201 Commonly Misspelled Words: Spelling Review Study Guide

Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

201 Commonly Misspelled Words: Spelling Review Practice Exercises

The words in this chapter are the 201 most commonly misspelled words in the English language. I've broken them down according to the traits that often cause them to be misspelled. Some of the words will have a few tricky parts, which will be identified in the notes after each section.


The following words are frequently misspelled either because they have unexpected double-letter combinations, or they do not have double-letter combinations where they would be expected. A great trick for remembering double-letter combinations is to split the pronunciation between the two letters in your head. Instead of pronouncing the word ak-si-dent-ly, for instance, pronounce it ak-kid-ent-ul-lee. This pronunciation is wrong, of course, but it's doubtful that you'll forget how to pronounce these words. Remember: There are no wrong ways to memorize spelling patterns.

accidentally embarrass occurrence
accommodate fulfill pastime
accomplish happily personnel
address harass possess
annual immediate questionnaire
commitment millennium recommend
committed misspell referred
committee occasion roommate
dissatisfied occasionally succeed
dumbbell occur until
    Pay special attention to:
  • The acc combination is pronounced differently in accidentally than in accommodate and accomplish.
  • Commitment only has one t, while committed and committee have two ts. This is because final consonants are not doubled when the suffix begins with a consonant (-ment).
  • Dissatisfied and misspell are easier to remember if you recall that the spelling of prefixes does not change when added to base words.
  • Pastime is a compound word in which the second t disappears. This is a special case. Roommate is a compound word that behaves according to the normal rules.
  • Until ends in one l, while fulfill ends in two ls.


The s and c sounds can cause a lot of confusion, especially when they're both found in the same word. Mnemonics can help a lot with the s and c words. For the word absence, for example, you could say that it's nonsense that the second s is a c.

absence discipline muscle
ascend ecstasy necessary
canceled exercise success
descend license  
discrepancy miscellaneous  
    Pay special attention to:
  • There is only one l in canceled.
  • The sc combination in ascend and descend can be remembered because both of these words have the same root.
  • There are two cs and two ses in success. There are two ses in necessary.
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