Poor Spellers Of The Web, Untie!


AblockSpelling has been the bane of many a student. People that have trouble with spelling grumble about ‘meaning’ while people that have a knack for spelling torment the non-spellers by solving crossword puzzles in ink. While I was looking for a list of the most commonly misspelled words, I ran across this list at Waxy.org that’s a compilation of some of the most commonly misspelled words on the Web.

BblockDo people write differently for the Web? Are the misspellings different? Possibly. But only because a keyboard is involved and the Web is considered an ‘immediate’ medium. In short, people don’t tend to edit when they write for the Web. I’ve only seen a few misspellings that are peculiar to the Web. ‘Noone’ comes to mind. What’s interesting about the list from Waxy though is that it’s nearly four years old. Has anything changed since then? Let’s take a look.

Cblock– transexual (2860k)
– didnt (1230k, via Matt)
– doesnt (1080k, via Evan)
– seperate (804k, via Bill)
– calender (727k, via Graham)
– definately (693k, via Shannon)
– recieve (667k, via Matt)
– offical (366k)
– managment (359k)
– goverment (317k)
– commerical (277k)
– Febuary (245k)
– enviroment (242k)
– occurence (186k)
– commision (167k)
– assocation (134k)
– Cincinatti (70k)
– milennium (32k)

Compared to today’s numbers:

  • – transexual (4,330,000)
  • – seperate (18,900,000)
  • – calender (18,400,000)
  • – definately (19,700,000)
  • – recieve (13,200,000 )
  • – offical (7,230,000)
  • – managment (16,900,000)
  • – goverment (8,360,000)
  • – commision (3,210,000)

DblockAnd let’s just stop there. It’s apparent that the numbers have increased, but that doesn’t tell us if the number of poor spellers has increased, just that the Web has grown. However, there are a couple of interesting bits of information I noticed while doing the comparison. First, I had to omit ‘didnt’ and ‘doesnt’ because Google simply ‘fixes’ that search to include the apostrophe.

Take a look at ‘transexual’ though. Google doesn’t provide the well known “Did You Mean” phrase when a search is performed for that misspelling. Managment and Commision also seem to be accepted spellings. At least by Google. ‘Managment’ is quite possibly a result of following the tradition that makes ‘judgment’ or ‘judgement’ okay but ‘commision’ looks like a result of sheer numbers. Spell it incorrectly often enough, and Google simply treats it like a correct spelling. Which leads me to wonder if Google will ever become the authority on spelling and grammar.

Stands to reason that if language is dynamic, that a dynamic search engine might reflect the language of the day better than a static dictionary. So all you poor spellers out there, rejoice. Keep misspelling words and eventually you’ll gain Google’s approval.


  1. One that drives me crazy is one that Google can’t figure out because it’s actually a word. Loose for lose. C’mon, people, just sound it out. No one needs to loose weight.

    Don’t you hate when you look up the spelling of a word, and the dictionary won’t tell you the proper spelling? It tells you that two different spellings can be correct, but one might be an “alternate” spelling. No, just because lots of people misspell a word, that doesn’t make it an alternate spelling.

  2. DG

    >>No one needs to loose weight.

    Maybe if it’s a ship dropping ballast… ; )

    >>It tells you that two different spellings can be correct, but one might be an “alternate” spelling

    I’ve noticed that not all words get the alternate spelling treatment. ‘Receive’ and ‘receipt’ are misspelled frequently but I’ve never seen the misspellings offered as ‘alternate’ spellings.

  1. 1 Weekly Recommended Links: 24/03/07 : To Make Money Online

    […] Poor Spellers Of The Web, Untie – Dean at SpeakingFreely.wordpress.com highlights a fascinating list of some of the most commonly misspelled words on the web. […]

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