Here are the 100 words most commonly misspelled (‘misspell’ is one of them). Dr. Language has provided a one-stop cure for all your spelling ills. Each word has a mnemonic pill with it and, if you swallow it, it will help you to remember how to spell the word. Master the orthography of the words on this page and reduce the time you spend searching dictionaries by 50%. (Use the time you save celebrating in our gameroom.)

•acceptable – Several words made the list because of the suffix pronounced -êbl but sometimes spelled -ible, sometimes -able. Just remember to accept any table offered to you and you will spell this word OK.
•accidentally – It is no accident that the test for adverbs on -ly is whether they come from an adjective on -al (“accidental” in this case). If so, the -al has to be in the spelling. No publical, then publicly.
•accommodate – Remember, this word is large enough to accommodate both a double “c” AND a double “m.”
•acquire – Try to acquire the knowledge that this word and the next began with the prefix ad- but the [d] converts to [c] before [q].
•acquit – See the previous discussion.
•a lot – Two words! Hopefully, you won’t have to allot a lot of time to this problem.
•amateur – Amateurs need not be mature: this word ends on the French suffix -eur (the equivalent of English -er).
•apparent – A parent need not be apparent but “apparent” must pay the rent, so remember this word always has the rent.
•argument – Let’s not argue about the loss of this verb’s silent [e] before the suffix -ment.
•atheist – Lord help you remember that this word comprises the prefix a- “not” + the “god” (also in the-ology) + -ist “one who believes.”
•believe – You must believe that [i] usually comes before [e] except after [c] or when it is pronounced like “a” as “neighbor” and “weigh” or “e” as in “their” and “heir.” Also take a look at “foreign” below. (The “i-before-e” rule has more exceptions than words it applies to.)
•bellwether – Often misspelled “bellweather.” A wether is a gelded ram, chosen to lead the herd (thus his bell) due to the greater likelihood that he will remain at all times ahead of the ewes.
•calendar – This word has an [e] between two [a]s. The last vowel is [a].
•category – This word is not in a category with “catastrophe” even if it sounds like it: the middle letter is [e].
•cemetery – Don’t let this one bury you: it ends on -ery nary an -ary in it. You already know it starts on [c], of course.
•changeable – The verb “change” keeps its [e] here to indicate that the [g] is soft, not hard. (That is also why “judgement” is the correct spelling of this word, no matter what anyone says.)
•collectible – Another -ible word. You just have to remember.
•column – Silent final [e] is commonplace in English but a silent final [n] is not uncommon, especially after [m].
•committed – If you are committed to correct spelling, you will remember that this word doubles its final [t] from “commit” to “committed.”
•conscience – Don’t let misspelling this word weigh on your conscience: [ch] spelled “sc” is unusual but legitimate.
•conscientious – Work on your spelling conscientiously and remember this word with [ch] spelled two different ways: “sc” and “ti.” English spelling!
•conscious – Try to be conscious of the “sc” [ch] sound and all the vowels in this word’s ending and i-o-u a note of congratulations.
•consensus – The census does not require a consensus, since they are not related.
•daiquiri – Don’t make yourself another daiquiri until you learn how to spell this funny word-the name of a Cuban village.
•definite (ly) – This word definitely sounds as though it ends only on -it, but it carries a silent “e” everywhere it goes.
•discipline – A little discipline, spelled with the [s] and the [c] will get you to the correct spelling of this one.
•drunkenness – You would be surprised how many sober people omit one of the [n]s in this one.
•dumbbell – Even smart people forget one of the [b]s in this one. (So be careful who you call one when you write.)
•embarrass (ment) – This one won’t embarrass you if you remember it is large enough for a double [r] AND a double [s].
•equipment – This word is misspelled “equiptment” 22,932 times on the web right now.
•exhilarate – Remembering that [h] when you spell this word will lift your spirits and if you remember both [a]s, it will be exhilarating!
•exceed – Remember that this one is -ceed, not -cede. (To exceed all expectations, master the spellings of this word, “precede” and “supersede” below.)
•existence – No word like this one spelled with an [a] is in existence. This word is a menage a quatre of one [i] with three [e]s.
•experience – Don’t experience the same problem many have with “existence” above in this word: -ence!
•fiery – The silent “e” on “fire” is also cowardly: it retreats inside the word rather than face the suffix -y.
•foreign – Here is one of several words that violate the i-before-e rule. (See “believe” above.)
•gauge – You must learn to gauge the positioning of the [a] and [u] in this word. Remember, they are in alphabetical order (though not the [e]).
•grateful – You should be grateful to know that keeping “great” out of “grateful” is great.
•guarantee – I guarantee you that this word is not spelled like “warranty” even though they are synonyms.
