To Spell Right, Or Not To Spell Right

Are there any words that you consistently spell wrong or have to spell out in your head before you write them down, no matter how many times you’ve written them in your lifetime?

No matter what, I always spell truly as ‘truely’ first, every single time (even then!) I always spell separate as seperate before spell check tells me off and I have long given up on spelling deoderent right.

And trying to spell itinererary correctly just reminds me of a poem I read when I was younger:

I thought I’d win the spelling bee
And get right to the top,
But I started to spell “banana”
And I didn’t know when to stop!

Business has to be mentally pronounced “bus-ee-ness” as I write it out and of course Wednesday is “Wed-nez-day” and February is “Feb-bru-ary”.

My best friend spelt ‘finish’ as ‘finnish’ throughout most of high school. I used to go through her homework planner and correct every single homework assignment which she’d written as “finnish question 5”.

And ‘fess up. All 90’s kids learnt how to spell difficulty thanks to Matilda:

“Mrs. D, Mrs. I, Mrs. F-F-I. Mrs. C, Mrs. U., Mrs. L-T-Y.”

I marvel at people who can spell effortlessly (namely my parent’s generation… they didn’t have the luxury of spell check). People tend to be surprised when I confess I’m not a great speller. The fact that my degree is in English Language with Creative Writing gets me a few odd looks at this confession. Shockingly, a degree in English Language does not mean that we spent our time learning the dictionary. Spelling came into it very little!

I am utterly glad that spelling bees are not a major thing in the UK. As if spelling when writing the word down isn’t bad enough, trying to spell it out loud is so much worse! I can rarely spell a word out loud when someone asks me. I have to write it down and dictate. (“How many’s c’s in recommend?”) And that’s not even a memory thing. I can recite numbers, names, dates, random facts and a good portion of the words and lyrics from The Nightmare Before Christmas without hesitating, but spelling? Nah.

I sometimes wonder if spelling is worse now because of the wonder of spell check. We no longer have to remember how to spell. As long as we get it almost right, the computer tells us what’s wrong! I cringe when wondering what my spelling was like on my final exam in university. I hadn’t written without a spell check for years by that point. It was probably atrocious.

I proof read sometimes as part of my job at the moment and can spot a punctuation error a mile away. But spelling? I wouldn’t bet my life on getting it right.

What’s your spelling like? Do you have particular words which, no matter how hard you try, always come out wrong the first time round?

Just so you know, I typed this in Notepad and proofread it. I then ran it through Word before publishing it. The following words were spelt wrong:

Atrocious (“atrosious”)
Luxury (“luxery”)
Consistently (“consistantly”)
And I spelt ‘spell check’ as one word throughout. Until Word told me it’s in fact, two words.

Posted on August 9, 2012, in Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I always used to misspell ‘definitely’ by placing an ‘a’ in place of the ‘e’. And then one day I read a quote somewhere which said “If you put an ‘a’ in definitely, then you are definitely an a-hole”. I haven’t misspelt it since!

    Also, I’ve been able to spell ‘facetious’ correctly since I was about 8 or 9 because my teacher once told me that it is the only word in the English language which contains exactly one of each vowel, used in alphabetical order. Although admittedly, it’s hardly a word that gets much use. It’s weird how things like that stick in your head though. I definitely agree with the Matilda thing! :)

    I think the word I misspell most often is ‘sentence’. Almost without fail I’ll type ‘sentance’ first. (In fact, I did so writing this!)

  2. I’ve never thought that ‘nevermind’ was in two separate words… I don’t know why I’ve always thought it was one word!
    Anyway, great post!
    I sometimes mess ‘a’ and ‘e’ too but that’s because I write French too so I get confused.

  3. not really spelling – but I often hear people, including the mayor of Toronto, going to the ‘libery’ (library).

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