Writing System Topics
  Vivian Cook
Spelling Data
Spelling tests

Spelling Mistakes on the Web

Though people who write web pages can easily check what they write with spell-checkers, they still make many mistakes. Here are some of the words that are spelled wrong most often.

Correct spelling Other spelling(s) Percentage Wrong

minuscule

miniscule (Oxford English Dictionary labels it erroneous: Merriam-Webster as a variant)

36%

supersede

supercede, superceed

20.2

accommodation

accomodation, acommodation acomodation

19.7

ecstasy

exstacy ecstacy

12.9

embarrass

embaras embarass

12.2

receive

recieve

11.2

desiccate

desicate, dessicate, dessiccate

10.6

definitely

definately difinately

10.4

pronunciation

pronounciation

10.2

separate

seperate

9.7

necessary

neccesary necesary neccesary

9.1

address

adress adres

6.5

cemetery

cemetary semetary (but Stephen King film Pet Semetary and SEMETERY Records)

6.3

occurrence

occurence occurence

6.1

independent 

independant

5.7

questionnaire

questionaire

4.8

liaison

liaision liason

4.7

 useful

usefull

4.3

beginning

begining

1.6

parallel

paralel paralell parrallel parralell parrallell

1.5

To obtain information on web mistakes, type a word into a search engine such as Yahoo or Google and see how many web pages are found, usually numbered in hundreds of thousands. Then type the word in with typical wrong spellings to see how often they are used. The snags are:

  • the spelling may be the same as a correct word in another language - some of the pages may not be in English.

  • the word may be a proper name; for example 'hight' (12.7%) is mostly a proper name 'Hight', not a misspelling of 'height'.

  • the spelling may vary from one country to another, i.e. British style spelling tends to use 'centre', US style spelling 'center', though the 'British' 'center' is increasingly used in the USA.

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