodate, recommend stands out because it’s missing that double consonant that seems like it could fit so well. Plus, many people shorten the word to recco when sharing their faves, further confusing the issue.
This quirky word pops because it’s actually Italian in origin and doesn’t follow the typical rules of the English language. The double c’s and rhythmic i’s together make this veggie a tough one to crack.
You know the old grammar rhyme: “i before e except after c.” Well, receive doesn’t care. This pesky outlier breaks that supposed rule, but not without many a writer accidentally swapping that i and e in the assumption that they are right.