The Most Commonly Misspelled Words in English (Words 6-10)

This is the second post in a series. Read the other posts here.

In this post, we’ll go over 5 more of the most misspelled words in the English language. We’ll talk about why they are often misspelled and how you can remember the correct spelling.

  1. Across

    Across is often misspelled as accross or acros. Remember: there are two S’s but only one C.

    To learn the correct spelling, try to remember that across is the combination of the words a and cross.

    A cross

  2. Personal and Personnel

    These words look very similar, but actually have different meanings (and different pronunciations.) Personal means concerning one’s private life or possessions, rather than one’s public life.

    Jack has personally invested in his friend’s startup.

    The engineer’s personal net worth is in the millions.

    In the first sentence above, personally means that Jack invested with his own money, rather than the money of his company, employer, or other entity. In the second sentence, personal means the money owned by the engineer.

    Personnel, on the other hand, is a plural noun meaning people employed in an organization. Personnel is usually only used when the organization is very large or official – you typically wouldn’t usually call the members of a 5-person startup personnel. The words staff or members have a very similar meaning.

    Google has over 50,000 personnel.

    That electric tank is designed to carry 15 military personnel.

  3. Acceptable

    Acceptable is often misspelled with the wrong suffix, as in accepteble and acceptible. These are incorrect.

    This website design isn’t perfect, but it’s acceptable for now.

    We’ve lost half of our customers in the past month! This is unacceptable!

    To easily remember the correct suffix, just remember that the word accept and the suffix able both start with A:

    Accept Able

  4. Category

    Category and categories are often misspelled with an extra A rather than an E, as in the [incorrect] catagory.

    We’re using 15 different post categories in WordPress.

    Please move this post to the News category.

    The easiest way to remember the correct spelling is to remember that category contains the female name Cate:

    Cate published the article in the Political News category.

  5. Changeable

    The word changeable is tricky to spell, even for native speakers. Many similar words follow the pattern of drop the -e and add -able. As a result, many people spell the word incorrectly as changable.

    To remember the correct spelling, remember the following line:

    When adding -able, the word change doesn’t change.

    This is the second post in a series. Read the other posts here.

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