Misspelled words in the English language


While good spelling often predicts high intelligence and a very low intelligence usually leads to poor spelling abilities, it is not true that people who struggle with spelling have a low IQ.

Below are a few English words that are often misspelled or cause confusion, but if we understand the logic behind it, we won’t make the same mistakes over and over again:

  • Separate
- It is with an ‘a’ not an ‘e’
- Remember, there is a rat in separate

  • A lot  

- Two words.
- ‘Alot’ is an adorable cartoon character.


  • Privilege

- Two i’s and two e’s, in that order


  • Lose and Loose

- Lose - to not win
- Loose – not tight


  • Weird not wierd

- Remember ‘We are (ir) dangerous’


  • Their, They’re and There

- Their is possessive, meaning that it owns something. E.g. ‘I don’t like our neighbours. They always turn their music too loud’.
- They’re – contraction for ‘they are’. ‘They’re going to get into trouble if I report the loud music to the police’.
- There – refers to a place or an idea. ‘There they are, let me go and speak to them’.


  • Your and You’re

- Same rules as their and they’re
- Your is possessive and you’re is a contraction for ‘you are’.


  • It’s and Its

- It’s – a contraction for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’
- Its – possession when one thing owns another. The dog wags its tail


  • Definitely

- There is no ‘a’
- Definately is definitely incorrect!


  • Effect and Affect

- Effect is a noun and affect is a verb
- If you’re not sure if you are using the correct one, try substituting the word with another verb. If it still makes sense, then it is ‘affect’


  • Weather and whether

- Weather – snow, sun, rain, etc.
- Whether – the spelling of this word depends on whether you want detention or not…
- There are many more examples, similar to these but I am sure that teachers will definitely not feel      under the weather but rather privileged if their students can remember that reading affects spelling. -- If students read a lot, they will be able to separate weird and wonderful spelling errors from that which is correct!

You might also want to read about how you can recognise dyslexia.