27 words that can trip up even expert spellers

Some familiar terms have tricky letter sequences that give even experienced writers pause. Here are some that send many of us racing to the dictionary—just to be sure.

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Writers and editors with long and varied experience, it’s safe to say that we are all exceptionally strong spellers.

We can recite English spelling rules and their exceptions. We’re the ones who challenge words in Scrabble. Even the written words that appear in our dreams are spelled correctly.

There are very few words that give us trouble—except for those that we almost misspell.

Last week I used the word “piecemeal” in a text, and for a brief second I asked myself whether it was “peacemeal” or “piecemeal.”

Below are a few of these problematic words, along with their clearly incorrect alternatives. How many of these have tripped you up and made you doubt yourself?

1. Accommodate (not accomodate)

2. Broccoli (not brocolli)

3. Deductible (not deductable)

4. Definitely (not definitley)

5. Desiccate (not desicate)

6. Diarrhea (not diarhea or diarrheah)

7. Embarrass (not embarass)

8. Fluorescent (not fluoresent)

9. Handkerchief (not hankerchief)

10. Hindrance (not hinderance)

11. Hypocrisy (not hipocrisy)

12. Inoculate (not innoculate)

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