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back to article Brits find accommodation a little uncomfortable

Hot on the heels of the shock news that native speakers of English struggle to spell "embarrassment", a net search engine analysis of "which words received the most queries requesting a correct spelling" revealed that Brits find "accommodation" the most challenging. That's according to Ask.com, which also fingered "accessory", " …

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I wud doo it betterer

But mi smell chicken is broked !

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Flame

Does u cre8

Flamees bout spellin nd gramma to booste advertizing revenuees.

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Manouevre? Maneouvre? Manuoevre?

I always liked "manoeuvre" as a tough spelling.

Of course you'd have to be an "oeuf" not to have a mnemonic for it...

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Anonymous Coward

This includes typos, not just spelling mistakes

I have no trouble spelling "February", but I find the word fantastically difficult to type, for some reason. When I tried to type it just now it came out as "Februrary" on the first attempt.

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It's just beaurocracy

Beaurocratic spelling masters.

PS to world: It's bureaucratic, as in world-run-by-an-office (bureau).

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Anonymous Coward

Teaching spelling

I'm curious to know if schools have actually worked out how to teach spelling yet. Maybe younger readers or those with children could comment?

When I was at school (70s/80s) their only method was to tell you to learn them and threaten you with physical or other punishment if you failed to do so. It didn't work for me - fear of getting words wrong actually made it more difficult to get them right, and "creative" writing was dominated by constructing sentences that avoided difficult words. It came to dominate my whole school experience; I truanted during the last few years of primary school to avoid spelling tests and it went downhill from there. I remember once being severely castigated - literally, made to go and stand in the corner - for claiming that within a few years all our communication would be electronic and the machines would check our spelling for us. Knowing that I was right does not really make me feel much better about it now.

So when I see stories like this, I just wonder if the people who do these studies actually think about the damage that they can cause to people. Rather than enumerating all the words that people can't spell (and I notice that they're mostly the same ones that I have problems with - single vs. double consonants in longer words like "tomorrow"), perhaps they could instead spend their time working out how best to teach spelling to those who find it difficult.

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Engrish

I would have thought it would be the word nessesery.....necassery... nesesscery?

You know the one.

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Bone Idleness?

Why does everyone assume this is the case? Here's a thought; you go to spell a word you've not spelt in a while and you just need that little confirmation. Do you write indubidably and just go for it or take 3 seconds to check and find out it's actually indubitably?

I'd be interested to see the figures for "number of spelling errors in letters" over the last 20 years. I really wood.

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Silver badge

A Country of Dunces is a Vulnerable Society, easily Abused and Used for Labour

Education, Education, Education ... Missing, Missing, Missing

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Coat

I think we should fight against these spelling fascists

Follow me, comrades, dyslexic IT workers of the world untie

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Happy

Maneuver

American English is good for something.

Two things that happen when I type quickly: 1) the messages from brain to fingers take longer depending on which finger, thus I tend to type teh a lot instead of the; and 2) I might think 'their', but 'there' is what comes out.

The second one happens a lot when I touch-type. I learned a long time ago to go back a look things over, and I still miss things occasionally.

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One solution

Fail the kids who get their spelling wrong in their exams. Nothing concentrates the mind like a resit.

It doesn't fit with the "branding them as failures will scar the little darlings for life" arseholes that run the education system these days, but hopefully we'll be able to vote them out soon.

@BossHogg: As for manœuvre, you just have to remember that there´s an œ ligature in the middle, and the rest just works.

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I find it amazing

that so many of our younger customer service automata don't know the difference between words such as 'are' and 'our' . I've seen dozens of emails being sent out to our customers containing phrases like "it dosnt look like thers a problem with your acount, but iv forwarded your query to the relivant person in acounts". I'm only 23 but even I think that the standards of schools must have slipped since my day.

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A propos the apostrophe

I'd swear there were people in my office actively breeding apostrophes. The little blighters are everywhere these day's [sic].

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Dead Vulture

This is good

"The reasons? Yup, you guessed it: Text speak, reliance on spellcheckers and general bone idleness are about to consign our beloved mother lingo to orthographical oblivion."

How? Our current reliance on text based communication is good for the language in my opinion. People who would never have written a letter 50 years ago now find themselves writing every day. I know that I for one probably wouldn't be writing .1% of the amount I do if it weren't for the internet. Furthermore, it encourages non-readers to read. The fact that people are motivated to use spell checkers and electronic dictionaries instead of just not caring is a good thing. Imagine if people weren't using these facilities; you'd see corruption of the language on an unprecedented scale.

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Alert

And talking of plots.....

Isn't this just a ploy by the makers of QWERTY keyboards, and the like, to force us to become "textually brainwashed" [is that spelt correctly ?] - it all started with SMS txt msgs and thn thngs gt a lttl outta hand.

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Dog bites man

It rather brings to mind the image of walrus-mustached old men sitting in a smoky club off Harvey Street complaining that the blasted telegraph has led to a terrible decline in spelling and grammar.

