26 Hard Words To Spell
Spelling words correctly isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Why else do you think every writing program has an in-built spell check and applications like Grammarly exist? Although English is generally considered an easy language to learn, it still contains many words that are hard to spell. It’s a jumble of spellings and pronunciations from a wide range of languages, such as Latin, Greek, French, German, and words are often spelled differently in other countries. Put lightly, the English language is a lot harder than most people think.
Many words are spelled in strange ways and include silent letters and other grammar anomalies that make them tough to spell. If you struggle when it comes to spelling and need some outside help, below is a list of common but challenging words and how to spell them. You never know when you might find yourself taking part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee and faced with one of these words.
The word used to describe the middle of the week is an easy one to get wrong. Not only is there are silent “d” in there, but also an additional “e.” This can be traced back to the original spelling, which is “Wōdnesdæg” in Old English. Wednesday comes from the word for the Norse god Woden, also known as Odin.
Many words in the English language are spelled differently from the way they are spoken. Take necessary for instance. It sounds like there should be more than one “c” in the word. The trick is to remember it’s one letter “c” and two of the letter”s.”
Dilate is a word that people shouldn’t get wrong, but it’s very easy for people to add in an extra “a” after the “i.” Considering the word sounds like “dial” with “ate” at the end, it’s understandable people get confused. You just need to remember there is only one “a” and not two.
Fun fact: dilate comes from the Middle English word dilaten, the Old French word dilater, and the Latin word dīlātō (“I spread out”).
You would be surprised by the number of people who misspell the word misspell. Apparently, a lot of people forget there are two “s’s” in the word. It’s kinda ironic that the word used to describe a spelling mistake is often spelled the wrong way.
There are just too many vowels in nauseous, making it a difficult word to get right. It’s easy to think there should be a “c” somewhere in the word thanks to the “sh” sound when you read it out loud.
A Latin word, nauseous is also often used in the wrong context, so there’s a good chance you are spelling it wrong as well as using it incorrectly. Double whammy.
This word is a hot topic these days with the number of people getting into trouble in political circles. While it is pronounced “indite,” the spelling of the word drops the “e” and adds a “c.”
What makes things even more confusing is the original Latin word, dating back to 1620, is spelled “indite.” If that hasn’t thrown you for a loop, then there’s also the fact that “indite” is an actual word too, which means to compose or write.
A word used to describe a ruler of ancient Egypt, Pharaoh is often spelled how sounds. This means people write it with an “f” instead of “ph” and often get the last few letters wrong.
Here is a word that causes trouble due to the amount of “c” and “s” letters used throughout. It’s all about remembering where the letters go and how many are needed.
Narcissistic comes from the Greek word nárkissos, which is the name of a plant associated with narcotics. This doesn’t really help you when it comes to remembering how to spell narcissistic but is a fun fact nonetheless.
Liquefy often gets spelled incorrectly because it is one of the few words that sounds like it should end in “ify” but doesn’t. Similar words like “clarify,” “rectify,” and “pacify” are all spelled using “ify,” but not liquefy.
This is especially strange as it comes from the word “liquid,” which is spelled “qui” and not “queue.” The English language doesn’t make a lot of sense most of the time.
One of the general rules when it comes to grammar is “i before e except after c.” But like most things in life, there are exceptions. One of those is the word weird. There are many different variations that people come up with, but the actual spelling ignores literacy rules and goes rogue.
Despite many people pronouncing sherbet as “sher-bert,” there is no sceond letter “r” in the word. While phonetically it is spoken “sher-bit,” the word has been bastardized by Americans and is often spoken as “sher-bert” for unknown reasons.
While the pronunciation isn’t that big of a deal, there is only one way to spell sherbet, and that is with just the one “r.”
Similar to the word necessary, occasion sounds like it should have a few more “c’s” or s’s” in the line-up somewhere. It is very easy to write the word with more than one “s,” and some even write “k” instead of “c” because of the strong sound when you speak the word.
