What words are you always seeing misspelled? What words do you look up every time?

Question of the Week

What words are you always seeing misspelled? What words do you look up every time?

Mar 13, 2013, 07:46 pm CDT


Photo of Bryan Garner by Terri Glanger.

The Bryan Garner on Words column from our March issue, “Why lawyers can’t write,” has been burning up the charts at

Garner mentions in this particular column that he personally has a practice of “asking secretarial candidates, who invariably describe themselves as good spellers, to spell three words—such as idiosyncrasy, inoculate and anoint.” Candidates rarely spell more than one correctly, he writes. “Then, when asked by the next interviewer how they fared on my quiz, they usually answer something like, ‘Quite well, actually.’ “

This particular tidbit got us thinking we’d like to ask you: What words are you always seeing misspelled (other than, perhaps, idiosyncrasy, inoculate and anoint)? Alternatively, if you’re not in the ranks of the spelling police, what relatively common words do you look up every time because you can’t quite remember how to spell them?

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: How many times have you exercised in the last 7 days? And what did you have for lunch today?

Featured answers:

Posted by Kafka Esquire: “I generally run an hour per day four days per week to prepare for marathons; and I play a few sets of tennis twice per week. Lunch yesterday was a box of Tagalongs, a bag of Utz potato chips, and a can of Mountain Dew. At the moment (10:47 a.m. EST) I am snarfing down a 15-ounce package of Oreo Double Stuf cookies and a can of Coke. I’ll burn off these junk calories today just sitting here (very high metabolism). I generally eat a healthy dinner, because my wife makes me. (Damn Mediterranean diet …).”

Posted by StCheryl: “I exercise my constitutional rights daily. I eat my opponents for lunch.”

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