So far in our quest to find the most misspelled word in the English language, we have discovered that the question is even more difficult than we thought. We have to decide what counts as a misspelling (rather than a mistyping, as reader Martin the Mess reminds us), and what counts as a word. Assuming that contractions count as single words, our top candidate so far is “you’re,” which may be misspelled “your” about 15% of the time. But what about “you’re” for “your”? And “they’re,” their,” and “there”? “And “it’s” and “its”? Let us keep refining our methodology, and Dr. Boli will share some of his results in this space tomorrow.


  1. Rabe says:

    ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ ? But I don’t know how to ask for it.

  2. Jared says:

    Incredibly, hors d’oeuvre is spelled appetizer nearly three quarters of the time.

  3. And the Germans usually misspell “hors d’oeuvre” as “Vorspeise”!

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  4. Greybeard says:

    What about differences in regional dialects? While I currently live on this side of the pond, I used to live on that side of the pond. Even though I no longer live on that side of the pond, I frequently colour my speech by adding a “u” to certain words just for the humourous effect.

  5. Clay Potts says:

    I agree with Greybeard – It may also be very interesting to consider, (I am sure interested minds already have, but I am just not up to digging into another Google casserole at the moment to find out the answer myself, at least until I have finished digesting the above posts), if misspellings occur to a greater degree in the English language than in any of the other world languages.

    While it may be arguably presumed English has emerged literally as the world’s (pre-)dominant common language, as a direct consequence of the expansion of the British Empire in centuries past, it may be so, that English has emerged as the most misspelled of all languages, not simply due it’s emergence as the predominant world language, (i.e. English is the most misspelled language because it is the most spoken/written), but rather it is most misspelled because it has become in a sense, the first, (most spoken), among second languages, (by the combined impact of the British model: direct exportation of English to the non-English speaking countries, (by means of the imposition of the Imperial language on the conquered/occupied peoples in return, of course, for the conquered peoples gold, spice, tea, independence – you get the picture -see Dr. Boli’s June 13, 2013 post illustrating the British deftness for negotiating a good deal – and of the American model: English, (however, bastardly American English may be), was/is imposed, (or at least strongly suggested)/self-imposed, as a necessity of national assimilation, (and due to the excessive label space it would take to provide multi-lingual shampoo use directions, “apply, lather, rinse, and repeat if desired”), a result of mass migration, immigration of the world languages to the shores to shining shores, (and across the Mexican border), of English speaking United States.

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