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Hard Words to Spell in English

Test Your Skills - Do You Know How To Spell These Words?

Home Spelling Words has compiled a list of hard words to spell in English for your spelling or learning pleasure or simply to tickle your brain. Let's face it, English isn't the easiest language to master and spelling can take a lot of unexpected twists and turns. Just when you think you can follow the basic rules of English, there is a rogue word waiting to ruin you. Never fear, Home Spelling Words is here to help!

10. Weird. Yes, it's one of those common words that doesn't follow the rules. You will have to disregard the famous phrase, "I before e, except after c rule," and just memorize this one. Other words that break this rule are caffeine, vein, foreign, science and sufficient, to name a few. Sometimes a spelling trick for words like this, for example, remember it by saying "we are weird," and the first to letters of we are the same as weird.

9. Australia. I can't be the only one who has to slow down while typing this word. It's hard to remember just where the letters go for some reason. Australia isn't the only hard word to recall, many of the names of animals in the land down under are hard to spell too such as koala, platypus, and cassowary. If you say the word Australia in your best Aussie accent, you might actually be able to hear how it is supposed to be spelled. Am I right?

funny looking Australian bird cassowary
Cassowary (source: Wikipedia)

8. Broccoli. I'm not going to lie, I misspelled this one just now, but the spell checker saved me. Why does this cruciferous vegetable tease us so? Is it because George Bush senior was not a fan? We may never know. Do you need a trick to remember how to spell broccoli? You could remember it like dessert. One "s" is for the desert, and two are for dessert because it is delicious. So, broccoli needs two c's because it is also delicious? Ok, maybe not for everyone, but they are both foods at least.

7. Bourgeois. Leave it to the French to make English more complicated. This imported word means "the middle class, typically concerning its perceived materialistic values or conventional attitudes," according to dictionary.com. More interesting than that is the use curve provided showing that the term peaked in use in the 80's. Thank you, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, for helping spread the slang word "bougie."

when bourgeois was a popular word
Word use graph for bourgeois

6. Conscience. Maybe it is easy to remember to spell if you split it up into "con" and "science," but people still have a heck of a time using this word correctly. It is often confused with conscious. If you are conscious, you are awake. However, a conscience is an inner voice that guides you on what is right or wrong.

5. Tomorrow. This is a very common word that is often misspelled. It seems that people can't remember if they need two "m's" or two "r's." For fans of procrastination, you can remember how to spell tomorrow by using this phrase, "I'll worry tomorrow."

4. Necessary. Another common word that should be easy, but isn't, is the word necessary. If you want to look like one of the cool kids, make sure you spell this word correctly. Usually, I like to split up words to remember more easily, but this one is a little tough. For this one, you might have to make a silly sentence like, "No Ella can't eat salmon salad and red yams" or something silly like that. The stranger the better as it helps you remember. This is called a mnemonic, which is a device or pattern that is used to remember something. I often use this to remember short shopping lists when I am driving and not able to write down a list. It helps me remember what I need at the store.

3. Pterodactyl. It's not one of those words that you slip into daily conversation, but it is hard to spell. The word comes from the Greek pteron "wing" (see ptero-) + daktylos "finger." There's a classic groaner of a joke that asks why you can't hear a pterodactyl go to the bathroom. The answer is because the "p" is silent.

2. Nausea. This is one of those words that makes you pause as well. Why does one short word need so many vowels? This word derives from Latin and Greek, "nau" meaning boat (think nautical) and the rest, "sea" meaning "sickness." One of my favorite similar phrases is "ad nauseam" which means to "use something to a sickening extent." This is probably one of those words that can be chopped up to recall more easily. If you remember that "nau" is for boat, then the rest is "sea"...which is a lot easier to commit to memory.

1. Misspell. It almost seems wrong that this word is so easily misspelled. There is just something about the extra "s" that makes it seem wrong to some people. Everyone remembers how to spell Mississippi so why not use that as a way to remember misspell? In other words, no one misspells Mississippi. Make your own spelling list of really hard words or use one of ours by creating an account today!

About the Author

Kim A. is a fan of spelling, education, and all things tech. She enjoys writing and reading fun articles.