A Spelling Test for You

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?

accommodation   

bookkeeper    

bouyant   

concensus  

dilemma    

fourty-four    

fuschia    

genealogy  

glamour        

guttural   

indispensable    

momento     

occurrence     

perogative   

poinsettia     

restaurateur    

supercede   

suprise 

threshhold

unwieldly  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you found the 10 correct words yet? They appear below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

accommodation 

bookkeeper   

dilemma   

genealogy  (This one could have fooled me.) 

glamour (Glamor is also correct according to Merriam-Webster's.)    

guttural   

indispensable   

occurrence     

poinsettia     

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? 

bouyant   

concensus

fuschia    

fourty-four   

momento    

perogative    

supercede   

suprise

threshhold

unwieldly  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the corrected versions:

buoyant  

consensus

forty-four   

fuchsia

memento  

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.) 

threshold

unwieldy 

 

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 EnglishI'll share a full review of the book in a few days. 

Lynn
Syntax Training 

 

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. Was fun. Got 7 right. Occurrence, indispensable, poinsettia got me.
    Also with auto correct these get mostly eliminated I think. On a separate note as a writer I find myself googling for thesaurus more for the right word.

  2. I also got 7. The words poinsettia, bookkeeper and genealogy got me! I love that you included “restaurateur.” I Googled this word the other day, but with the second spelling: “restauranteur.” I was hoping to find a synonym for “foodie.” Restauranteur wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Great exercise.

  3. Hi Kumar,

    Seven is good. “Occurrence” and “indispensable” are important words to know. “Poinsettia” is tricky because most people pronounce it a different way.

    Autocorrect does catch most of these if you pay attention to it. However, mine missed “fuschia” and “unwieldly.”

    Lynn

  4. I easily spotted 8 mistakes and then got stuck wondering which could be the other 2. I got fooled by buoyant and unwieldy because I’ve never come across them and also don’t know their meaning.

    I love this kind of test, thank you for sharing it with us!

  5. Hi Deborah and Tamara,

    Thanks for testing yourselves and commenting. I wonder how the test would have gone if I had not stated how many words were misspelled. Harder, right?

    Deborah, “buoyant” and “unwieldy” are good words to add to your vocabulary. Look up their meanings and see whether you can work them into conversations this week.

    Lynn

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