Thursday, October 19, 2017
Grammar

The 10 Most Challenging of America’s ‘Most-Misspelled Words’

Last week, Google released a list it referred to as the most-misspelled words in America based on searches, state by state.

I’m not sure how accurate the list is, since the data is based on Google searches that began “how to spell.” One might suggest, therefore, those are not the most-misspelled words since people seem to be looking up how to spell them correctly.

Here are 10 words that jump out at me from the list.

1. Misspelled

Technically, it’s in the title of the list, not the list itself, but let’s face it: misspell is a confusing word: should it be one S or two? Somehow, it seems even harder to gauge when the -ed is added at the end.

2. Tomorrow

This word ranked at the top in Colorado and Arizona. Is it one M or two? One R or two? The way I finally learned it was to remember the phrase “on the morrow,” and just added a to- to the beginning of morrow. I’m not sure why that worked so well for me, but it did.

3. Chihuahua

This one is the most reasonable word on the list, because it’s definitely a challenge. You’d think if you sounded it out, there’d have to be a W in there somewhere. But just when you get around that, there’s that second H that seems to throw people. Chihuahua, for the record, made the list in my home state of South Carolina and in Arkansas.

4. Pneumonia

Washington, Michigan, Alabama and Maine looked up this word the most. If the PN off the top wasn’t confusing enough, the U comes after the E sound, despite the fact that the first syllable rhymes with new.

5. Diarrhea

New Hampshire isn’t at all sure how to spell diarrhea, which is an unpleasant condition and probably an unpleasant thought if you live there. Personally, I think this word would be perfectly fine without that pesky H stuck in the middle. In any case, I hope the people of New Hampshire feel better soon!

6. Vacuum

Iowa had to look up vacuum the most, which is one I have to look up (or rely on spellcheck to flag) every time. When I’m writing it, it feels like it should be “vaccum.”

7. Maintenance

Texas and Missouri looked up this word a good bit. We tend to pronounce it as if the last syllable should have an E instead of an A.

8. Hallelujah

Indiana and Delaware had trouble with this word, which isn’t a surprise, because of that seemingly errant J.

9. Surprise

Speaking of surprises, this word came up most often in Montana. Don’t forget that first R.

10. Gray

This is my favorite on the list because it’s the simplest. Poor Georgia gets the credit for having to look this one up, but given the controversy over whether it should be gray or grey, who could blame them?

Click the map in the embedded Tweet above for a larger view.

Which word is the biggest challenge for you?

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Patrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.