Every State's Most Misspelled Words

I was a pretty good speller when I was a kid. I always won my class spelling bee, and was the runner-up in the school's spelling bee twice, but I never got to the big show.

My spelling skills always made me a little impatient with the kids who couldn't however, especially when they asked the teacher how to spell a word. He or she would say, "Check the dictionary," and they would say "I can't look it up if I don't know how to spell it."

I hated that excuse. They could mostly spell the word but just had problems with a couple of letters. How hard was it to figure out the rest?

Take the word "dictionary." Right off the bat, you know how to start. It starts with a D. It's not a tricky word like "mnemonic" or "wrinkle." Dictionary doesn't start with a silent P.

And the letter that makes the short 'I' sound? Again, no problem. Now it's just a matter of phonetically spelling the rest of the word and narrowing down your search within said dictionary. What was so hard about that?

Nowadays, we not only have spellcheck on our computers, we have autocorrect on our phones. Our phones literally fix our spelling errors as we text our friends and family, whether we want them to or not.

Of course, this leads to some hilarious errors, like when you tell your friends that you're "ducking tired of all this shirt."

Despite this technology, many of us have words we have trouble spelling. No matter how often we try, we always spell it wrong the first time, and then have to look it up.

My problem word is "embarrassed." I'm never quite sure whenever I write it. Embarassed? Embarrased? The little red underlines on my word processor tell me those are wrong, but I only ever get it right a third of the time.

To celebrate the recent Scripps National Spelling Bee, Google released a state-by-state breakdown of each state's most misspelled word, based on everyone's spelling during a basic search.

For example, North Dakota has trouble spelling the word "yacht," Florida has trouble with "hors d'oeuvres," and New Hampshire can't spell "subtle." That's because they're too close to Boston, which is about as subtle as a drunken toddler in a fancy restaurant.

That's better than last year though, when New Hampshire couldn't spell "diarrhea," which is one thing you absolutely want to be subtle about.

Nevada had trouble with the word "probably," as in "you're probably going to lose all your money gambling." It's such an optimistic word, but the odds always favor the house, so I can see how you'd get confused right before you lose the mortgage payment.

"Beautiful" was the hardest word for 11 states, including Washington, California, Utah, Arizona, Indiana, and Illinois. That seems weird since many of these states have some of the most beautiful sights in the world. Or you can easily get to them from Illinois. (If you've been to Springfield, you know what I'm talking about.)

Massachusetts also had trouble with the word "beautiful," but that's actually an improvement. In 2016, Massachusetts couldn't spell its own name. That's right, the word people from Massachusetts had trouble spelling the most was the place where they lived.

It's a tough word to spell though. Not like Wisconsin. In 2017, Wisconsin didn't know how to spell Wisconsin. This year, they were one of the other 11 states that couldn't spell "beautiful."

"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" was a bit of a pickle for six states: Oregon, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Georgia. While this is a complicated word that I have never been able to spell, I have a tough time believing that Texas, Michigan, and Ohio had more people who wanted to spell that word over others, like "canceled," which gave Oklahoma and Maryland fits.

I'm going to have to call B.S. on "canceled" with one L though, because two years ago, Google spelled "cancelled" with two L's, and said it caused problems for Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Virginia. So now I'm thinking Google needs to make a decision about which spelling they prefer, except Delaware can't spell "decision."

Meanwhile, Alabama had trouble with "cousin." I'll let you think about that one a little more.

The state of Kansas had trouble with the word "consequences." As in, there are consequences for state Republicans underfunding your schools by $2 billion. One of them is not knowing how to spell the word that means "payback is coming in November."

I "sincerely" mean that, although Missouri and Connecticut can't spell that word. I don't blame them though, because I couldn't spell Connecticut for the longest time.

And this year, neither can Maine.

People are always going to have problems spelling certain words. Whether it's because we're learning it as a new language, because people weren't big readers in school, or maybe even because they just made a simple typo. Or because their state cut funding to their schools so badly, they may shut down in five years. (Lookin' at you, Kansas.)

I'd like to say that it will "definitely" get better, except Kentucky can't spell that either. How embarassing. No, wait, embarrasing. No, no, embarrassing!

Got it!

The 3rd edition of Branding Yourself is now available on Amazon.com and in your local Barnes & Noble bookstore.