You don’t see many people using handkerchiefs these days. Normally just old men or people dressed to the nines with a pocket square, which is effectively a handkerchief. This one is tricky in that the “d” is silent. Try and remember it as “hand-ker-chief” when spelling and you should be fine.
You’ve got double “c’s” and double “m’s” in the word accommodate, which makes it tough to know which spelling is correct. If you can get your head around the two double-ups of “c” and “m” then you should have no problems getting this word right when writing it on the page or typing it on your computer.
Pronunciation is a long word the Oxford Dictionary states as meaning “the way in which a language or a particular word or sound is.” Funnily enough, it’s also a word that is not only spelled wrong by people but pronounced wrong.
When you say the word out loud, the “nun” part of the word is often said as “now,” which is a big reason why people get the spelling wrong.
Bologna shouldn’t be a hard word to spell but it often trips people up. While it sounds like it should be rewritten as “baloney,” as that is the way you say it, the word is actually spelled “bologna.”
The reason is that the meat itself comes from the Italian town of Bologna, so it was believed to be easier just to name it after the town it comes from. Capisce?
This is not the type of word you would have wanted to get at your school spelling bee. While it might only be six letters, vacuum is a word people spell wrong more often than not.
It sounds like there should be two “c’s” when in fact the word actually has two “u’s.” It’s a common mistake to make so don’t feel too down on yourself.
The definition of playwright is someone who writes plays, which makes sense. For that reason, you would think the word would be spelled “playwrite,” a combination of play and write. Well, that’s not the case.
The “write” is actually spelled “wright,” but with good reason. Back when the word started being used in the 1600s, people in the theatre game were said to have wrought plays rather than wrote them. And if you wrought something then you were called a wright, not a writer.
It seems a bit strange but the English language has carried on with this spelling over the centuries and it’s too late to change things now.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong when trying to spell broccoli. It’s a commonly misspelled word thanks to it sounding like there should be multiple letter “c’s,” a “k” in there somewhere, and an ending that sounds like “lee.”
There is a reason for the “lee” sound though, with broccoli an Italian word where the “ee” sound is represented by an “i.”
Gobbledegook is a word used to describe utter nonsense that is written and sounds exactly like nonsense. Strangely, the word is pretty much spelled as it is spoken, but that doesn’t stop people from getting it wrong.
If there is one thing America does right, it’s bourbon. It’s just a pity the spelling doesn’t match the pronunciation.
Although it is pronounced “bur-buhn,” we still use the French spelling, which is bourbon. Just try and remember there are two “o’s” and not one, although that’s not as easy once you’ve had a few glasses.
Fuchsia is one of the hardest words to spell for any English speaker. The name of a plant and color, there is a lot of “sh” and “ch” sounds going on when you pronounce the word. This makes it very hard to know which spelling is correct.
There’s no magic trick to working out how to spell fuchsia correctly, it just takes time to remember which letters go where.
When it comes to words that are very easy to misspell, entrepreneur is right at the top of the list. This is another French word that is spelled differently from how it sounds.
Many people think it begins with an “o” due to the “on” sound when you pronounce the word, but it’s actually an “e.” There’s also a stack of vowels mixed in which throws people off.
The French are at it again with the word liaison. Referring to a close bond or relationship, you would think the word would be spelled as it is said – lee-ay-zon – but you would be sadly mistaken.
The “i” sounds like “ee” and the “s” can often be mistaken for a “z.” Don’t forget there is also an “i” between the “a” and “s,” just to make things difficult.
Ingenious usually trips people up thanks to the addition of the “o.” Besides that, the word is pretty much written the way it is phonetically pronounced. It’s like genius with an “in” at the front and an “i” in the middle. The reason for the “i” is that the word comes from the Latin word ingenious, which means “natural disposition.”
This Greek word meaning idea or example seems straightforward, except that it ends in an “e” and not a “y” as it sounds like it should. Just like Italian words, the vowels are pronounced when speaking Greek words, so if you say it with a focus on those letters you will be better equipped to get the spelling correct.
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