•harass – This word is too small for two double letters but don’t let it harass you, just keep the [r]s down to one.
•height – English reaches the height (not heighth!) of absurdity when it spells “height” and “width” so differently.
•hierarchy – The i-before-e rule works here, so what is the problem?
•humorous – Humor us and spell this word “humorous”: the [r] is so weak, it needs an [o] on both sides to hold it up.
•ignorance – Don’t show your ignorance by spelling this word -ence!
•immediate – The immediate thing to remember is that this word has a prefix, in- “not” which becomes [m] before [m] (or [b] or [p]). “Not mediate” means direct which is why “immediately” means “directly.”
•independent – Please be independent but not in your spelling of this word. It ends on -ent.
•indispensable – Knowing that this word ends on -able is indispensable to good writing.
•inoculate – This one sounds like a shot in the eye. One [n] the eye is enough.
•intelligence – Using two [l]s in this word and ending it on -ence rather than -ance are marks of . . . you guessed it.
•its/it’s – The apostrophe marks a contraction of “it is.” Something that belongs to it is “its.”
•jewelry – Sure, sure, it is made by a jeweler but the last [e] in this case flees the scene like a jewel thief. However, if you prefer British spelling, remember to double the [l]: “jeweller,” “jewellery.” (See also pronunciation.)
•judgment – Traditionally, the word has been spelled judgment in all forms of the English language. However, the spelling judgement (with e added) largely replaced judgment in the United Kingdom in a non-legal context. In the context of the law, however, judgment is preferred. This spelling change contrasts with other similar spelling changes made in American English, which were rejected in the UK. In the US at least, judgment is still preferred and judgement is considered incorrect by many American style guides.
•kernel (colonel) – There is more than a kernel of truth in the claim that all the vowels in this word are [e]s. So why is the military rank (colonel) pronounced identically? English spelling can be chaotic.
•leisure – Yet another violator of the i-before-e rule. You can be sure of the spelling of the last syllable but not of the pronunciation.
•liaison – Another French word throwing us an orthographical curve: a spare [i], just in case. That’s an [s], too, that sounds like a [z].
•library – It may be as enjoyable as a berry patch but that isn’t the way it is spelled. That first [r] should be pronounced, too.
•license – Where does English get the license to use both its letters for the sound [s] in one word?
•lightning – Learning how to omit the [e] in this word should lighten the load of English orthography a little bit.
•maintenance – The main tenants of this word are “main” and “tenance” even though it comes from the verb “maintain.” English orthography at its most spiteful.
•maneuver – Man, the price you pay for borrowing from French is high. This one goes back to French main + oeuvre “hand-work,” a spelling better retained in the British spelling, “manoeuvre.”
•medieval – The medieval orthography of English even lays traps for you: everything about the MIDdle Ages is MEDieval or, as the British would write, mediaeval.
•memento – Why would something to remind of you of a moment be spelled “memento?” Well, it is.
•millennium – Here is another big word, large enough to hold two double consonants, double [l] and double [n].
•miniature – Since that [a] is seldom pronounced, it is seldom included in the spelling. This one is a “mini ature;” remember that.
•minuscule – Since something minuscule is smaller than a miniature, shouldn’t they be spelled similarly? Less than cool, or “minus cule.”
•mischievous – This mischievous word holds two traps: [i] before [e] and [o] before [u]. Four of the five vowels in English reside here.
•misspell – What is more embarrassing than to misspell the name of the problem? Just remember that it is mis + spell and that will spell you the worry about spelling “misspell.”
•neighbor – The word “neighbor” invokes the silent “gh” as well as “ei” sounded as “a” rule. This is fraught with error potential. If you use British spelling, it will cost you another [u]: “neighbour.”
•noticeable – The [e] is noticeably retained in this word to indicate the [c] is “soft,” pronounced like [s]. Without the [e], it would be pronounced “hard,” like [k], as in “applicable.”
•occasionally – Writers occasionally tire of doubling so many consonants and omit one, usually one of the [l]s. Don’t you ever do it.
•occurrence – Remember not only the occurrence of double double consonants in this word, but that the suffix is -ence, not -ance. No reason, just the English language keeping us on our toes.
•pastime – Since a pastime is something you do to pass the time, you would expect a double [s] here. Well, there is only one. The second [s] was slipped through the cracks in English orthography long ago.
•perseverance – All it takes is perseverance and you, too, can be a near-perfect speller. The suffix is -ance for no reason at all.
