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10 frequently misspelled English words

6 min read
25 August 2022
Kaplan Semi-intensive English course

The English language is known for having some confusing spelling rules – which is why there are some words that we always seem to misspell! If you don’t want to rely on spellcheck for the rest of your life, memorize these frequently misspelled words and follow our tips on how to avoid misspelling them in the future. 


What makes spelling in English difficult?

  • Only about 50% of the words in the English language can be spelt based on sound-letter correspondences alone – meaning that the advice typically given to simply just “sound it out” isn’t always helpful
  • It’s estimated that 1 in 10 people suffer from a form of dyslexia, a condition that affects a person’s ability to read
  • Homophones – words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings – are another reason why so many of us get confused when spelling
  • Learning English as a second language can make spelling extra hard. But don’t worry, you’re allowed to make mistakes when learning a new language, and it’s completely normal. We were all beginners once!

The most misspelled words in English

So, without further ado, here are 10 of the most misspelled words in the English language. Reference this post if you ever get stuck in the future and become the spelling champion you were always destined to be!


1. Accommodation

Misspelled as? Accomodation

Tip: If you’re ever in doubt while spelling this word, remember that “twice is right” when it comes to the ‘c’ and ‘m’


2. Receive

Misspelled as? Recieve

Tip: Never forget the famous phrase, “i before e, except after c”


3. Separate

Misspelled as? Seperate

Tip: It might sound like it should be ‘er’, but it’s actually ‘ar’. In the battle of the vowels, just remember that ‘a’ won!


4. Until

Misspelled as? Untill

Tip: This is an easy one to confuse because the original spelling of this word is ‘untill’. However, over time the general spelling changed to include only one ‘l’


5. Definitely

Misspelled as? Definately

Tip: It’s too easy to misspell this word as ‘definately’, or worse, ‘defiantly’ (which means something completely different) … so a useful tip is to first spell ‘definite’ and then add the ‘ly’ at the end 


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6. Harass

Misspelled as? Harrass

Tip: This is a case where – unlike with accommodation – twice is not always right


7. Independent

Misspelled as? Independant

Tip: Remember, there is a DENT in independent


8. Supposedly

Misspelled as? Supposably

Tip: You might remember that famous scene in Friends, where Joey struggles to pronounce ‘supposedly’, which is why it’s frequently misspelled. In the future, don’t listen to Joey.



9. Colonel

Misspelled as? Conel or Kernol

Tip: The result of borrowing words from French (who borrowed it from Italian) – this word is a compromise between multiple spellings and pronunciations: the compromise being that it would be pronounced one way and spelt another!


10. Necessary

Misspelled as? Neccessary

Tip: As we know, it can be hard to remember the order – and amount – of letters required for a word. In the case of ‘necessary’, it is necessary to have two ‘s’s’, but it’s unnecessary to have two ‘’c’s’.


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