Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

These are the five English words people struggle to spell





While we used to reach for a dictionary when we came across a word we couldn't spell a much more immediate answer now rests at the touch of a button - thanks to Google.

The world wide web has brought us many things over the years and among them is the rapid answer to spellings we're sometimes left scratching our heads over.

Which words from the English language do you struggle to spell? Image: iStock.
Which words from the English language do you struggle to spell? Image: iStock.

But which words in the English language do we struggle to spell the most and why?

Online word website Unscrambled-words.com, used for playing word games such as Scrabble, Wordle and completing crosswords, has been unscrambling the search figures when it comes to the words we most frequently ask Google for help with spelling and has found five words that people in England suggest they regularly stumble over.

A spokesperson for the website explained: "It is fascinating to see which words cause people the most trouble when it comes to spelling. One thing that stands out from the top five is the number of loan words or words with non-English origins. It’s no coincidence that English speakers are tripped up with some of these words, especially when the spelling patterns present in these words may not have many examples in the rest of English.

"It also demonstrates the broad origins of the English language, since English has borrowed a great deal from other languages as it evolved into the modern form we are familiar with."

Thousands of people use Google each month to confirm their spelling of 'diarrhoea'. Image: iStock.
Thousands of people use Google each month to confirm their spelling of 'diarrhoea'. Image: iStock.

1. Diarrhoea

It's not the most pleasant word to think about but diarrhoea takes the spot spot when it comes to the hardest words for UK residents to spell.
There are close to 3,000 searches each month for 'how to spell diarrhoea' with the spelling made particularly tricky due to the rrh sequence of letters in the middle - a spelling pattern that rarely appears in everyday English.

A phrase that you can recall to remember the strict order of the letters in the tricky part, advise language experts, is: 'A Really Round Hippo Often Eats Apples'.

'Big elephants are under trees' should get beautiful off to a good start. Image: iStock.
'Big elephants are under trees' should get beautiful off to a good start. Image: iStock.

2. Beautiful

It might have a wonderful meaning but 'beautiful' can be a challenge to spell with four out of five vowels in the line-up. With more than 1,700 monthly searches for spelling help, an easy way to remember how to get the word off to a good start is to remember - 'Big Elephants Are Under Trees'.

Do you use your phone or a dictionary when you need help spelling a word? Image: stock photo.
Do you use your phone or a dictionary when you need help spelling a word? Image: stock photo.

3. Queue

It's said that English folk love a good queue but we're less keen on the word when we need to know how to spell it.

Close to 1,500 requests are regularly entered into Google asking for help getting those letters in the right order in the line. The spelling of queue, says those at Unscrambled Words, is felt to be especially difficult because of the number of silent letters the word has and the repetition of the ue pattern.

Has the internet replaced the dictionary when we need help to spell? Image: iStock.
Has the internet replaced the dictionary when we need help to spell? Image: iStock.

4. Pneumonia

Pneumonia makes it into the top five when it comes to most searched for spellings with around 1,100 requests for help every month. The word, which is described as a 'loan word' from the Ancient Greeks, means lung disease when it is translated into English. The silent p at the start of pneumonia in particular causes confusion as very few other English words have this spelling pattern.

Asking Google to spell 'askew' generates a wonky web page
Asking Google to spell 'askew' generates a wonky web page

5. Askew

It's not a particularly common word but 'askew' generates close to 2,000 searches each month from people who suggest to Google they need help with spelling it. But as one of the more straightforward words in the list - not everything may be as it seems when it comes to people tripping up over its relatively straightforward phonetic spelling.

However, asking the world-famous search engine 'how to spell askew' will not only give people the answer, but also a demonstration, as Google cleverly tilts all of the words on the web page. Which perhaps suggest we're more likely to be keen to see the website trickery than we are needing help with the actual spelling of the word itself.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More