- The English language is as unpredictable as it is colourful.
- From “grateful” to “disappear,” these common words are deceptively hard to spell.
- “Occasion” gets two “c’s” and one “s.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Let’s face it – spelling is hard. Without spell check and autocorrect, our texts and emails would likely include a handful of typos.
From homophones such as “soar” and “sore” to words with doubled letters like “parallel” and “committee,” the English language is as unpredictable as it is colourful.
To find common words that are deceptively hard to spell, Insider searched for 5th-grade spelling lists. Keep reading to learn about 32 words that a 10-year-old student can spell, but you probably get wrong a lot.
The “i before e” rule may have exceptions, but in this case it will help you “achieve” spelling success.
When you “receive” a “c,” you put “e” before “i.”
At first glance, “disappear” appears to have a tricky spelling. If you keep in mind that “dis-” is a Latin prefix, you’ll remember not to double the “s.”
It’s great to have gratitude, but there’s nothing great about “grateful.” In Latin, “grat” is a root word that means “pleasing, thankful, or favourable.”
If you pay attention, you’ll notice there’s an “e” in the middle of “noticeable.”
You might feel humiliated if you misspell “embarrass,” a word whose double “r’s” come from the French “embarrasser.”
A special event like a royal wedding is a good “occasion” to remember how to spell this word, which gets two “c’s” and one “s.”
The spelling of “separate” is on par with its Latin etymology, a combination of “se-” (“apart”) and “parare” (“prepare”).
You might feel the heat if someone asks you how to spell “fiery” – the “e” doesn’t go where you think it would.
Unless you’re talking about a bird with an injury, our feathered friends “soar” when they take to the sky.
Formed from the Latin prefix “inter-” (“between”) and the verb “rumpere” (“to break”), the double “r’s” in “interrupt” can lead spellers astray.
Don’t commit to spelling “committee” if you forget about the word’s three doubled letters.
The humble nickel may only be worth five cents, but the word itself has a rich etymological history. That’s why its spelling is not the most phonetically straightforward.
You can’t list a popular pirate movie franchise or famous cruise line without knowing how to spell “Caribbean.” A common misspelling doubles the “r” instead of the “b.”
The word comes from “Carib,” the name of an indigenous people from Central America and northern South America.
Some might be tempted to add a “u” to the middle of “humorous,” but there’s nothing funny about spelling mistakes.
A bickering couple might emphasise the “you” in “argument,” but there’s only one “e.”
If you’re biased toward spelling words phonetically, “prejudice” – which only has one “d” -could trip you up.
It requires more than common sense to spell “absence,” which was taken from Old French via Latin.
While some people might find the spelling of “apparent” to be obvious, the word’s “-ent” suffix isn’t evident to everyone. Many spell it with an “-ant.”
If the double “l’s” in “parallel” confuse you, think of how they illustrate the word’s meaning: “extending in the same direction, equidistant at all points, and never converging or diverging.”
The silent “h” and scarcity of vowels make “rhythm” a perplexing word to spell. Pertaining to poetic metre and patterns of sound and movement, this word entered English via the Latin “rhythmus” (“movement in time”), which came from the Greek “rhythmos.”
It would be a tragic mistake to add a “d” before the “g” in “tragedy.” This gloomy word comes from the Old French “tragedie,” which in turn has Latin and Greek origins.
When spelling “forty,” think of forts rather than the fourth digit in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system.
Homophones can confuse even the most astute speller. While “capital” refers to a country or region’s most important city – in addition to being a financial term that describes the amount of money owned by a person or institution – a “capitol” is the physical building that houses the legislative branch of a government.
To distinguish between the two words, you can think of the “o” in “capitol” as a symbol of the domed roofs that characterise these governmental structures.
You can check your privilege, but you might not be spelling it correctly. As with “tragedy,” some people are tempted to add an unnecessary “d.”
Although it rhymes with and shares a prefix with “decibel,” the word “decimal” comes from the Medieval Latin “decimalis” (“of tithes or tenths”).
The “bel” in “decibel” is taken from the surname of telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell.
There’s only a small difference between “slight” and “sleight,” but the “e” is necessary if you’re referring to “deceitful craftiness.”
You might be tempted to double the “c,” but keep in mind that the prefix in “recommend” is “re-” rather than “rec.”
If you’re mindful of the order of the letters in “conscious,” you’ll remember that you need the “sc” to make a “sh” sound.
- Read more:
- 22 phrases Americans say that leave foreigners completely stumped
- 21 synonyms that will make you sound smarter
- 11 reasons the English language is impossible to learn
- 20 words that are spelled the same but have different meanings
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