Half of Britons can't spell 'fluorescent' without spellcheck, literacy study finds

More than one in five would panic if they found themselves without spellchecking technology

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The Independent Online

Have you ever been embarrassed about your poor spelling, or felt that it was necessary to occasionally check a dictionary?

Chances are you would have had trouble writing three of the words in that last sentence: at least according to new research that found over 50 per cent of 2,000 adults tested have problems spelling commonly used words.

The list includes ‘accommodate’, ‘questionnaire’ and ‘rhythm’, with ‘conscience’, ‘occurrence’, ‘restaurant’ and ‘guarantee’ also proving to be tricky.

Commissioned by the television channel Nick Jr. UK to mark its new literacy-based show, Wallykazam!, the study found that 40 per cent of people admitted that they rely on autocorrect technology to monitor their spelling.

More than one in five would panic if they found themselves without spellchecking technology and rely on their own knowledge. Over a fifth of those polled said they haven't paid attention to spelling since they were at school, but nearly half of people admitted that they judged others if their spelling was poor.

Just under a quarter of people admit they have been embarrassed by a spelling mistake they made at work, and one in five said they tended to Google a word to check its correct spelling.

Here are 50 common words that Britons struggle to spell:

1. Embarrassment

2. Fluorescent

3. Accommodate

4. Psychiatrist

5. Occasionally

6. Necessary

7. Questionnaire

8. Mischievous

9. Rhythm

10. Minuscule

11. Conscience

12. Xylophone

13. Pronunciation

14. Graffiti


15. Millennium

16. Occurrence

17. Exhilarate

18. Restaurant

19. Accessory

20. Guarantee

21. License

22. Separate

23. Believe

24. Colleague

25. Definite

26. Humorous

27. Weird

28. Symphony


29. Illicit

30. Species

31. Appearance

32. Possession

33. Vacuum

34. Changeable

35. Queue

36. Acquire

37. Receipt

38. Receive

39. Difficulty

40. Foreign

41. Discipline

42. Equipment

43. Business

44. Relevant

45. Beautiful

46. Technology

47. Neighbour

48. Friend

49. Religious

50. Government