Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Are You Spelling Impaired?

Here’s Robert Heckendorn’s List of Hard to Spell Words.

It is good resource for those who find spelling confusing and a chore. For people like my daughter, who, when faced with uncertainty about spelling, had her own rule: “when in doubt, add an ‘e’ somewhere.”

Spelling. Or is it Speling?On the other hand, it is a place of sheer wonderment for those to whom spelling comes naturally. For the latter, they can only ponder (or gape at) the inventive phonetic solutions that poor spellers have come up with to address their deficit.

The author’s list is long, but obviously incomplete. Here is his statement of methodology: [edited for clarity and spelling errors - D]

Here is my list of over 1000 hard to spell words.

Here are some important points about this list:

  • Sometimes a word is entered as a misspelling of a particular meaning such as “dam”.

  • These spellings are for American English and not British English or any other language. I may occasionally treat a British spelling as a misspelling of American English. This is not meant as an insult to the English any more that my saying that driving on the left side of the road is wrong in the US. You will get arrested for it here. I drive on the left when I am in England and on the right in the U.S. I adapt to local custom.

  • The same word may be misspelled more than one way. People have different ways to misspelling and I try to include a variety.

I accept new entries and corrections.

The words come in pairs: the first word is the misspelling, the second word is the correct spelling.

Here is a list of just the correct spellings (which is not always up to date).

Here is a list of just the incorrect spellings (which is also not always up to date).

Have fun!

And here is a brief look at his compilation, though I urge you to scroll through the list at your leisure:

Presbaterian Presbyterian
Tootonic Teutonic
Tusday Tuesday
Wendsday Wednesday
abanden abandon
abizmal abysmal
abriviate abbreviate
abscound abscond
absorbant absorbent
absorbtion absorption
abstanence abstinence
abundent abundant
acatemy academy
acceptence acceptance
acceptible acceptable
acceptibly acceptably

And here are two personal favorites, though you will notice they don’t carry the Shelagh rule of adding an ‘e’ somewhere when in doubt. On the other hand, maybe these would-be spellers were never in doubt at all:

angshus anxious
farmasudical pharmaceutical

The website has an address in its URL, but it no longer leads back to the author. Too bad, I’d like to see what he teaches besides the obvious “Remedial English for the Poorly Educated Freshmen.”

It’s definitely a wasteland out there.


At 2:43 PM, Blogger M said...

One of my very favourite mis-spellings of all time was "schitsofrantic" for schizophrenic.
I thought it perhaps described the disability better than the regular medically correct spelling.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Dymphna said...


That's priceless. Having worked with a few --very few-- schitsofrantic patients in my volunteer days, I like your word better than the "real" one.

I must pass this on to SigCarl; he'd enjoy it. So would One Cosmos


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