The Remedy of the Week: Common misspellings

Each week proofreader Hannah Jones discusses and offers a remedy to common problems we encounter when writing. Today she gives advice on how to avoid some common misspellings.

Everyone has those words that always trip them up. No matter how many times you use them, you always have to double-check the spelling. These words may be different for each person but there do seem to be some words that prove to be particularly troublesome for many people. Here are some of the most commonly misspelled words I come across when proofreading and some advice on how to remember the correct spellings.


Remember that this word is long enough to accommodate both a double 'c' and a double 'm'!


However, it is recommended that you only use one 'c' in recommend.


In order to avoid embarrassment, remember to use both a double 'r' and a double 's' in embarrass.


However, just to live up to its name and annoy you as much as possible, harass is spelled with only one 'r'.


Liaison is one of those words I always have to double-check. That second 'i' can trip up the best of us. The only advice I can offer is to learn it by heart or to look it up whenever you need to use it!


Millennium is another large word; in addition to comprising a thousand years, it is long enough to contain both a double 'l' and a double 'n'.


When I was a child my mum taught me a trick to remember how to spell this one: it is necessary to have one coat (one 'c') and two socks (double 's'). I still find myself saying one coat, two socks to myself when spelling it.


Similarly, my mum used to remind me that when you are successful you can have two coats (!) and two socks.


While the verb is spelled pronounce, the noun is pronunciation not pronounciation. Funnily enough, the pronunciation of the word actually helps in this case.


In this word, we must separate the 'e's from the 'a's. The 'e's go towards the ends and the 'a's go in the middle.

Everyone’s minds work differently so if you have other ways of remembering tricky spellings, use them! And if you are at all in doubt when spelling a word, look it up!

Hannah Jones is a professional freelance proofreader and owner of The Remedy of Errors.

Visit her website at The Remedy of Errors. She can also be found on Twitter @remedyoferrorsFacebook and LinkedIn.