A spelling error is like a stain on a white shirt. Many times, the most common English spelling errors are made in simple words. 

Learning a language is all about literacy and fluency. It is the ability to convey meaning. Therefore mastering spelling and grammar is the highest form of art. 

But bad spelling can put a dent in your reputation whether you are a student or professional.

Some writing courses may be useful in such cases. Avoiding common English spelling errors makes writing seem more intelligent and reliable. Furthermore, it is also an essential part of learning to convey ideas effectively.

Why is spelling so important?

common English spelling errors

Correct spelling is important for three main reasons: 

  • Communication: Spelling is an important component of communication. 
  • Literacy: Spelling and reading are closely related skills. Hence, they help develop overall literacy. 
  • Employment: Certainly, spelling quality has a great impact on employment opportunities. According to a study, 43% of recruiters automatically discard a candidate’s resume if it has spelling errors. 

Needless to say, spellings are as important as grammar. If you wish to be good at the English language, then you must avoid these common English spelling errors. 

Here we have compiled a list of some of the most common English spelling errors:

1. Accommodate

Correct Incorrect
Accommodate Acomodate, Acommodate

Misspelt by many, the word accommodate means to provide lodging or meet the needs of someone. Many forget that there is a double c and a double m in the word. 

2. Except

Correct Incorrect
ExceptExpect, Accept

One of the most common English spelling errors made is with the word ‘except’. Except means to not include or other than. However, it is often confused with the word accept which means to undertake. It could be because the two words sound alike. Also, it is often confused with expect which means to await or anticipate. Therefore, it is always wise to double check this word.

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3. Compliment

Correct Incorrect
ComplimentComplement

Who doesn’t like getting compliments? Giving out compliments is the number one way to make people like you! But did you know that the word compliment is very different from the word complement? Although there is the difference of just one letter. Compliment means to praise someone. On the other hand, complement means to complete or improve something.

4. A lot

Correct Incorrect
A lotAlot, Allot

When people tend to mean ‘a large quantity’ they use the word a lot. In essence, they are two words. However, people write it as just one word, such as alot. While others confuse it with the word ‘allot’ which means ‘give or assign to someone’. So, be careful with this spelling. 

5. Occasion

Correct Incorrect
OccasionOccassion, Ocassion

One of the most common English spelling errors happens with the word ‘occasion’. It is more likely to be spelled with a double s instead of the single s. Therefore, always remember the word occasion has a double c and a single s. 

6. Grammar

Correct Incorrect
GrammarGrammer

Amazingly, even those good at English make this mistake. The word grammar is spelt with an a and not an e at the end. Indeed, a good way to remember this is that the word has two a’s, two m’s and two r’s! 

7. Principal

Correct Incorrect
PrincipalPrinciple, Principel

The word ‘principal’ means ‘main’ or ‘important’. However, if you misspell it as ‘principle’ the meaning of the word changes. It begins to mean a fundamental truth, a belief or a rule. Therefore, it is always wise to double check this spelling. 

8. Personal

Correct Incorrect
PersonalPersonel, Personnel.

While the word ‘personal’ means belonging to someone; it can often be confused with the word personnel. Personnel refers to the people employed in an organisation or service. So, be careful with this spelling. 

9. Receipt

Correct Incorrect
Receipt Receet, Recipt, Receit

The confusion arises because of the difference in spelling and pronunciation. While ‘receipt’ is spelled with a p, the letter is silent. So, most people omit it while writing. Another common English spelling error with this word happens with the placement of c,e and i. Therefore, it is always good to remember the rule i before e, except after c.

10. Lieutenant

Correct Incorrect
LieutenantLeftenant, Luetanant

The word ‘Lieutenant’ which is a rank in the army, is one of the most common misspelt words in English. Again, the error may result from the difference in pronunciation and the spelling. While the word is pronounced as ‘left-tenant’ in British English, it is spelt in a completely different way. Therefore, remember that the word has two t’s, two e’s and two n’s.

11. Camouflage

Correct Incorrect
CamouflageCamoflash

Again, this is one confusing word when it comes to spelling it. Because of the spelling and pronunciation difference, it is misspelt as camoflash or camoflaj. Therefore, it is better to make note of the correct spelling. 

