A recent study of 3,500 Britons by market research company One Poll, has discovered the most difficult words to spell in the English language.
Before I looked at the list I thought about the words that cause problems for my students studying English: strength, bicycle, occasion, accommodation, believe, pronunciation, forty and until came to my mind first. And, of course, there’s misspell itself.
I was surprised that none of the words I immediately thought of were in One Poll’s top twenty. Their top five: separate, definitely, manoeuvre (a word I always need to check!), embarrass and occurrence.
It was interesting that almost half the people surveyed judge other people on their spelling, with over a quarter admitting they think people who can’t spell are stupid. That’s something to remember the next time you write something without checking your spelling.
The Oxford English Corpus has a handy list of common misspellings with advice on getting it right. Also Masha Bell (the author of ‘Understanding English Spelling’) has written an interesting post on some of the reasons for all the irregularities in English spelling.
But what words do you have problems spelling?