Grammar

Study Identifies Each State’s Most Misspelled Word

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The most misspelled word of 2021 probably won’t surprise you. But others on the list from a recent study might make you scratch your head.

A recent study set out to find the most misspelled word for each state. AT&T Experts made the list by looking at Google trending data relating to searches that included “how to spell.” They used the date range from March 24, 2020, to March 24, 2021.

You can read the full study from AT&T Experts for the complete list and a national map.

Quarantine topped the trending list for the most states, 12 of them to be exact. Cambridge’s dictionary named quarantine as the word of the year for 2020.

In Latin, the word for 40 was quadraginta. The word quarantine came from the Italian quaranta giorni, meaning “40 days.” During the time of the “black death,” ships coming into certain cities had to wait out a 40-day period of isolation to insure that none in the crew had the plague.

I also pointed out the Biblical significance of 40-day periods. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. The Christian celebration of Lent marks those 40 days of fasting.

As I said in 2013, the close relationship of the words 40 and quarantine is important for Christians. We can consider Lent a self-imposed quarantine from the things that distract us from God.

Some of the other words on the list surprised me.

A few of the words listed shouldn’t have confused anyone. For words like believe and receive, the application of an old saying should make the spelling clear. Remember “I before E except after C?” Clearly, people in the Dakotas, Nebraska and Arkansas didn’t. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have needed to look either of those up.

My state of South Carolina had a particularly curious word come up: which. I’m not sure why anyone would have trouble spelling that word. But South Carolina ended up being one of five states in which that word trended. The study found the alternate spellings of “wich,” as in sandwich, and witch.

Delaware residents don’t always remember that there are two Ns in government. California and Rhode Island have trouble with separate. They seem to want to make that first A an E. I can understand that; I have to remember to look for “a rat” when I spell that word. I think that’s part of a phrase people use, but I never remember the whole thing. At least, I remember the critical part, though.

By now, however, I figure pandemic-related words should be easier to spell. Thanks to the willfully unvaccinated, the pandemic won’t be ending anytime soon.

2 Comments

  1. You misplaced the apostrophe in your title: “each state’s most misspelled word” since it’s each state individually.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 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.