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most commonly misspelt
Posted: 28 October 2010 03:20 AM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/7930745/Separate-is-most-commonly-misspelt-word.html

1. Separate

2. Definitely

3. Manoeuvre

4. Embarrass

5. Occurrence

6. Consensus

7. Unnecessary

8. Acceptable

9. Broccoli

10. Referred

11. Bureaucracy

12. Supersede

13. Questionnaire

14. Connoisseur

15. A lot

16. Entrepreneur

17. Particularly

18. Liquify

19. Conscience

20. Parallel

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Most of these don’t surprise me, but I don’t remember seeing “particularly” or “accidentally” misspelt often. I can’t even guess how they are being spelt. Ar omitted from the former, and the latter losing a c?

I am going to need a ruling on liquify: I was given to understand liquefy was the more acceptable spelling anyway.

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Posted: 28 October 2010 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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particurly gets some 23.700 googlits, acidentally some 21.000, but accidently 1.730.000. Couldn’t one say that it is reaching the point where it can’t be considered wrong anymore?

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Posted: 28 October 2010 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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OP Tipping - 28 October 2010 03:20 AM


I don’t remember seeing “particularly” or “accidentally” misspelt often. I can’t even guess how they are being spelt.

A google search on “accidently” gives about 6 million hits, e.g. from the Wandsworth Guardian of 25 October (http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/wandsworthnews/8470811.Surgeons_accidentally_left_glove_part_in_man_s_throat/)

St George’s Hospital has apologised to a patient after surgeons accidently left part of a latex glove in his throat.

Particularly seems to have a number of variants, the most common being particulary (nearly 3 million google hits).  From today’s Times of India(http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/From-peths-to-posh-areas-uncleared-garbage-raises-a-stink/articleshow/6824523.cms),

It is particulary upsetting as Diwali will be celebrated next week.

Liquefy is the preferred American spelling, at least according to the American Heritage Dictionary, and manoeuvre must be the British spelling of maneuver (not infrequently misspelled as manuever).

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Posted: 28 October 2010 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m surprised not to see desperate or siege on the list - and surely the there/their and loose/lose confusions must rank high on any misspelt words top 20.

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Posted: 28 October 2010 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Desiccated would be another candidate for the list.

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Posted: 28 October 2010 08:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Probbaly? I see that a lot - but mostly online rather than in print.

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Posted: 28 October 2010 01:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Another famous bad speller was Bernard Shaw. This led him to spend lots of time, trouble and money on [English] spelling reform.

Perhaps I should have said “waste” instead of “spend”.

One reason for some spelling mistakes may be ignorance (as in the case of “baited” in lieu of “bated” [breath]), but many others have little or nothing to do with amount of schooling, or breadth of reading. I think it’s misleading to describe spelling as an “art” - it’s no such thing.

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Posted: 28 October 2010 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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One reason for some spelling mistakes may be ignorance (as in the case of “baited” in lieu of “bated” [breath]), but many others have little or nothing to do with amount of schooling, or breadth of reading. I think it’s misleading to describe spelling as an “art” - it’s no such thing.
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So what _is_ the cause, in those “many other” cases?

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Posted: 28 October 2010 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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market research company [...] which carried out the study of 3,500 Britons

This has got me wondering about what the heck the methodology was. How did they select the words to test? What did the people use to spell them (pen/pencil, orally, keyboard)? Did they have a chance to correct errors if they recognized them? I can think of all sorts of investigational biases that can be introduced by a survey that would be hard to control for. It seems to me that examining a corpus of writing of various types would be the way to go, not a survey.

It also emerged one in six people often spell words so incorrectly while typing their PC doesn’t recognise the word they are attempting.

Okay, this is a test of typing skills, not spelling, and heavily weighted by quality of the spell-check dictionary in use. And results have got be nearly 100%, not one in six. Anyone who does any reasonable amount of typing will create typos the computer doesn’t recognize from time to time. (Actually, I think this sentence is an example of bad writing by the reporter. I’m not sure what was being tested here.) (Edit--okay, I just saw the word “often.” But how often is “often”?)

Frankly, one can’t draw any conclusions from this article.

It’s also got me wondering who paid for this and why. Market research firms don’t conduct polls for the hell of it or to further human knowledge. Someone wants to sell something here.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 01:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’d have said the most commonly misspelt are there/their, whose/who’s, where/were/we’re.  You could argue that they are the most commonly confused instead of most commonly misspelt, but the confusion leads to spelling mistakes.  These won’t show up as easily on a search of random words.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 01:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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So what _is_ the cause, in those “many other” cases?

I think I would describe spelling as a skill, like driving, or knitting. As with other skills, each of us has an innate ability, which training can help us to develop, but only up to a limit, which is different for each individual - so that most of us end up average, a few brilliant, and a few hopeless. 

Dave - good thinking. cui bono?

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Posted: 29 October 2010 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Yes, it would be interesting to know the methodology.

I can’t imagine who would make money of this, or how, though.

BTW, my browser underlines misspellings now. I didn’t ask it to. It must be running on the shittiest spellchecker ever devised. I can rarely go for a paragraph without it incorrectly underlining a word.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I can’t imagine who would make money of this, or how, though.

It smells to me like someone has some kind of spelling aid or product and is putting out press releases and trying to generate buzz about spelling problems. Or perhaps the market research team was hired to do the study in order to produce product requirements for some kind of spell checker, but then decided to publish the results on their own just to get their name in the news.

my browser underlines misspellings now

Why would anyone want an active spellchecker on a browser? This seems like a silly feature. (Actually, I can see several good reasons for having one, but the default should be turned off. Only those editing web pages would want this feature.

Product idea: a spelling dictionary app that links to the APIs of standard word processors and browsers, so that people can have one customized spell-check dictionary will all their apps, instead of customizing all the various dictionaries in the different apps. Market it to professional writers and institutions that have in-house style guides.

Also, does anyone know how to turn off spell check for a portion of a document in MS Word? I know how to turn it off for the entire document, but lots of times I have extended excerpts in Old English and the squiggles are really annoying, but I want the spell check for the modern English portions.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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The wordorigins spellchecker is set for American spelling which must reflect the board programme as a wholeDave uses. I have no problem with this as American spelling is now dominant though I don’t correct it.
(I’ve never been able to find instructions for how to use this board, however. LH kindly explained the ‘a’ function for inserting links. You cannot turn off the spellchecker here either as far as I can tell not that I am objecting what with typos, etc.)

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Posted: 30 October 2010 08:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I didn’t know wordorigins had a spell checker.

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Posted: 31 October 2010 03:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I didn’t know either. And there is nothing in the system configuration or in the Expression Engine documentation either. My spell check works through my browser (Firefox), not EE.

I take back what I said about spell checkers on browsers. That comment was so stuck in the 90s. I was thinking of simply reading web pages. Of course if you’re adding content, participating in discussions, tweeting, etc. a spell checker is very useful.

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