Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Problem Words

I think I'm a pretty good speller. Spelling tests were always something I actually enjoyed (yes, I was that kind of student. In English, anyway). Working as both an editor and an English teacher, accurate spelling and grammar is something I take pride in -- although I admit the results may not always be evident in blog posts as I don't edit them nearly as carefully as I should.

Why, then, are there words that always cause me problems? No matter how many times I look them up, I can never seem to remember how to spell them. Is it a mind block? Some wonky neuron firing in my brain? What is it about certain combinations of letters that eludes me?

And the troublesome words are, in no particular order (excuse me while I go look them up):
  • Consistent: I always want to spelling this -ant for some reason
  • Plumber: because that 'b' just doesn't look right!
  • Independence: Along the way, I remember someone telling me that the ending is 'dance' and it stuck in my mind. Now I am scarred for life.

There are more but they're playing hard to get right now. I'll add to the list as I remember.

Does this happen to anyone else?


Bryn said...

I have a "stuck with me forever" story for independence, too, but fortunately it works in my favour. In high school, I handed in a science project that received a perfect score... except for a mark taken off for misspelling independent study. I will never make that mistake again.

I also have certain words that cause me continual grief, but I cannot remember them for the life of me. Perhaps if I remembered what they were, I would take more care to spell them correctly!

Ellen B said...

I can never spell 'occasion' and 'necessary', which can be very necessary on occasion.

*buh-dum ttssh*

Seriously, they're my two. I have others but I always remember those two.

Falen said...

oh gosh yes. i can't ever spell weird (is that right?) received or sentence.
Those words may or may not be spelled right in this comment...

Ann said...

My problem is occasion and necessary too. It's those c's and s's!

Nancy J. Parra said...

I'm with you- consistent is always consistant. sigh. nice post!

Anonymous said...

Embarrassingly, one of mine is embarrassment. It's only one of quite a few, but what I most identify with in this post is the strange way in which it seems impossible to learn how to spell these problematic words. It's almost as if you need to have learned to spell every word by the age of 10 otherwise you've had it!

lahossner said...

For some reason I only want to put one 'd' in address.

Quick way to remember 'necessary' is to think of a shirt - one collar and two sleeves. Silly but it works for me.


Deniz Bevan said...

I have a couple of words that trip me up, but I can never remember them at moments like these - except that just yesterday I was doing research for my novel, taking notes, and came across one of them: medicine! I always want to write medecine!
On another note, I guess it's cos I love words and I'm a grammar stickler and I read a lot and I'm a writer but... there was a card gonig around the office yesterday and you wouldn't believe the number of people who made comments like "I use the computer so much I've forgotten how to hold a pen" or "I'm so reliant on spell-check that I always second guess myself when writing on paper" - arggh!!! Spell check is about the worst thing one can rely on. But I digress :-)

Grumpy Old Ken said...

I think the one that is most often seen is beneffited instead of benefited.

Marsha Moore said...

Thanks everyone! I am glad to know I'm not alone in my problem word issue! Lahossner, love the great memory trick to remember 'necessary'.

kanishk said...

consistent is always consistant. sigh. nice post!
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