The Washington Post

Amid a flurry of misspellings, test yourself

(Brendan McDermid/REUTERS)

And there’s more: In May, the online magazine Slate misspelled the names Kanye West, H.L. Mencken and Edgar Allan Poe in the same week, according to this story on the Poynter Institute Web site.

Last year, when Osama bin Laden was killed, a number of news organizations mistakenly said Obama had been killed (including, according to this story in the Columbia Journalism Review, an NPR Web site headline that initially said, “Obama Bin Laden Is Dead, Officials Say” and an ABC News Web site head that said, “Sources Tell ABC News’ Jon Karl That Obama Will be Buried at Sea.”

And, famously, the U.S. Constitution has the word “Pennsylvania” spelled two different ways, one the way I just wrote it and the other way like this: Pensylvania.

Online dictionaries, including and and, keep lists of commonly misspelled words. There’s even a Web site called that has, somewhat obviously, a lot of commonly misspelled words in a list that looks a lot like the other ones.

Here are some commonly misspelled words on all of these lists. See if you know how to spell them.

1. a) accommodate

b) acommodate

c) accomodate

2. a) camoflage

b) camouflauge

c) camouflage

3. a) embarassment

b) embarrassment

c) embarrasment

4. a) weird

b) wierd

5. a) perserverance

b) persaverance

c) perseverance

6. a) harrass

b) harass

c) harras

7. a) preventive

b) preventative

c) preventitive

8. a) cameraderie

b ) camraderie

c) camaraderie

9. a) sargeant

b) sergeant

c) sargaent

10. a) dilemma

b) dilemna
c) dillemna


1. a) accommodate

2. c) camouflage

3. b) embarrassment

4. a) weird

5. c) perseverance

6. b) harass

7. a) preventive

8. c) camaraderie

9. b) sergeant

10. a) dilemma


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Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.


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