15 Most Misspelled Words

15 Most Misspelled Words

We all make mistakes in our writing. We’re human, after all. However, when your livelihood depends on the quality of what you write, the story takes a different turn. I know I don’t need to go on and on about the importance of checking and re-checking our work – that is a given. Instead, I’ll share an image with you that highlights this importance. Here is an interesting and informative infographic of the 15 most misspelled words in the English language. Before you take a look at it, do remember the differences in British and American English as there is one word in the infographic that may raise eyebrows.
15 Most Misspelled Words
This infographic was created by Spellchecker, a web site offering – you guessed it – spell, grammar, and thesaurus checking services. ((Web site: Spellchecker))

If you look closely at the bottom of the infographic, you will see that the data used was taken from user statistics on Spellchecker’s web site. To be honest, I was rather surprised at some of the words that were included in list:

  1. Their
  2. A lot
  3. Received
  4. Separate
  5. Until
  6. Because
  7. Beginning
  8. Different
  9. Occurred
  10. Believe
  11. Behavior
  12. Which
  13. Truly
  14. Really
  15. Definitely

I will not deny having problems with “occurred” occasionally (this is another word I sometimes struggle with, by the way), but I was surprised to see words such as  “which” and “really” in the list.  Also, the word “behavior” is included simply because the list is supposed to focus only American English and the British spelling “behaviour” is considered incorrect. That, of course, is subject to discussion – one which we won’t go into right now.

So what do you think of this list of commonly misspelled words? Does it surprise you? What words give you trouble?






16 responses
  1. Samantha Bangayan Avatar

    Easy read, Noemi! I stopped by your blog – happy travels!

    I’m surprised that “Their” is the top word misspelled! I have a hard time with “separate” and “occurred”… and “vacuum” as well, now that I think about it. (For some reason, it reminds me of “occurred”). =P

  2. David Bradley Avatar

    I think these are commonly mistyped words but not necessarily misspelled, there is a difference. When typing at speed it’s rather easy to switch an i before e for an e before i…doesn’t mean you don’t know to spell, just means you don’t know how to type, accurately, at speed.

  3. Derek Thompson Avatar

    Definate as a misspelling seems to be a comparatively modern phenomenon. Maybe it’s down to teaching words phonetically?

    1. Lola Avatar

      Very true. I think those words stuck in my head all my life because I would spell it out phonetically.


  4. Angel Avatar

    Reading this article makes me wonder if people are truly misspelling these words or are some of them simply typing errors. It has been my experience that the spell/grammar check built into Microsoft Word is not completely accurate. It has not identified common words that are misused with the grammar check aspect or words that are common every day words. There are words that are spelled correctly but are identified as incorrect such as medical terminology that you would find in the Webster’s Dictionary or peoples’ names. I also know several grown adults who have graduated high school and some even graduated college that cannot spell simple words like know, well, good, and taught. There are a lot of simple common grammar errors they make also such as using the wrong there or the wrong too. I did enjoy this article though because of proof reading student’s papers at a tutoring center for college adults and helping my husband with his papers. It also brings me back to a shock because you should be able to spell all of these words prior to graduating high school. It makes me wonder where our education system failed and why it is continuing to fail our students.

  5. Amy Nievera Avatar

    A lot of these (especially “thier”) look like typos to me, opposed to purposeful misspelling. I’m not surprised by “occurred.” Ever since I misspelled the word in a spelling bee in third grade, I constantly doubt myself when I type or write the word. Other words I have issues with are: veterinarian and entrepreneur.

  6. Tanya Avatar

    I’m shocked at most of these words on here. I thought most of the words were common words. The only word I normally misspell is “Definitely”. Very interesting to know.

  7. mrlogical Avatar

    I agree with Amy–this looks to me to contain more words that are commonly mistyped rather than misspelled. I can’t imagine there are a significant number of people who believe that because is spelled “becuase” or their is “thier.”

  8. Jo Lightfoot Avatar

    This is more a mis-use than a misspelling, but I encounter it several times a day: you’re and your, interchanged.

  9. Noemi Twigg Avatar
    Noemi Twigg

    Thanks for the comments, guys. I think we pretty much all agree that many of the words in the list are typos, don’t we? Many of the people who use Spellchecker probably are always in a rush or use small keyboards. 😉

  10. David Bradley Avatar

    I think even typing “there” when one means “their” or vice versa is simply a common typo too. There are, of, course, many people who do not know the difference between the two words. Likewise “it’s” and “its”, “where” and “we’re”, “your” and “you’re”. The list goes on. When typing from thoughts rather than copy-typing or dictation at speed it’s easy to let your fingers run on autopilot, but if you proofread your own text you should catch all of those kinds of error, assuming you know your its from your it’s.

    1. Noemi Twigg Avatar
      Noemi Twigg

      Fingers on autopilot – I totally know the feeling; and yes, proofreading is the key. Sometimes, though, I only catch mistakes after the second or third time. This is especially true when I have been working all day and my eyes just give up on me.

  11. Debra Stang Avatar

    I always used to avoid the word “occurred” if I possibly could, because I could never remember how many r’s and how many c’s. I finally got to the point where I could recall it was a maximum of both, but it took me awhile.

  12. Monique Avatar

    I always get “a lot” and “separate” wrong and living in Europe I often fall victim to “behaviour”. Thank goodness for spell check. 🙂

  13. David Bradley Avatar

    Spellcheck can only do so much, but in my niche where I talk a lot about chemistry it’s a constant effort whitelisting chemical terms. Thankfully, a friend of mine created an open source chemical dictionary for Word and OpenOffice. I linked it to my name on this comment.

  14. Tamara Stromquist Avatar
    Tamara Stromquist

    The two words that drive me nuts when I see them misspelled are “accommodate” and, “till” used as a substitute, without the apostrophe, for “until.” As a “downsized” proofreader, I WEEP at the websites I’d like to be correcting. lol. I also yell at the television when it shows airline boards that use “canceled” instead of “cancelled.” A lot of the world was gone the day in third grade when we learned about doubling that last consonant b4 adding -ed.

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