“Anyone who can only think of one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination.” ― Mark Twain



i before e, except after c?

silent e at the end of a word with a long vowel in the center?

at times, who in the abc really knows?


in the recent comedy, ‘bad words,’

jason bateman plays an adult who participates in a kids’ spelling bee

and is required to spell the word,


(the action or habit of estimating something as worthless) 


“The story’s what matters; spelling’s overrated.” ― Adam Langer, The Salinger Contract

image credits: focus features, growing jeweled rose.com


59 responses »

  1. Seems to me that “floccinaucinihilipilificatin,” is useless:) LOL I always wonder about those who made up our words. Were they just kidding around? And why is aisle, and a million other words, spelled in such a silly way?


  2. Who can even pronounce that ridiculous word, yet alone use it. Can you just imagine being in a conversation with someone who said that. So silly. Great post – made me smile! Have a wonderful holiday weekend, Beth! ~Karen~


  3. My dad tells a joke about a boy who did so badly in class that the teacher said, “Please, if you could just get one word right– or even one letter right– I will pass you. Try to spell COFFEE.” The boy tried, he really tried to get this one. He spelled it “K-A-W-P-H-Y.”

    And today I heard this from ‘The World In Words’ about the Russian alphabet and the letter “e” or “ë”.


  4. Of course, life before spell check was a never-ending dive into Webster for those of us who couldn’t follow these wonderful quotes you’ve unearthed for us, Beth. Hard-cover, color red, the same edition sat on various desks of mine at The Post-Standard for 29 years.

    Poor Jason Bateman in that spelling bee.

    Some common words get me all the time, achilles’ heels, if you will.

    Rhythm trips me up, which was a bad case when I was writing about music.

    Anybody else blind-spot word that always seems to get you, or am I worse off than I thought?


    • i am with you on the spell check/dictionary conversion. even spell check is not always sure what we want to say or do though. i just do my best and not worry too much, but like you, some words are just the bane of my existence. i cannot, for the life of me, spell ‘souvenir’ or ‘vacuum’ correctly, along with many others. (auto correct fixed them for me here)


  5. thank you for those quotes

    i’m going to use them the next time ‘nobbly’ chastises me for using ‘american’ rather than ‘english’ spelling of some words 😆

    (I think a lot of words, in any case, have too many letters. If a letter is ‘silent’, i.e., not pronounced, then there is no point in having it there. Get rid of it, I say) 😆


  6. There have been wonderful words I’ve stumbled over – schadenfreude – (taking a delight in another’s misfortune). That says it all.

    As for creative spelling, I’ve run into it too often as a teacher. I point it out in the hopes that the student will remember how to do it correctly the next time. With friends, however, I’ll try to remember Mark Twain’s words and your delightful post, Beth.


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