Spelling BeePP

Yesterday, I was working on a segment about botnets. Several times in my notes I wrote the phrase "malicious botnets." Except it was late in the day, my brain was broken and I could not, for the life of me, remember how to spell "malicious." I wasn't off by one letter, or two. I tried looking it up. Nothing.

I was so far off that typing a word into Google and getting back "Did you mean: blank" didn't work.

People, I was spelling it "militious." As if it meant "of a militia," or something. I did it over and over. I knew it was wrong but I couldn't figure out why. It got me thinking. I judge others silently and harshly for their bad spelling, but I do have a couple words I just can't spell. I never get "weird" right, for instance. Do you have words you can't spell?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Back in the day when people still typed their school work on a typewriter, I sold my typing services to a classmate for $1 a page. She wrote about some emperor or something--I don't remember whom--but the word "emperor" appeared many times in the paper. I spelled it "emporer" each and every time.

She got knocked down a grade for bad spelling.

I refunded her money and closed up shop.

Sent by Tricia, NPR | 9:54 AM | 3-20-2008

I still have to sing the I before E song in my head on some words

Sent by Sue Wargo | 10:14 AM | 3-20-2008

Ahh- harsh, my son is named Ian, and seeing his name as the spelling for idiot was quite harsh... especially since the boy is three and obsessively spells his name fifty times a day.
Words I can't spell- "diarrhea" - I absolutely need spell check for this one, and with a three year old, I've used it many times in emails to my husband while trying to negotiate who is going to pick the poor boy up from his nursery school when he has been expelled for this malady.

Sent by Anna | 10:21 AM | 3-20-2008

bulletin, psychology, gubernatorial

Sent by Lo Spo | 12:25 PM | 3-20-2008

Anna, maybe a better spelling of idiot is M-E. Anyway, give little Ian a high five for me.

Sent by Ian Chillag, NPR | 12:35 PM | 3-20-2008

Since I'm from the Midwest (Chicago and Cleveland), I used to spell "familiar" as "firmiliar." If you're from the Midwest, I think you can understand why I had the mix-up.

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 1:02 PM | 3-20-2008

Think I missed those days in elementary school when we learned the spelling rules for -ly, -lly and -el v. -le.

Sent by David Hollis, Hamilton, NY | 2:12 PM | 3-20-2008

Oooh! I just remembered! A teacher in first or second grade corrected my friend Kate's spelling of "mirror." The teacher changed it to "mirrow." We were in the south.

Sent by Ian Chillag, NPR | 2:22 PM | 3-20-2008

ironically, i can never spell committment. stupid occasional double letters.

also ironically, my ex couldn't spell honest (honost).

and ian - i like to think of our homeland as in, but not of, the south. that civil war counts for something. my senior year hs english teacher taught me to mispronounce a number of words, like "chutzpah" (say it phonetically, and you'll understand why people laughed their heads off at me when i arrived at fancy east coast liberal college of snobbery and expensive education).

Sent by matty | 5:35 PM | 3-20-2008

I didn't remember until I was posting on my livejournal, but I have a real problem with "apparently." I spelled it wrong three times in one post even after spell check caught each one as I typed. Somehow, that "e" shouldn't be there. I think it's because I pronounce it "apparAntly" not "apparEntly." Meh, it's a small problem in the grand scheme of things.

Sent by Sarah Lee | 8:12 PM | 3-23-2008

I was recently trying to figure out how to spell "aficionado". Took me a while to get it right, even with google.

Sent by Brian | 8:36 PM | 3-23-2008

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from