How Do You Spell That?

I was spelling the word surreptitious the other day, and I had to grab the Canadian Oxford because something just didn’t look right. Sure enough, something wasn’t right: I had written surrepticious.

Spelling matters. I would argue that text with several spelling errors — not merely typos — makes the writer look careless at best and unintelligent at worst. Of course, as an editor, making sure words are correctly spelled is part of the job.

Think your spelling is up to snuff? Here’s a test for you. What words are misspelled in the list below? (And note that I’m talking about the correct Canadian spelling, which tends to be a mix of British and American spellings.)

deductible                                                    icewine                                                     benefited

prerogative                                                 toque                                                         judgment

sacrilegious                                                humorous                                                manoeuvre

supersede                                                    enrol                                                          appendices

transferable                                                forestall                                                   skepticism

withhold                                                       skilful                                                        grey

ad nauseam                                                woollen                                                     whisky

occasion                                                      focused                                                     minuscule

So, have you decided which words are misspelled?  Did any stump you, or did you find the misspelled words easily enough? In fact, the words in the above list are all spelled correctly. Consult the Canadian Oxford Dictionary if you must, but I’m telling you the truth. (I know one editor who prefers tuque to toque, but the dictionary doesn’t. It gives tuque as a variance of the preferred toque.)

As a newbie editor, I find myself searching through the dictionary a lot, just to be sure. Who wants to get called out for a spelling mistake — it’s too basic an error to commit. But time is money, and the more time I spend checking my spelling, the less money I make per hour. It pays to be a good speller.

For an in-depth analysis of English spelling and our relationship with it, check out Simon Horobin’s new book, Does Spelling Matter? Here’s a review.


1 Comment

Filed under spelling

One response to “How Do You Spell That?

  1. Pingback: I don’t spell favourite wrong! | AN King

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