12. Acquire

Correct Incorrect
AcquireAccquire, Inquire

One of the common English spelling errors made with the word ‘acquire’. It is wrongly spelt with two c’s. And while the word acquire means to learn, develop or obtain it can be confused with inquire. Even a spell checker may not be able to correct such errors. 

13. Calendar

Correct Incorrect
CalendarCalender

This is again one of the most common English spelling errors made. Many times the word ‘calendar’ is spelled with an e instead of an a. Therefore, the best way to remember the correct spelling is to know that the word has two a’s. Thus, the second and the second last letter is a!

14. Experience

Correct Incorrect
ExperienceExpirence, Expereince

Such a common word, but so commonly misspelt! Therefore, a good way to get the spelling correct is to remember that the word has four e’s. Also, keep in mind the rule of i before e, except after c.

15. Licence

Correct Incorrect
LicenceLisense

The word ‘licence’ is even more confusing due to it having different spellings in British English and American English. However, one has to be very careful. The correct spelling is either ‘license’ or ‘licence’ and not ‘lisense’. 

16. Maintenance

Correct Incorrect
MaintenanceMaintainence

This is one of the most common English spelling errors made. The word

maintenance is spelled as main-tenance and not as maintain-nance. Therefore, one has to be extra careful while writing this word.  

17. Necessary

Correct Incorrect
NecessaryNeccesary, Naccesary

The word necessary means something needed to be done or compulsory. However, may people make the mistake of spelling it with an extra c or an extra a. So, you should always remember that necessary has two successive e’s and two consecutive s’s.

18. Privilege

Correct Incorrect
PrivilegePrevelige, Previlage

Privilege is one of the words that is often spelled wrong. The word means a special honour or right. It is spelled with two i’s before the L and two e’s after the L.

19. Receive

Correct Incorrect
ReceiveRecieve, Receve

Again, this is one of the most common English spelling errors made. The word ‘receive’ means to get or be presented with something. But many people misspell it. Therefore, the thumb rule to remember here is the i before e except after c. And here the c pushes the i after e. 

20. Referred 

Correct Incorrect
ReferredReffered

The word refer is easy to spell. But the problem arises with the word referred. Many people spell this word with two f’s instead of the two r’s. So, it is crucial to remember that ‘referred’ has three r’s and three e’s in total!

21. Separate

Correct Incorrect
SeparateSaparate, Seperate

Separate means not joined, different or distinct. The easiest way to remember this spelling is by making a mental note about the a’s and the e’s. The word has two a’s in before and after the r in the middle. And the e’s at the beginning and the end. 

22. Withhold

Correct Incorrect
WithholdWithold

This error is so easy to make that many people do not even notice the mistake. The word ‘withhold’ is spelled with two h’s. Therefore, the correct spelling is with+hold. Certainly not with+old. Hence, make a note of that!

23. Pastime

Correct Incorrect
PastimePastime

While the word withhold has a double h in it, the word pastime has a single s. Many people make the spelling error of writing it with a double s. Therefore, it is important to remember that it is ‘pastime’ and not ‘passtime’. Even though the word pastime means an activity done to pass the time. 

24. Until 

Correct Incorrect
UntilUntill

This is again one of the common English spelling errors made. The word ‘until’ is written as ‘untill’ by many. This is certainly the wrong spelling. While the word means ‘up to a point or event in time’ it has to be remembered that it is spelt with only one l at the end. 

25. Achieve

Correct Incorrect
AchieveAcheive

This is again one of the words that is constantly misspelt. This is another example of the words that follow the i before e, except after c rule. Therefore, it is important to remember that the presence of the h after the c makes the i appear before the e. 

26. Acceptable

Correct Incorrect
AcceptableAcceptible

While there is very little difference in the pronunciation of the two spellings, the correct one is acceptable. Many people misspell it as acceptible. However, remembering that the word has two a’s, two c’s and two c’s helps in spelling it correctly. 

