Some English words can be very tricky and we often misspell these words, which can lead to embarrassing moments. The English language is held to be the most popular language in the world. It is the official language in so many countries of the world. Yet, the language is rife with many linguistic difficulties familiar to many other languages in the world chief of which is spelling. From the double letter predicament to the vowel sound confusion, a lot of factors contribute to controversy associated with the correct spelling of English words.
We have fished out twenty of the hardest words to spell in the world in English, analyzing the reasons for their difficult nature and how to get familiar with them so that you would avoid misspelling them in the future.
Hardest and Commonly Misspelled English Words with silent letters
1. Misspell: There! Misspell is one of the hardest words to spell in the world in the English language. Imagine misspelling ‘mispell‘. The irony of it all! The tricky thing about this word is that because the root word, that is, ‘spell‘ starts with the letter ‘s’, it is easy to miss out the mandatory ‘s’ that comes with the prefix ‘mis’.
This is a very common word as it is also commonly misspelled. You come across this word ever so often but you do not register the double ‘s’ maybe because of the double ‘l‘ at the end.
2. Weird: Perhaps it is because of the weird nature of the spelling of this word and by this we mean how the vowel ‘e‘ unconventionally comes before the ‘i’ that makes it one of the hardest words to spell in the world in English. To avoid misspelling this word, always have in mind the order of the vowels in the word and you are good to go.
3. Pronunciation: For a word that means how a word is pronounced, it is not hard to see why this word is often misspelled. The reason for this is not far-fetched. With related words like pronounce, pronouncing, pronouncement having a letter ‘o’ between the the first and second letter ‘n’, one can easily mistake this word, too, to be spelled likewise. Remember that the letter ‘o’ is not included in the spelling of this word.
4. Logorrhea: The problem with spelling this word is defined by it’s meaning– excessively wordy, in this instance though, excessive letters, some of which are silent or pronounced differently.
5. Gobbledygook: Gobbledygook is a word that sounds like what it means- complicated and hard to understand as it is to spell.
6. Nauseous: With all the vowels everywhere in this word, you might find yourself a bit nauseous while trying hard to keep up with the spelling of this word. It is not only the order of the vowels that is hard to remember, even the consonants, like the letter ‘s‘ poses a slight difficulty as it is pronounced as /sh/ such that one might think that there should be the letter ‘c’ after the ‘s‘ as in words like ‘conscious‘ or ‘precious‘.
7. Chiaroscuro: This words means an interplay of light and shade as the spelling is an interplay of consonants and vowels.
8. Mischievous: Yes, we all pronounce it as /mischeeveeous/. Wrong! The problem starts from pronouncing it as though there’s an ‘i’ after the letter ‘v‘ when there really isn’t. The ‘i‘ only comes after the letters ‘m‘ and ‘h‘ as in the root word, ‘mischief’.
9. Accommodation: The problem of double letters comes to play here. Moreso, in this case, there are two letters that were repeated. It is really a mouthful.
10. Minuscule: No, it’s not ‘miniscule‘. Not at all. It is from Latin ‘minus’ which means less. Plus there is no letter ‘k’.
11. Onomatopoeia: This means a word formed from a sound assoiciated with what it is named after. When you pronounce this word, you wonder of what purpose some of the letters between ‘p’ and the last ‘a’ are. The trick lies in committing to memory the order of those silent letters at the end of the word.
12. Pharaoh: This is the title of ancient Egyptian monarchs. Like some other hard to spell words in English, this word does not follow the spelled-as-it-is-pronounced rule. This is no wonder, after all, Pharaohs were know to be stubborn and unyielding.
13. Bellwether: Do not be mistaken. This word is not associated with the weather or climate or any such thing. In fact, it originates from the word wether. A wether is a ram with a bell on its neck which alerts and leads the herd of sheep. A bellwether in the same way is a leader in a particular field, showing the way for the future and what trends will be.
14. Drunkenness: The many letters of this word especially the repeated letters will leave you in stupor after spelling. Too many letters too can make one see double!
15. Exhilarate: It’s hard not to get high on this word, what with the silent letter ‘h’ and the letter ‘a’ both of which are pronounced differently.
16. Experience: It can be a bizzare experience trying to spell this word with all the ‘e’s in it. Luckily, it follows the ‘ie’ rule so no problems about the vowel order.
17. Hierarchy: This one, too follows the ‘ie’ rule unlike its counterparts like ‘weird’ in the list of hardest words to spell in the world in English. It means people order and it follows the order of spelling, great!
18. License: Another tricky word which does not follow through with the pronunciation. The two different letters ‘c‘ and ‘s’ are both pronounced the same as /s/.
19. Liaison: To not mess up the spelling of this word, keep the relationship between the vowels at your fingertips: there is a letter ‘a’ between the the two ‘i’s and there is not letter ‘z‘ just the ‘s’ pronounced as ‘z‘.
20. Quay: There is virtually no relationship between the spelling of this word and its pronunciation. A quay is a structure built on the land next to a body of water where boats, ships and other such vessels can load and let out goods and passengers. It helps to know that the letter ‘q’ is always pronounced as /k/.
21. Sesquipedalian: The word ‘Sesquipedalian‘ is a difficult word to pronounce and it is equally difficult to spell. This word basically means the use of long words, and it is generally used to refer to a person who uses long and big English words while speaking. For instance: Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon is a Sesquipedalian.
To spell this word, you need to understand it’s pronunciation. If you can pronounce it, you will definitely be able to spell it. You may use Google voice or other software programs to listen and master the pronunciation of this word.
22. Behaviour: Behaviour is a commonly misspelt English word. This word means the way which a person acts or usually responds to things and it is commonly misspelt as people often type it as Behavior.
However using Behavior instead is not wrong in entirely as Behavior is the spelling of Behaviour in American English, but Behaviour is correct spelling in British English and in many other English speaking countries. So therefore in using the word, you need to examine it’s context of use and the country it is being used in; so as to rightfully spell the word.
Ignorance of correct spelling is a big shame and is no excuse to turn in works swarming with misspelled words. Imagine what that tells of you! Google search and auto correct may come in handy but they cannot always save you as they may not always be readily available or allowed, for example, in a spelling bee or an exam. A misspelled word might just cost you that precious mark that could seal your victory.
The English language is fraught with many linguistic pitfalls, rules and exceptions to the rules when it comes to spelling. The list above, plus the helpful tips, will help you escape your spelling woes and effectively step-up your spelling game!