Plus ca change, as the plucky Frenchies would say.

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Accountants

Try Googling for accountants who don't know there's an "o" in their profession.

Credit where it's due: I read that on NTK a damned long time ago.

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Well...

...if people don't know the different between lose/loose, to/too, its/it's, affect/effect; what do you expect?

Those four are simple examples that you see every day in the comments pages from supposedly intelligent people.

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how did ...

ask.com even get any data

does anyone even use it to search any more

well i suppose only people who don't know any better use it which may be why they have such trouble spelling

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Silver badge

Actually

I remember such 'txt spk' being used in IRC a long time ago. I'll bet there were other places too before that, but I'm only young :)

I absolutely hate how little emphasis is put on correct spelling and grammar today. For one thing it makes things more difficult to read. I often use abbreviations in text messages, but normally when I've run out of my 160 characters and need to compress it.

A friend told me something interesting recently, though (a teacher). A student taking an English Language GCSE exam can write the entire paper in txt spk and still acheive 95%! They can only penalise 5% for spelling, punctuation and grammar, ON AN ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAM!!

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Guarantee?

Who the hell can't spell guarantee?

Broccoli, now that's a tricky one.

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Anonymous Coward

Knock nock

if you want to keep the language all complicated, start adding to it. Has to be witty additions, various ironic plays on words and linguistics.

Otherwise, we are headed to the lowest common denominator, and we will all end up speaking like the Germans, you know, all logical and all that.

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Firefox FTW

Embarrassment, no problem, been corrected so many times by Firefox that I actually know how to spell this now. Accommodation (spelled wrong, right click, Firefox to the rescue). Accessories, hmm am I seeing a pattern here.

It seems we do know what letters to stick in a word, just not how many we should use.

I bet 99.99% of the spelling errors you're talking about come from not putting in double letters where they're needed. Unfortunately even the usually wrong "i before e but not after c and except where we decided to do things differently" bullshit rule won't help there.

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Silver badge

Litteral pronounciation

Simplifying spelling would involve rewriting all books and making old books somewhat inaccessible to future readers. On the other hand, pronouncing words as they are spelt is cheap. Hands up everyone who is prepared to sound like a twit so children will not have to waste so much time learn how to spell.

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Flame

Not just the spelling

It isn't just the spelling, it's its and it's. And am I not bored with this, not bored of it?

And for fricking hell's sake, what is "I should of...." supposed to mean?

Quick spellcheck and off to a darkened room with the Daily Telegraph.

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Joke

"the silent 'p' in 'receipt'", as the Telegraph puts it."

The "p" is silent, as in swimming pool.

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Coat

@ JoeK:Necessary

Never eat cress eat salmon sandwiches and remain young

or was it

never eat cheese croissants eat scrambled egg really yellow

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Go

Re: I find it amazing

“that so many of our younger customer service automata don't know the difference between words such as 'are' and 'our' .”

Eye wood two, given that they sound significantly different; unlike, for example, ‘hour’ and ‘our’.

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Anonymous Coward

Title

Dyslexia is a sign of a misspelt youth.

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Alert

I don't have a problem

If people's spelling is poor that doesn't necessarily mean that they are stupid. Some people just have more difficulty spelling than other people. What does annoy me is when they just send the e-mail anyway without spell checking it. In the days before spell-checkers, spelling mistakes were something that you were stuck with. These days their is no excuse.

More acceptable are mistakes because of words like: there; their; they're. In those cases it is often just a misunderstanding. Similarly with punctuation.

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Anonymous Coward

Society for the Preservation of the Ligature

Manœuvre

That is all.

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There's a reason

There's a reason there are two different language codes for English (EN) and American English (EU). We get simplified spelling. Maneuver rather than manoeuvre, -er rather than -re, program rather than programme, and what in the hell is with all the extra "U"s running around?? Colour? What possible use does the U have in this word? None, you say? Then extricate it!!

Granted, it should probably be changed entirely, to "kuller', but I digress.

The issue with textspeak is the same as with ebonics. Kids these days think everyone else is supposed to use their ridiculous language, rather than themselves using correct spellings of words. Little bastards.

Post Script: I tried to misspell a bunch of commonly misspelled words, but it just annoyed me, so I had to go back and fix it all...

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Anonymous Coward

Never mind spelling 'February'

How the fuck do you pronounce it?

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Is it me or...

Did what amanfromMars just say make sense for once (well the main bit but the title had its trademarked oddness)

I could read newspapers from when I was four and was pretty much given words to learn during my schooling.

Think they use something called synthetic phonics now but not idea how that works but heres a Google search string I prepared earlier http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=Synthetic+phonics&btnG=Google+Search&meta=

Knock yourselves out.

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Coat

Dew knott...

... putt awl yore trussed in spill chequers!

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Anonymous Coward

Idiots

Seriously, I never considered myself amazing at spelling, but I find that in these news stories, I have no problem with 95% of the words used as examples.

