Arithmetic is better than language, because if you plug in the wrong number in an equation, the answer is obviously wrong. The bridge falls down, the bank repossesses your Honda, the landlord comes over and padlocks your door.
It’s a beautiful thing, math. Its punishment is swift and complete.
But when people misspell words, they don’t know. They look down at the mangled sentence they just wrote, smack their lips with satisfaction and say, “Behold the wonder I have wrought!”
Writers are arrogant, even bad ones.
Here’s a list of some of the commonly misspelled words. Pound them into yourselves. Cut your finger and put salt in the wound to keep yourself awake so that you can study deep into the night so you won’t bring shame onto your house.
accommodate – two Ms
Terrific – two Rs, one F
Bellwether – Not “weather.” A wether is a gelded ram, and they put a bell around the neck of the smartest one so the jingles lead the herd. It’s a cruel world. But you already knew that.
Conscience – “You can’t CON SCIENCE!” Har har har.
Grateful – Not greatful.
Inoculate – One “N.” Tip: It only takes one Needle to inoculate somebody.
Kernel/colonel – The first has to do with popcorn; the second with a high-ranking military officer.
Millennial, millennium – Millions of people misspell this word.
Misspell – One “s” for mis, one “s” for spell
Pastime – one S
Precede – it means to go first. “Lead the way and we’ll precede” is the way you can remember how to spell this word, which is often mistaken for “proceed.”