•personnel – Funny Story: The assistant Vice-President of Personnel notices that his superior, the VP himself, upon arriving at his desk in the morning opens a small, locked box, smiles, and locks it back again. Some years later when he advanced to that position (inheriting the key), he came to work early one morning to be assured of privacy. Expectantly, he opened the box. In it was a single piece of paper which said: “Two Ns, one L.”
•playwright – Those who play right are right-players, not playwrights. Well, since they write plays, they should be “play-writes,” wright right? Rong Wrong. Remember that a play writer in Old English was called a “play worker” and “wright” is from an old form of “work” (wrought iron, etc.)
•possession – Possession possesses more [s]s than a snake.
•precede – What follows, succeeds, so what goes before should, what? No, no, no, you are using logic. Nothing confuses English spelling more than common sense. “Succeed” but “precede.” Precede combines the Latin words “pre” and “cedere” which means to go before.
•principal/principle – The spelling principle to remember here is that the school principal is a prince and a pal (despite appearances)–and the same applies to anything of foremost importance, such as a principal principle. A “principle” is a rule. (Thank you, Meghan Cope, for help on this one.)
•privilege – According to the pronunciation (not “pronounciation”!) of this word, that middle vowel could be anything. Remember: two [i]s + two [e]s in that order.
•pronunciation – Nouns often differ from the verbs they are derived from. This is one of those. In this case, the pronunciation is different, too, an important clue.
•publicly – Let me publicly declare the rule (again): if the adverb comes from an adjective ending on -al, you include that ending in the adverb; if not, as here, you don’t.
•questionnaire – The French doing it to us again. Double up on the [n]s in this word and don’t forget the silent [e]. Maybe someday we will spell it the English way.
•receive/receipt – I hope you have received the message by now: [i] before [e] except after . . . .
•recommend – I would recommend you think of this word as the equivalent of commending all over again: re+commend. That would be recommendable.
•referred – Final consonants are often doubled before suffixes (remit: remitted, remitting). However, this rule applies only to accented syllables ending on [l] and [r], e.g. “rebelled,” “referred” but “traveled,” “buffered” and not containing a diphthong, e.g. “prevailed,” “coiled.”
•reference – Refer to the last mentioned word and also remember to add -ence to the end for the noun.
•relevant – The relevant factor here is that the word is not “revelant,” “revelent,” or even “relevent.” [l] before [v] and the suffix -ant.
•restaurant – ‘Ey, you! Remember, these two words when you spell “restaurant.” They are in the middle of it.
•rhyme – Actually, “rime” was the correct spelling until 1650. After that, egg-heads began spelling it like “rhythm.” Why? No rhyme nor reason other than to make it look like “rhythm.”
•rhythm – This one was borrowed from Greek (and conveniently never returned) so it is spelled the way we spell words borrowed from Greek and conveniently never returned.
•schedule – If perfecting your spelling is on your schedule, remember the [sk] is spelled as in “school.” (If you use British or Canadian pronunciation, why do you pronounce this word [shedyul] but “school,” [skul]? That has always puzzled me.)
•separate – How do you separate the [e]s from the [a]s in this word? Simple: the [e]s surround the [a]s.
•sergeant – The [a] needed in both syllables of this word has been pushed to the back of the line. Remember that, and the fact that [e] is used in both syllables, and you can write your sergeant without fear of misspelling his rank.
•supersede – This word supersedes all others in perversity. This is the only English word based on this stem spelled -sede. Supersede combines the Latin words “super” and “sedere” which means to sit above.
•their/they’re/there – They’re all pronounced the same but spelled differently. Possessive is “their” and the contraction of “they are” is “they’re.” Everywhere else, it is “there.”
•threshold – This one can push you over the threshold. It looks like a compound “thresh + hold” but it isn’t. Two [h]s are enough.
•twelfth – Even if you omit the [f] in your pronunciation of this word (which you shouldn’t do), it is retained in the spelling.
•tyranny – If you are still resisting the tyranny of English orthography at this point, you must face the problem of [y] inside this word, where it shouldn’t be. The guy is a “tyrant” and his problem is “tyranny.” (Don’t forget to double up on the [n]s, too.)
•until – I will never stop harping on this until this word is spelled with an extra [l] for the last time!
•vacuum – If your head is not a vacuum, remember that the silent [e] on this one married the [u] and joined him inside the word where they are living happily ever since. Well, the evidence is suggestive but not conclusive. Anyway, spell this word with two [u]s and not like “volume.”
•weather – Whether you like the weather or not, you have to write the [a] after the [e] when you spell it.
•weird – It is weird having to repeat this rule so many times: [i] before [e] except after…? (It isn’t [w]!)

