When a word is spelled incorrectly, you can say it is “misspelled.” Notice that “misspelled” has 2 s’s and 2 l’s, instead of the commonly used but incorrect one “s” like “mispelled.”
A common question though is if “misspelled” is one word or two.
In short, “misspelled” is one word. But let’s try to understand why.
“Mis-” is an antecedent
To understand why “misspell” is one word, and isn’t “mispell,” it’s important to understand antecedents and this word’s specific antecedent, “mis-.”
First, an antecedent is defined as “a thing or event that existed before or logically precedes another.” In this specific case, “mis-” is also a prefix because it is attached to the front of the word, in this case “spelled” or “spelled.”
So, “mis-” means “wrongly” and is then added to the start of “spell” or “spelled,” which makes the word “misspell,” literally meaning “wrongly spelled.” In British English, you may also write “misspelt.”
Why are there 2 “s’s” in “misspelled?”
There are 2 s’s in “misspell” because it is a combination of the two words “mis” meaning “wrongly” and “spell,” as in the letters used to properly form a word.
A good way to compare “misspell” to another word using “mis-” is “mistake.” In that case, “mis” and “take” are combined to form a new word.
Another example of a word with 2 “s’s” beginning with “mis-” is “misspoken.” It is a combination of “mis-” and “spoken,” which also starts with a “s.”
Can you give some examples?
Some examples using “misspell” are:
John misspelled his name on the application, leading it to be rejected and needing resubmission.
Sarah sent the legal notice but did not notice the misspelling in the title. She was embarrassed when she learned of her error.
What are some commonly misspelled words?
Other than “misspelled” often being misspelled as “mispelled,” there are some common words that are often spelled wrongly. Here are 100, via English Club:
|accommodate, accommodation||-cc-, -mm-|
|achieve||i before e|
|argument||no e after u|
|believe||i before e|
|category||e in middle|
|committee||-mm-, -tt-, -ee-|
|definitely||-ite- not -ate-|
|foreign||e before i|
|friend||i before e|
|harass, harassment||-r-, -ss|
|medicine||medi- like medical|
|millennium, millennia||-ll-, -nn-|
|occurred, occurring||-cc-, -rr-|
|occurrence||-cc-, -rr-, -ence|
|piece||i before e|
|receive||e before i|
|threshold||one h in middle|
|vicious||no s in middle|
|weird||e before i|
|wherever||one e in middle|
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