I am enjoying Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style. Author Benjamin Dreyer, copy chief of Random House, included a chapter titled “Notes on Easily Misspelled Words.” Thinking you will enjoy the challenge, I offer a spelling test. I chose 20 of Dreyer’s 116 easily misspelled words, plus variants, to test you.
In this list, 10 words are correct, 10 incorrect. Which 10 need correcting?
Have you found the 10 correct words yet? They appear below.
genealogy (This one could have fooled me.)
glamour (Glamor is also correct according to Merriam-Webster’s.)
restaurateur (This spelling was a total surprise. Restauranteur is also correct according to Merriam-Webster’s–despite Mr. Dreyer’s objection.)
Have you figured out how to correctly spell these items?
Here are the corrected versions:
prerogative (I have to admit I couldn’t recognize what was wrong with perogative.)
supersede (I never get this one wrong because I think of supersede as “sit in the place of.”)
surprise (Such a simple word, with such potential for error.)
Which words fooled you?
In my writing classes, the most often misspelled word is misspelled–with a missing letter s.
Benjamin Dreyer notes that “no one expects you to memorize the spelling of every word in the notoriously irregular, unmemorizable English language.” When you are unsure, use a dictionary. His dictionary of choice is Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
To learn much more about recognizing errors in writing, get a copy of Dreyer’s English. I’ll share a full review of the book in a few days.