Employers Cautious as Job Growth Remains Slow

According to a recent report from MSNBC, job growth is remaining slow. There are a lot of reasons why employers are remaining judicious when it comes to hiring. But the best way to be sure when adding to your work force is to add employees as temps through BarryStaff. Then you can gauge the ability of the workers as well as the stream of work to keep them busy. If everything works out, go ahead and hire them after 90 days with no buyout fee. It’s the smart way to hire. No wonder it’s so popular with BarryStaff’s clients. Check out the MSNBC article below.

The U.S. economy generated a paltry 80,000 jobs in June, showing that the nation’s job-creation machine is stumbling even as voters’ attitudes about the economy begin to gel ahead of the November election. The unemployment rate is unchanged at 8.2 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. Job-creation has stumbled since March amid worries about consumer spending, the debt crisis in Europe and stagnation in Congress.

“There’s just not a lot of momentum in the economy,” said Sam Bullard, an economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger to President Barack Obama, is focusing his campaign on the weak jobs market that has dogged the presidency.

“The president’s policies have not gotten America working again and the president is going to have to stand up and take responsibility for it,” Romney said at a news conference in New Hampshire after the jobs report was released.

The details of the report were unsettling. The government said the economy created 1,000 fewer jobs during April and May than previously estimated.

The somber report might push the Federal Reserve closer to taking new actions to lower borrowing costs to encourage companies to increase hiring. Analysts polled by Reuters expected an increase in payrolls of 90,000 jobs.

Debt woes have bogged down much of Europe, sending some countries into recession. The eurozone crisis in turn has dulled economicgrowth around the world from China to Brazil. A survey on Monday found U.S. manufacturing contracted for the first time in nearly three years in June.

Europe is not the only worry weighing on the U.S. outlook. Washington plans enough belt-tightening at the start of 2013 to easily send the economy into recession. Cautious observers wonder if lawmakers can avoid this “fiscal cliff.”

“Firms are saying, ‘Is there really a reason to ramp up hiring right now?’,” said Bullard.
Job creation averaged 75,000 per month during the second quarter, compared with an average increase of 226,000 in the first quarter. Part of the slowdown could be because mild weather led companies to boost hiring in the winter at spring’s expense.

But recent weakness in everything from retail sales to business sentiment suggests something more fundamental is at play.

“We’re not expecting things to take off in the second half of the year,” said Sara Klein, an economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “Weather wasn’t the only factor.”

Until recently, the United States had been a relative bright spot in the globaleconomy, especially in manufacturing. Most economists still expect lackluster growth over the rest of 2012 rather than a slip toward recession.

But economic weakness abroad has lately become a formidable hurdle, as Obama has acknowledged, and global policymakers are acting like a storm is brewing.

China, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England all eased monetary policy on Thursday, raising speculation they had coordinated their action.

The Fed eased policy further last month, but the recent run of weak data has fueled speculation the U.S. central bank could deliver more stimulus when its next meeting concludes on Aug. 1.

Even though June’s pace of hiring was decidedly weak, the Fed might not want to unveil bold new measures now because the real storm could be months down the road.

“Hiring isn’t as strong as earlier this year … but not to the point where you see obvious need for Fed action,” said Cooper Howes, an economist at Barclays in New York.

Reuters contributed to this report.


When applying for a job, there are few faster ways to get your résumé and cover letter thrown out of contention than by making a glaring grammatical error.

