The Write Stuff August 2017 Volume 13 Issue 8

Misspelled Words by State

Last month, I asked whether spelling really mattered and made the case that it certainly does. Many of you agreed with me and communicated your angst about the overall decline in writing quality. To lighten things up this month, while staying on the subject of spelling, I thought I’d share something from Google Trends: America’s Most Misspelled Words — top searched “how to spell” by state.

To begin, some statistics:

1 to 5 letters — 7 states
6 to 10 letters — 39 states
11 to 19 letters — 2 states
20+ letters — 2 states

Wondering about the latter? For some reason, lots of people in Connecticut and West Virginia are curious about the spelling of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I guess they’re “Mary Poppins” fans. The next longest word is looked up by residents of Texas and Missouri: maintenance.

On the shorter end of the scale, in Oregon, the word is sense; in Idaho, quote; in Mississippi, nanny; in Georgia, gray; in Tennessee, chaos; in North Carolina, angel; and in Rhode Island, liar. No, I’m not making this up.

I won’t list all the other states, but here are a few trends:
Health — pneumonia in Maine, Alabama, Michigan, and Washington; diarrhea in New Hampshire; disease in Utah
Animals — chihuahua in South Carolina and Arkansas; giraffe in Louisiana
Food — banana in New Mexico; sauerkraut in Pennsylvania; delicious in Virginia

The word looked up in the most states? It’s beautiful, in California, Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky and New York. The most surprising word? It’s Wisconsin, in Wisconsin.

Other words that made the list were people, available, tomorrow (2), surprise, college, dilemma, diamond, patient, vacuum, appreciate, hallelujah (2), special, ninety, twelve, license, Europe, suspicious, priority, receipt and schedule. Do you feel smarter? See the map at

Time For Cake
August and September are celebratory months for me for personal and business reasons. On Sept. 1, 2004, I became an entrepreneur — taking the brave step of leaving my job to become a freelancer. Thank you to everyone who’s supported my journey as I celebrate the 13th anniversary of Adrienne Moch Writing & Editing. August 23 will mark 16 years since I moved to San Diego and August 31 is my 58th birthday.

Less is More
Eliminating unnecessary words is an important part of any editor’s job. Here are two phrases that included extraneous words before I “did my thing”:

1. two different locations became two locations

2. 10 various options became 10 options

In both cases, it’s easy to see less is more — deleting different and various didn’t change the meaning at all.

Published On: August 15th, 2017 / Categories: 2017 /

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