Pobody’s nerfect

Let’s face it—even we editors have our spelling nemeses. I’m talking about the words and names we always have to look up because we are always misspelling them otherwise. Here are some of my personal bugaboos:

Cincinnati. I always want to write “CInncinnati.” It seems as if having a double N in every place for which an N is called would make more sense than using one N and then using two.

Millennium. I used to write “Milennium,” In order to remember the correct spelling, I now think of the French word “mille,” meaning “one thousand,” and note that this word has two L’s, just like the English word “millennium.”

Fulfill. This is a hard one because my mind always thinks that when you fulfill an order, you make it “full.” So why shouldn’t it be spelled “fullfill”? Don’t ask.

Conscientious. This one is so bad that I had to look it up as I was typing this post. I always think of a conscience, which has a C near the end but no T anywhere in it. So why should we stick a T in this adjective?

Massachusetts. Oh, this is my worst one. I tend to write “Massachussetts.” Why use two S’s the first time and two T’s near the end, but only one S the second time? It makes absolutely no sense.

This is why every editor needs access to the Merriam-Webster website, as well as the latest print edition of Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. And remember—never, ever be too lazy to look up a word or name if you have any doubts as to the spelling. You don’t want to end up with egg on your face and/or make your client look foolish.

If you have any words or names that continually give you grief, feel free to share them.  

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