10 Common Words That are Hard to Spell

Test Your Skills – Do You Know How To Spell These Words?

There are so many words in the English language that are considered hard to spell words.  We probably each have our list of favorites.  However, if you were to be tested right now, would you have gotten the following words correct?  Here are ten common words that are hard to spell to test your spelling skills.

Accommodate - OK, how many Cs and Ms can we accommodate in this word? Let's ensure our bases are covered and double up on that. It works for the frosting inside cookies, right? Yeah, I have to pause and think for a moment every time I end an email by thanking someone for being accommodating. I ask myself: How many layers of frosting does this cookie have?

A lot – It means many, but it's two words. Imagine a lot full of parked cars (a parking lot, if you will) or a parcel of land. Allot is a different animal altogether. Allot means to give someone a share of something. I've been allotted half an hour for lunch, which is not a lot of time. I hope there aren't a lot of people in line to use the microwave. I've got a lot of leftovers to heat up!

Australia – It's a hard-to-spell country full of hard-to-spell words – marsupials, platypuses, Aborigines, and Tumbarumba (a small town in New South Wales). Australians must be tough, considering they live around all those spiders, snakes, jellyfish, sharks, and cone snails! What's so scary about some snails? They're just these little snails that'll harpoon you with a tooth and shoot neurotoxins into you!

Dilate – Nope, it's not di-a-late, despite how we usually pronounce it. I've got a joke to help you remember how to spell it. Why do optometrists live so long? Because they dilate (die late)! LOL!

Genius – I must stop myself from ending this hard to spell word with an “-ous”. Interestingly, the word ingenious ends the way I'd like to spell genius. What's the difference? Genius is generally used as a noun. For example, Josephine is a genius. Ingenious, however, is only used as an adjective. An example of this is Billie created an ingenious invention. Why are they different? The words have different origins. Isn't the English language great?

High jinks – It means rambunctious antics or horseplay, but for some reason, I always thought it was spelled hijinx. Evidently, the hard-to-spell word's origin is a game that was popular in the 1900s. Jink is an old Scottish word meaning “move nimbly” or “evade.”

Its/it's – Oh no! It's a common misspelling or misuse that perturbs casual internet grammarians everywhere. Simply put, "Its" is possessive. Weird, right? Because if I said The beast's hair is coarse, I'm using a possessive apostrophe followed by an s, but if I said Its hair is coarse, it's possessive, but there's no apostrophe. "It's" is a contraction of It is. So It's a beast. It's hairy. Its hair is coarse. It's a miracle I can remember any of these grammatical rules.

Lightning – Watch out for lightning which is a noun meaning electrical discharge from the clouds, but lightening is the present continuous tense of the verb Lighten, meaning make lighter or more cheerful. If you're the sort of person who enjoys thunderstorms, lightning may end up lightening your mood. Or, if lightning isn't your thing, I hope I've at least lightened your hard to spell burden.

There, they're, and their – Here's more grammarian-vexing minutiae. Their is possessive. For example, Their vexation can stand in place of The grammarians' vexation. They're is a contraction of They are. For example, They're (they are) sulking can stand in place of The grammarians are sulking. There is a place. For example, They're there sulking with their red pens at the ready can stand in place of The grammarians (they) are in the corner (there) sulking with the grammarians' (their) red pens at the ready.

Zucchini – It's all too easy to take squash for granted. But who among us hasn't scratched his head wondering how exactly to add this hard-to-spell word to a shopping list?  One way to remember how to spell words is the chop them up into bits.  Just imagine the word "zuc-chini" to remember this common hard to spell word.