I suppose the country's average IQ is pulled down by all the chav scum who are only literate enough to claim benefits...

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Anonymous Coward

Oxford English Dictionary

Am I the only one who uses dictionary.com instead of the Oxford English Dictionary?

Why do I do that, when dictionary.com uses US English and I don't?

It's simply that whilst access to Oxford English Dictionary online is free via the local library, you need to remember your passwords for the library and the dictionary and login every time. I don't have to do that to use dictionary.com.

I really really wish the government would put some of that huge pork barrel reserve into simply making the Oxford English Dictionary free for everyone everywhere, without restriction. I suspect that English-English usage would blossom overnight, and it would be a genuinely useful resource for everyone with an internet connection.

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dont loose you're cool...

Aoccdrnig to rsceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

The reset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lterter by istelf, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig eh? And I awlyas tohghut slpeling was imporantt…! And for thsoe of you wtih mroe tmie tahn ohrets, you wlli ntocie taht not olny are msot of the wrosd a mses but smoe of tehm are cpmlpoetley msiseplt awslel…!

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Bring back the birch!

The mere threat of a caning had a most salutary effect on my spelling. "Bring it back", ses I.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 16:46, AC 19:27

"...if people don't know the different between lose/loose, to/too, its/it's, affect/effect; what do you expect?

Those four are simple examples that you see every day in the comments pages from supposedly intelligent people."

"What does annoy me is when they just send the e-mail anyway without spell checking it."

Thank you both. It sums up one of the things that makes my blood boil on here.

Re Oxford English DIctionary, 01:50 :

"Am I the only one who uses dictionary.com instead of the Oxford English Dictionary?"

No, sadly.

"Why do I do that, when dictionary.com uses US English and I don't?"

Because you're an idiot? Why not just buy a Concise OED from Smiths? Or are you like that plonker in a bit of 'Jericho' I caught the other day on TV (something else you can do without a PC.) Convinced that once they got the Internet running again everyhing would be OK. They could set up a virtual country. With virtual cities. And be President.

Normal Person : "What if we want - stuff?"

Nerd Boy : "We can just order it off the Internet!"

People who haven't read the comments section here might mistake that for gentle irony.

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Necessary dress code?

One 'c'ollar, two 'socks' (ss)

my arse.

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being teached how to spell

being dyslexic I had enormous trouble at school learning how to spell and actuality got expled over a spelling test once but my main trouble with it is

HOW THE FUDGE ARE WE MEANT TO KNOW WHAT THE RIGHT WAY TO SPELL THEM IS????

it is not like maths where it is sensible and logical the best I can do is to try to spell most things phonetiley but with the verity of ways of prouncing things that some times makes matters worse best example of this is my way of spelling pepol witch is exactly how I pronounce it but witch a spell checker will not even give me the real spelling for

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one to talk...

*ahem* http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=accomodation

looks like you're one to talk!

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Boffin

i before e

If you are going to use the "i bfore e..." aid, then you need to use the full rhyme:-

i before e

except after c

when the sound is ee

This then works most of the time, e.g. field, receive & height.

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Coat

Immigrants speak better English than native-born Britons

I was always taught that bad spelling and grammar are a discourtesy to one's audience.

When I was at school, we were issued with notebooks specifically for writing down "difficult" words (it's hard to look a word up in the dictionary if you don't know how to spell it in the first place). And we had posters on the walls showing the correct uses of easily-confused words (e.g. "Will this affect me? / Look at the effect it had on me!", "Whose is this and who's going to remove it?") There were never issues with "loose" / "lose", though; probably because, in my local accent, "lose" rhymes with "nose".

It's time we started taking spelling and grammar seriously. Withdrawing benefits from the illiterate would be a good start. Now I'll get my pipe and my slippers and .... HEY! YOU KIDS! GET OFF MY LAWN!

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Coat

February workaround

no job application till March, then

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Out of date

The simple fact is that UK-English is very much out of data and needs a serious workover. Most other languages have had rulling maintinance but it seems that UK-English is stuck at the back shelf and have gone stale. There is a middle ground between Colour and kuller or message and mgs.

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Coat

u shud cee mii handrieting

even i cannot read it....

and i work in IT

please dont ask me to take notes during a meeting. :(

a drunk spider freshly dipped in ink could do a better more intelligble job.

but then again, considering the quality of IT staff these days, i welcome our arachnid overlords into the IT fraternity.

mines the ones covered in spider silk......

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Tom
Unhappy

Just one point...

When I was at primary school in the mid 80's we were never picked up on incorrect spellings. We could write pages, and pages of text but would never have incorrect spellings pointed out to us to be corrected. Not quite sure what this was supposed achieve, but several local schools also did this.

My parents were both subjected to some weird phoetic spelling, with additional symbols, experiment when they were at school so their spelling is bad as well.

Also how much of this mis-spelling is just simple typos?

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