While viewers and contestants of this year’s National Spelling Bee will fixate on the fine points of spelling “tchotchke” or the etymology of “maculature” (it’s French, from Latin), perhaps it would be a good time for many of us to lower our sights a little bit and focus on some of the words we use and type every day — and almost always misspell.
Such as, “misspell.”
Because while you can reasonably expect to never have to type the word “preprandial,” how many times have you second-guessed yourself while spelling out “accommodate?” Or “maintenance?”
These are the kind of words we actually need to know — and the ones that tend to humiliate us on a weekly basis.
So never mind what those 13-year-old future bosses of yours are spelling at the National Bee. Here are 11 words that many adults screw up, presented for you in standard spelling bee form.
The word is: Occasion
Can you use it in a sentence? Finally, an occasion to address all these words we always stumble on.
Is it o-c-c-a-s-s-i-o-n? // ::buzzer::
The word is: Fiery
Can you use it in a sentence? The fiery debate surrounding how to pronounce “gif” still rages, even though we all know there’s only one correct answer.
Is it f-i-r-e-y? // ::ding::
The word is: Embarrassed
Can you use it in a sentence? I was so embarrassed I spelled embarrass wrong, even though it had a red, squiggly line underneath when I typed it in Word.
Is it e-m-b-a-r-a-s-s? // ::horn::
The word is: Restaurant
Can you use it in a sentence? Many people misspell “restaurant” but many restaurants misspell “appetizer,” so… all even?
Is it r-e-s-t-a-r-a-u-n-t? // ::gong::
The word is: Vacuum
Can you use it in a sentence? The next time ESPN airs an offbeat competition will be July 4, when human vacuum Joey Chestnut eats 70 hot dogs.
Is it v-a-c-c-u-m? // ::whoopee cushion sound::
The word is: Loose
Can you use it in a sentence? Brad Pitt puncher Vitalii Sediuk probably shouldn’t be let loose anywhere near a red carpet.
Is it l-o-s-e? // ::pots banging, cats scream::
The word is: Daiquiri
Can you use it in a sentence? When at the beach this summer, a real man will order a strawberry daiquiri.
Is it d-a-q-u-i-r-i? // ::airhorn::
The word is: Independent
Can you use it in a sentence? There are lots of independent thoughts out there about how to spell this word, and pretty much every one them is wrong.
Is it i-n-d-e-p-e-d-a-n-t? // ::wah-wah-waaahh::
The word is: Recommend
Can you use it in a sentence? If you can’t grow a real beard, I recommend you grow a cat beard instead.
Is it r-e-c-c-o-m-e-n-d? // ::The Price Is Right loser noise::
The word is: Separate
Can you use it in a sentence? The spelling bee should have a separate contest for the most over-the-top reactions.
Is it s-e-p-e-r-a-t-e? // ::Pac-Man dying sound::
The word is: Misspell
Can you use it in a sentence? Misspell has got to be the very worst word to misspell.
Is it m-i-s-p-e-l-l? // No.