These days, human resources departments and hiring managers are flooded with résumés. They have to be narrowed down somehow, and grammatical errors are an easy way to eliminate applicants.

“In an era of spell check, easily edited documents and instantly shared ‘can you give this a look’ emails, typos and grammatical errors on résumés and/or cover letters are pretty much unforgivable,” says Sean Smith, president of Third Street, an Indianapolis-based marketing company. “The message sent by typing ‘too’ when it should be ‘to’ can literally be the difference between getting the nod or getting a no.”

Here is a proofreading checklist for your résumé and cover letter.

1. Know your homophones
Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings, like too, to and two. Using the correct version on your résumé is crucial.

“The misuse of your/you’re, there/their/they’re, and to/too/two occurs more times than I care to dwell on,” says Marisa Brayman, a Web developer and blogger for Stadri Emblems, a company that designs embroidered patches. “If someone uses one of these incorrectly on a cover letter, he can say goodbye to his chances of ever landing a decent job. If this is due to a simple typo, that is one thing; however, in my humble opinion, if the individual doesn’t know the difference between these basic words and has never bothered to take an hour out of his or her life to learn it, he or she is not deserving of landing a decent job.”

A quick refresher:

Their, they’re, there

Their: The possessive form of “they.” (“Applicants submitted their error-free cover letters.”)

They’re: The contraction of “they are.” (“I think they’re getting the hang of this grammar thing.”)

There: A location. (“The pile of cover letters is over there.”)

Two, too, to

Two: A number. (“There are two applicants in the lobby.”)

Too: Also. (“I’d like to be interviewed for the job, too.”)

To: A preposition or infinitive. (“I’m going to apply.”)

Your, you’re

Your: The possessive form of “you.” (“Don’t forget to proofread your résumé.)

You’re: The contraction of “you are.” (“I have a feeling you’re going to get this job.”)

It’s, its

The best-selling grammar bible, “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves” by Lynne Truss, best describes the difference between these two words:

“To those who care about punctuation, a sentence such as ‘Thank God its Friday’ (without the apostrophe) rouses feelings not only of despair but of violence. The confusion of the possessive ‘its’ (no apostrophe) with the contractive ‘it’s’ (with apostrophe) is an unequivocal sign of illiteracy and sets off a simple Pavlovian ‘kill’ response in the average stickler. The rule is: the word ‘it’s’ (with apostrophe) stands for ‘it is’ or ‘it has.’ If the word does not stand for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’ then what you require is ‘its.’ This is extremely easy to grasp.”

Some other common homophones you should know:

Whose and who’s

Every day and everyday

2. Use apostrophes properly

Apostrophes are used for a few reasons:

•They indicate the possessive: “In my last job, I managed the CEO’s calendar.”

•They indicate the omission of letters in words (i.e., in contractions).

•They indicate the exclusion of numbers in dates: “I graduated college in ’05.”

•They indicate time or quantity: “I must give my current employers two weeks’ notice.”

Be sure to check your résumé for proper use of apostrophes, as well as for any erroneous punctuation. Apostrophes do not, for example, indicate the plural form of a singular noun. It is incorrect to say “I developed orientation programs to help new employee’s get acclimated to the company.”

3. Keep tenses consistent
“Building lists correctly is important,” says Christina Zila, director of communications at Textbroker.com, a Las Vegas-based content-creation firm. “Use consistent verb tenses: If you start your job duties with ‘managing multiple employees,’ don’t have your next point as ‘prepared annual reports’ but ‘preparing annual reports.'”

Similarly, as a general rule, all activities or accomplishments that you completed in the past should be in the past tense. Activities that you perform now should be in the present tense. This should be kept consistent throughout your résumé.

4. Proofread and then proofread again
The bottom line is that proofreading your application materials before submitting them is a must.

“There are enough people with bad grammar pet peeves that there is virtually no position out there where grammar doesn’t matter,” says Debra Yergen, author of the “Creating Job Security Resource Guide.” “Since a basic search-engine inquiry for ‘grammar pet peeves’ nets more than 400,000 returns, it’s safe to say that hiring managers are paying close attention to grammar and other résumé and cover-letter errors. Read and reread everything you write for a job application, and if you doubt yourself even slightly, run your submission past someone you trust.”