27. Pronunciation

Correct Incorrect
PronunciationPronounciation

This is one of those common English spelling errors that should not be so common! It is easier to spell this word because the pronunciation of the word is just as it is spelled. The word pronoun is read as ‘Pro-noun’. On the other hand, the word pronunciation is read as ‘Pro-nun-ciation’. Hence it should be easy to spell. 

28. Phenomenon

Correct Incorrect
Phenomenon Phenomenun

Many people have difficulty in the pronunciation as well as the spelling of this word. While the Ph has an F sound to it, the spelling ends with a -non.  

29. Tomorrow

Correct Incorrect
TomorrowTommorow

This word finds a place in the list of the most common English spelling errors. While being a very widely used word, it is often wrongly written. Therefore, it is important to remember that tomorrow has two r’s but not two m’s. 

30. Definitely

Correct Incorrect
DefinitelyDefenately

Definitely can be misspelt in many ways. The word has two e’s and two i’s. But still many people write various spellings of the same word. Therefore, always double-check this word. Also, there is definitely no a in the word!

31. Embarrassed

Correct Incorrect
EmbarrassedEmbbarrassed

There are many ways this word is misspelt. Many people spell it with double b or single r or a single s. However, the correct spelling is ‘embarrassed’. Thus, it has two r’s and two s’s but only one b. 

32. Stationery

Correct Incorrect
StationeryStationary

It is amazing how a single letter can change the entire meaning of a word. Like, the word ‘stationery’ means writing and other office materials. But, the word ‘stationary’ means fixed or not moving. An easy trick to remember the spelling is by relating the e in ‘stationery’ to the e in ‘pens’ and ‘pencils’ which are writing materials. 

33. Inconvenience

Correct Incorrect
InconvenienceInconvinience

Again, a minor spelling error can cause wrong impressions. The word inconvenience is spelt by following the i before e rule. In addition, there is an e after the v.

34. Colleague

Correct Incorrect
ColleagueColeague

The word means ‘a person with whom one works’. Many people often misspell this word. Therefore, one should always remember that the word ‘colleague’ is written as Col-League.

35. Lose

Correct Incorrect
LoseLoose

One of the most common English spelling errors made with this word. However, an extra o in the spelling changes the entire meaning. The word ‘lose’ means ‘to fail’. On the other hand, the word ‘loose’ means ‘not firm or tight’. Hence, it is very important to recheck the spelling. 

36. Dilemma

Correct Incorrect
DilemmaDelimma

Many times people are in a dilemma regarding the spelling of the word ‘dilemma’! Most people get confused and spell the word with a single m. Furthermore, some people write e in place of i and vice versa. However, the correct spelling consists of a double m and i first and e later. 

37. Committed

Correct Incorrect
CommittedCommited 

A lot of people write this word with the wrong spelling. The word committed has two m’s, and two t’s. An easy way to remember is that the word is committed to the m’s and the t’s! 

Common English spelling errors

Four spelling rules you should know:

1. I Before E, Except After C

The rule goes like this:

I before E, Except after C. This simply means that in most spellings ‘i’ comes before the letter e but in the presence of a c, ‘i’ comes next to the letter e. Although there are many exceptions to this rule, it does help in getting many spellings correct!

An ‘i’ before ‘e’ examples: piece, believe, field, etc.

Except after C’ examples: received, ceiling, deceit, etc.

2. Adding suffixes to words that finish with a y

When you add a suffix such as -ed, -er, or -est to a word that finishes with a y, the y changes to an i. Some examples are mentioned below:

  • Cry – cried – crier
  • Dry – dried – drier
  • Lay – laid 
  • Baby – babies
  • Family – families

3. The silent e

Furthermore, if an e appears after a consonant at the end of a word, it is silent. However, it does affect the way the vowel that comes before the consonant is pronounced. The e makes the vowel sound long. Therefore, the vowel sound of i is longer in the word ‘kite’. Whereas it is shorter in the word ‘kitten’. This is because of the presence or absence of the silent e at the end. 

4. Plural suffixes

Lastly, many people get confused with writing plurals. Do you add s or an add an -es to make a plural? The rule is simple. If a word finishes with -s, -sh, -ch, -x, or -z, you add -es to make it plural. For all other endings, add -s.

