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Most Commonly Misspelled Words (List, Examples, UK/US Spellings)

What are the most commonly misspelled words in American English? The unpredictable spelling system in English makes it difficult and confusing, especially for non-native speakers, which leads to a large number of misspelled words.

Misspelled words
Misspelled words

Why are some words commonly misspelled?

Differences in pronunciation and spelling

Some words are pronounced differently than their spelling. While pronunciation is the verbal structure of the word, spelling is the visual structure of the word. Dissonances in these can create confusion and lead to misspellings. 



The word colonel used to depict an officer rank in the army is pronounced as kur-nuhl, exactly like the word kernel. 


The word ‘sew’ means stitching or weaving using threads and needles. The word is pronounced as ‘sow’.


Hyperbole is a word used to denote an obvious or extremely exaggerated statement. It is borrowed from the Greek word huperbolḗ via Latin and has the irregular pronunciation, ‘hai-pur-buh-lee’.


The word denoting women’s clothing and innerwear is borrowed directly from the French. Americans pronounce it as lahn-zhuh-RAY.

Silent letters

Some words have silent letters i.e. they are not heard when said out aloud making room for spelling errors. 

Misspelled words
Misspelled words


  • Align: The “g” in align is often missing. Or replaced with “Aline.”
  • Autumn: “The “mn” in the words is often confusing.
  • Aplomb: The “pl” silent letters are often confusing.
  • Ascent: The “sc” combination can get misspelled easily.
  • Bridge: With the “dg” being silent, often misspelled as “Brige.”
  • Cologne: The “gn” combination can get confusing.
  • Champagne: Similar to “cologne,” the “gn” combination is confusing.
  • Debt: The “bt” combinations are challenging to remember.
  • Doubt The “bt” combination is challenging to remember.
  • Feign: With the “gn” silent letters getting confused.
  • Gnaw: “Gn” in “gnaw” can get misspelled as “naw.”
  • Numb: The “mb” combination as “num.”
  • Resign: “The “gn” combination being confusing.
  • Subtle: More “bt” silent letters.
  • Womb: The “mb” in womb being highly confusing.

Double/repetitive letters

Some words have one or more repetitive letters occurring together which makes it easy to misspell.


  • Accommodate: Misspelled as acomodate.
  • Balloon: Misspelled as baloon.
  • Cigarette: Misspelled as cagarete.
  • Coffee: Misspelled as cofee.
  • Colleague: Misspelled as coleague.
  • Committee: Misspelled as comitee.
  • Harass: Misspelled as harass.
  • Embarrass: Misspelled as embaras.
  • Exaggerate: Misspelled as exagerate.
  • Recommend: Misspelled as recomend.
  • Recurring: Misspelled as recuring.
  • Trellis: Misspelled as trelis.
  • Underrate: Misspelled as underate.
Misspelled homophones
Misspelled homophones


Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings.


  • One/Won
  • Berry/Bury
  • Whine/wine
  • Cereal/serial
  • Pair/Pear
  • Flour/Flower

Proper nouns

Names of people, places, brands, etc. can sound different than the way they appear. 


  • Reagan (not Raygan/Rhaygun)
  • Louis (Not Luwis)
  • Madeleine (Not Madalin)
  • Arianna (Not Ariana)
  • Sean (Not Shaun)
  • Geoffrey (Not Joffrey)
  • Graham (Gram and not GraHam)

Brand names

Some brands have willfully changed their spellings for impact, uniqueness, or emphasis. 

Examples of brands with modified spelling:

  • Reddit
  • Fiverr
  • Flickr
  • Wrogn
  • Diggz
  • Tumblr

But some brand names have been commonly misspelled due to their foreign origin. 

Commonly misspelled brand names
Commonly misspelled brand names

These are:

  • Hyundai
  • Ferrari
  • Gillette
  • Huawei
  • Volkswagen
  • Nutella
  • Lamborghini
  • Fedex
  • Bugatti
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Porsche

Differences between UK and US spelling 

Though UK and US English share a common language, you may wonder why they have different spellings

The standardized spellings of English came about only in the late 18th century. The Johnson’s Dictionary (1775) cemented the current UK spelling by contending that the spelling should be dependent on the origin word. 

But Noah Webster’s Dictionary (1783) introduced changed spellings in US English motivated by the need to make it easier to learn. This emphasis on phonetic spellings led to dropped letters, transposed letters, etc. 

Let’s see some examples of varied spelling in UK and US English.

UK/US Misspellings
UK/US Misspellings

Examples of dropped letters

US English has dropped redundant letters in spellings to make them closer to phonetic spellings. 


UK/British EnglishAmerican English

Examples of transposed spellings

Some letters are transposed in the spellings of US English to make it closer to its pronunciation. 


UK/British EnglishAmerican English

Examples of double consonants


UK/British EnglishAmerican English

Examples of changed letters

The US English favors the use of ‘z’ instead of ‘s’ historically.


UK/British EnglishAmerican English

Since both variants are correct but restricted to the respective regions, it is important to maintain uniformity in spelling rules for consistency.

Commonly confused words

Some words in English may sound the same though they have entirely different meanings and spelling. 

  • accept/except
  • advice/advise
  • affect/effect
  • allusion/illusion
  • allude/elude
  • assent/ascent
  • complement/compliment
  • counsel/council
  • conscious/conscience
  • dependant/dependent
  • discrete/discreet
  • elicit/illicit
  • imminent/immanent
  • farther/further
  • forward/foreword
  • license/license
  • practice/practise
  • proceed/precede
  • principle/principal

Commonly misspelled words in English

Here’s a list of frequently misspelled words in English due to their irregular pronunciation, emphasis, silent letters, or double letters.

  • Accede
  • Acknowledgment
  • Almond
  • Amateur
  • Amethyst
  • Ascend
  • Asterisk
  • Asylum
  • Atheist
  • Believe
  • Bureau
  • Bury
  • Business
  • Calendar
  • Chaos
  • Chief
  • Coffee
  • Colleague
  • Colonel
  • Committee
  • Connoisseur
  • Conscientiously
  • Debt
  • Delinquent
  • Doubt
  • Drunkenness
  • Ecstasy
  • Effervescence
  • Entrepreneur
  • February
  • Gauge
  • Gnash
  • Guarantee
  • Harassment
  • Haughty
  • Hierarchy
  • Hyperbole
  • Inconvenience
  • Irresistible
  • Jeopardy
  • Leisure
  • Liaison
  • Lightning
  • Lingerie
  • Mellifluous
  • Mischievous
  • Obeisance
  • Occurrence
  • Perjury
  • Perseverance
  • Personnel
  • Playwright
  • Preferred
  • Prejudice
  • Privilege
  • Process
  • Professor
  • Pronunciation
  • Psychic
  • Quarantine
  • Questionnaire
  • Quintessential
  • Recommend
  • Recurring
  • Renaissance
  • Resplendent
  • Restaurant
  • Rhapsody
  • Rhythm
  • Rotisserie
  • Schedule
  • Scissors
  • Separate
  • Sew
  • Solder
  • Success
  • Symphony
  • Vacuum
  • Viscount
  • Wantonly
  • Wednesday
  • Weird

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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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