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Misspelled or Mispelled? Learn the Correct One

Ready for something hilariously ironic? It turns out that one of the top-ranking hard words to spell in the English language is… mispell or misspell! There is a particular reason why people mix up these letters so much, but luckily, there are also a set of tricks to remember how to spell misspell correctly that I’ll be happy to teach you today.

First, some background. My name is Lillie, and I’ve been an English teacher for 18 years, and delight in hand-illustrating English lessons with easy-to-understand explanations. The goal in each of my brush strokes and tap of the keys is to help you smile and learn at the same time! That’s one of the best ways to make information stick. Now, on to the lesson!

How to spell misspell
How to spell misspell!

Is it Mispelled?

The reason why it’s so difficult to spell “misspell,” “misspelled,” and “misspelling” is that when you pronounce each word, it’s unclear whether there is one “S” or two in the middle. For that reason, many people — my guilty self included! — often write “mispelled” with one “S”… which is incorrect! If you use just one “S,” you have misspelled the word “misspell.” Now that’s a mouthful!

Yes indeed, “mispell” is a made-up word that doesn’t exist. “Mispelling” is just a… misspelling! Similar “fake words” that people think are real because they’re used so often include: “truely, “greatful,” and “noone.” Steer clear of them! Oh, and “misspel” or “misspel” with just one “L” are wrong, too.

How to Spell Misspell

Now, how to remember whether to write mispelled or misspelled — with one “S” or two? Here are three tricks. In the first trick, you can remember that the word “spell” has a double “L,” which can trigger the memory that “misspell” has a double “S” to go with the double “L.”

Mispell or misspell?
Mispell or misspell?

The second memory trick to remember how you spell “misspell” is illustrated by my cartoon, above. Envision a woman named “Miss Pell! This will help remember the double “S,” because “Miss” is written M-i-s-s.

The Prefix “Mis-“

The third way to remember how to spell “misspelled,” “misspelling,” and “misspell” is to remember that the prefix “mis-“ means “bad or wrong.” Given this, of course there will be a double “S” in “misspelling,” since you need one “S” for “mis-” and a second “S” for “spelling” in order to put them together as “mis-spelling” to mean: “wrong spelling.” It’s like math, or a code!

VIDEO: How to Spell Misspelled

Click to see my drawings for how to spell misspell!

Mispell or Misspell?

I hope this tutorial on how to spell “misspell,” “misspelled,” and “misspelling” (versus “mispell,” “mispelled,” and “mispelling”) has been useful. Which of the three memory tricks we went over most resonates to stick in your mind? Which new English lesson would you like me illustrate next? Do share!

Want more? Explore the “fake words” (like “mispell”), “everytime,” definately,” “incase,” “seperate,” and “revelant!”

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