Courtesy, as pretty much always, of Bryan A. Garner, here’s a list of 25 of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language.

  • accommodate
  • committee
  • consensus
  • definitely
  • embarrass
  • expedite
  • grammar
  • harass
  • hors d’oeuvre
  • innovate
  • inoculate
  • lieu
  • millennium
  • minuscule
  • misspelling
  • noticeable
  • occurrence
  • pavilion
  • persevere
  • playwright
  • receive
  • restaurateur
  • separate
  • supersede
  • ukulele

Commit these to memory, and should you ever find yourself needing to accommodate a ukulele player who wishes to receive an inoculation from a playwright while persevering at his art in a pavilion, you’ll be spared the embarrassment of making any innovative misspellings, whether minuscule or easily noticeable.

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  1. Those are the most commonly misspelled words? Really? I am almost incredulous…. Also, I was home-educated and don’t have problems with these… Actually, the one I have the hardest time with is “ettiquette”! And I am studying French, so that one should be easy! 😀


  2. Thanks for the list. I seem to remember spelling tests from school with some of the same words on it. I’ll use this list in my intermediate EFL classes. Hell we could all use some work on our spelling. 🙂


    1. Saw from your gravatar that you run a mobile bookshop (and teach English) in Normandy. Great! I have many fond memories from when I had the port of Rouen as a client (1970s). Do they still eat as much, as often? I never needed an hors d’oeuvre – as you say, an appetizer. As I’m sure you know, it’s quite difficult for us to spell this correctly as the o and e should be joined, a ligature. It always seemed silly to me to treat this as English and add an ‘s’ to make the plural. My French has long gone but I’m really enjoying some ‘lessons’ by attempting to understand the French text on a lovely blog which always has an English translation:


  3. My worst are grammar, receive, and separate – probably some of the simpler ones. At the moment I’m using free writing software with a pretty terrible spellchecker. That doesn’t help.


  4. I’d be pleased to have any more than 3 of these words in my vocabulary – spelling them correctly would only be a bonus.


  5. Ha! Guilty, on more than on occasion of misspelling most of these 🙂 Did I get it right?! 🙂