The most commonly misspelled words in English

Similar to the evolution of humans and technology, every language continually evolves over the years and centuries. The primary reason is the changes in the way each generation converses, pronounces, and coins new words. Another major factor is its constant interactions with other prevalent languages. It is no surprise that in English, we often come across words of French, Italian, German, and Indian roots.

English is known to have Germanic origins. The Anglo-Saxon migrants brought it to Britain between the 5th and 7th century AD. Old English—as the language was known then—began displacing the previously dominant Celtic languages.

In the aftermath of the Norman Conquest in 1066, Old English was quickly replaced by Anglo-Norman, a language preferred by the upper classes. The Normans are direct descendants of the Vikings who invaded France. Norman French was influenced by Old Norse, and plenty of Norse loanwords in English were adopted from French.

The next version came to be called Middle English; it was spoken until almost the end of the 15th century. As the language evolved further, changes in pronunciation, combined with the adoption of various foreign spellings, are the primary reasons that modern English spellings are highly irregular.

Early Modern English began its journey at the onset of the 16th century. It was popularly practiced by the renowned playwright, William Shakespeare. It incorporated numerous Renaissance-era loanwords from ancient Greek and Latin, along with borrowings from several European languages, including Dutch, French, and German. This constant intermix of languages meant that Modern English, as we know it now, is a complex amalgamation of influences from all around the world. No wonder the spellings are often really difficult given their non-phonetic nature.

An excellent grasp of spellings is synonymous with top-class writing. English spellings have numerous exceptions, but the rules are in place for a valid reason. Consistent and articulate spellings let us communicate our ideas smoothly, which is paramount to academic writing.

Here’s a list of a few of the most frequently misspelled English words.

Incorrect Correct
Recieve Receive
Seperate Separate
Definately Definitely
Calender Calendar
Embarass Embarrass
Goverment Government
Professer Professor
Greatful Grateful
Vaccuum Vacuum
Wierd Weird
Twelth Twelfth
Mischievious Mischievous
Occurence Occurrence
Maintainance Maintenance
Pronounciation Pronunciation
Relevent Relevant
Tommorrow Tomorrow
Passtime Pastime
Millenium Millennium
Humerous Humorous
Absense Absence
Excercise Exercise

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