Are You Making These 10 Spelling Mistakes?

A couple of months ago I shared with you a list of my 10 most commonly misspelled words. In doing so I realized how many other words out there I frequently get wrong without even knowing it. Here are some of them…

Calendar: I actually made a sign for calendars at a store I was working at and spelled it with an ‘er’ rather than an ‘ar’. I felt pretty foolish.

Cemetery: I always want to end this with an ‘ary’. If I had my druthers I’d change it for good in the dictionery dictionary.

Fiery: This is one seriously messed up word. Whoever decided a random silent ‘e’ made sense should be fierd fired.

Grateful: Clearly it’s not great to be greatful grateful because that would make too much sense.

Jewelry: You’d think because it’s made by a jeweler that there’d be an ‘e’ after the ‘l’.

Medieval: Even though everything about the MIDdle ages is MEDieval, it’s not spelled the same way.

Mischievous: Just too many vowels…

Privilege: Am I the only one who wants to put a ‘d’ in there somewhere?

Relevant: I constantly swap vowels in this one, too.

Sergeant: If only words were spelled the way they were pronounced!

Do any of these words constantly trip you up? What are some of the words that keep you running back to I’d love to know.


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Melanie Brooks has written for newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites from Maine to New Jersey. She currently works as an editor for Bangor Metro and Maine Ahead magazines.


  1. Luke on the 7th February

    Surprised that definitely isn’t here, after all… Don’t most people (myself included) usually spell it ‘definately’?

  2. Matt on the 7th February

    Jewellery is a bit of a weird one, can be spelt jewellery or jewelry

  3. Joe Casabona on the 7th February

    Colonel– I’ve probably spelled this 10 different wats.

  4. Steven on the 7th February

    A lot of these words are easy to spell if you pronounce them correctly; for example:

    Fiery is pronounced Fi-ery not fi-ree. Also, relevant is pronounced how you spell it, not ‘relavent’

    Mastery of the English language isn’t just about what you write.

    PS – I hope this comment makes sense, my spell-checker was doing backflips!

  5. Aarti Badamikar on the 7th February

    How about “recieved” or “received”?? 🙂 I do that many times 😛
    Nice post!

  6. Jinny on the 7th February

    I’d like to add “Stationery” to the list. If I had a pound for every designer that spelt stationery (as in letterhead, business card etc.) as “stationary” I would be very rich indeed.

    By the way, where are you from? Jewelry is definitely spelt “jewellery” in the UK.

    Interesting post but there are definitely (or should I misspell that “definately” many more to add to the list.

  7. Simon Duck on the 8th February

    Luckily we have spell-check on most things! I remember first getting Firefox and being ecstatic because it had a spell checker. Doesn’t help when writing away from the computer though!

  8. Marcin on the 8th February

    It’s not spelling, but it is elementary … what drives me nuts is people who can’t discriminate:
    – there vs their vs they’re
    – it’s vs its
    – were vs where
    – your vs you’re
    – ‘and I’ and ‘and me’, as in ‘It was a close race between Jenny and I.’

    I also used to get upset about the true meaning of enormity, but I’m over that now. 🙂

    • angelee on the 8th February

      and the “whose vs who’s”, its usually my error…

    • Brian Altenhofel on the 10th February

      It’s vs its is what generally trips me up.

      And… “It was a close race between Jenny and me.” is proper grammar. “…and I” is used when it appears in the subject, while “…and me” is used in the predicate.

      But yeah, other than it’s vs its, I’ve never really had any difficulty. Spelling, grammar, and mechanics is something that I have always grasped fairly well.

  9. Rochester on the 8th February

    I’m Brazilian so my mother tongue is not English.

    It’s fun because most of this words are easier to me because they are similar to “Portuguese spelling”.


  10. Luce on the 8th February

    Funny post 🙂 We do make a lot of mistakes.

    Sorry to be an outsider with my comment but in my case, the french words: mirroir & courrir ? 1 R? 2R? Never know…!!

  11. Peter Lewandowski on the 9th February

    You should try polish language 😀

  12. Evan Skuthorpe on the 9th February

    how about color? it has a ‘u’ in it.

    • Luke on the 10th February

      You’re wrong and you’re right.

      The British spelling of Colour does indeed have a ‘u’ in it. However, the American version doesn’t.

      I’m 100% British, and I find myself sacrificing the ‘u’ all too often.

    • Brian Altenhofel on the 10th February

      That side of the pond is so… weird.

  13. David on the 9th February

    I find that using the ” I before E, except after C” works 99% of the time for those tricky words.

  14. Bryan Thompson on the 9th February

    Melanie, this made me laugh today. Thanks! 🙂

  15. Marcin on the 10th February

    See here for an illustrated look at how to avoid common mistakes (with some useful mnemonics):

  16. DeeDee on the 12th February

    If I had a nickle for every time someone’s spelled *lose* as *loose*…I wouldn’t have to worry about retirement.

    I’ve seen it spelled wrong so many times (especially online), I’m starting to question it when it’s spelled correctly!!!


    • Jeff on the 15th February

      I’d like a dime for every time I read “your welcome.”


  17. James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil on the 16th February

    You might consider a spell checker. Mine checks everything I type anywhere on the computer. Also, their are rules for many of these. “I before e, except after C or sounded as A as in Neighbor and weigh.”

    Having said that, English spelling, unlike Spanish, is capricious and difficult. So these are easy ones to get wrong. 🙂

  18. Laura on the 16th February

    I always get confused between Stationery and Stationary…as one means ‘still, not moving’ and the other ‘office supplies’ ….

    • James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil on the 17th February

      I used to have that problem, too. Some one explained to me that there is an “e” in letter that is written on stationery. Problem solved. 😀

  19. Emanuil on the 19th February

    Here are a few of mine: weird, opportunity, definitely, necessary… It’s a good thing most text editors support spell checking nowadays.

  20. James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil on the 19th February

    Even better, my iMac automatically checks everything I type anywhere on the computer. Text files, posts like this, entries into text boxes, all of it. That’s a really good thing considering my fumble fingers typing skills.

  21. rose on the 17th July

    “James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil on the 19th February
    Even better, my iMac automatically checks everything I type anywhere on the computer”

    Hmmm…what ya sellin’?

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