How to avoid making common English spelling errors?

The first line of defence against common English spelling errors is using a software spellchecker. Therefore, one needs to have a good spell-checker app or plugin. 

Even though there are a lot of spell checkers available in the market, here are the three best-rated ones:

1. Grammarly

Grammarly is one of the best spell checkers. It assists your writing not only by correcting spellings but also grammar. It can be added as an extension to the browser. Furthermore, one can download the desktop application or use it as a keyboard on your mobile. Therefore, it is compatible with all platforms. So, it helps you avoid common English spelling errors. 

Check out Grammarly

2. Language Tool

This proofreading and grammar checker not only fixes spelling mistakes but also grammatical errors. Moreover, it does so in more than 20 languages. Therefore, it helps you avoid common English spelling errors. 

Check out the Language tool.

3. WhiteSmoke

This app lets you check not only spellings and punctuation but also grammar and style. Indeed, it is one of the best spelling checkers out there! However, there is no free or trial period available. But, it helps you avoid common English spelling errors. 

Get WhiteSmoke.

But even a spell checker doesn’t catch every mistake. It points out mistakes but it won’t spot a spelling mistake of a word that would be correct in a different context. This often happens with homophones that are words with a similar pronunciation such as quiet and quite.

So, what else can you do?

Keep a checklist of commonly misspelt words

If you want to avoid making common English spelling errors,  keep a checklist of commonly misspelt words. SInce you can not entirely rely on a spell checker tool, this is one of the best ways to avoid mistakes. 

Check out this list of some of the most common English spelling errors: 

common English spelling errors

If along with good spellings you wish to learn more about content writing, then consider the content writing course offered by Henry Harvin.

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Learning Benefits of the course:

  • Learn fluent, confident, and flawless English.
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Conclusion:

Indeed spellings are important. There is no denying that. Avoiding common English spelling errors makes your writing better and more believable. On the other hand, it gives you a good reputation. Moreover, correct spelling facilitates effective communication. However, many people pay little attention to spelling. This may be because of the wide use of text speak. The SMS language has become too common even outside its proper environment. But using good spelling isn’t simply about sticking to old rules. Correct spelling helps in easy communication and comprehension. Furthermore, it averts confusion, and distraction and helps make a good impression.  

If this article helped you, you may also like reading some other similar blogs:

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Top 10 English writing courses online

Top 12 English Writing Books of 2022

How to Improve English Writing Skills

Top 25 English Writing Tips

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the #1 misspelt word?

Accommodate. The word ‘Accommodate’ ranks number one on the most commonly misspelt word. Many believe this word tops the list because it is hard to remember that it has two c’s and m’s. 

2. Is spelling important for kids?

Learning spellings helps a child develop a strong relation between the letters and their sounds. Therefore learning high-frequency words that can not be sounded out will help a child in their reading and writing.

3. What causes poor spelling?

Like reading problems, spelling problems originate with language learning weaknesses. Therefore, confusion of letters such as b and d results in spelling reversals. Confusing sequences of letters, such as bnet for bent, indicate underlying language learning weaknesses.

4. How can students improve spelling?

It takes continued practice. Even adults struggle with spellings. Frequent reading and continuous exposure to the written and spoken are the best ways to acquire strong spelling skills.

5. Is there any difference between grammar and spelling?

Spelling refers to the proper arrangement of letters to make a word. If those letters aren’t correctly placed, then the word loses meaning. Grammar refers to the proper arrangement of words to make a sentence.

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7 Comments

  1. Hello! I am pleasure to write this due to the great and very informative content posting.
    It helped me to correct my English Writing. Thanks fro this.

  2. Yes, I can agree with you. These are some of the common spelling errors in writing that everyone do’s. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. nice post and thanks for sharing, keep sharing these types of blogs

  4. Thanks for telling our English Grammar mistakes and for correcting our grammar from many of the tools and Henry Harvin Online course as written in the blog.

  5. Everyone confused in these words that have been written. Good topic selection and it’s a very interesting to read.

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