29 words with unexpected spellings

Some words have straightforward constructions, while others can stump even the most proficient spellers. Can you nail these brainteasers?

English spelling rules are just weird.

We have words that sound the same but are spelled differently (i.e. you and ewe), words with letters that have nothing to do with how the word is pronounced (i.e. thought, although), words that contain silent letters (knight, pneumonia) and words that don’t have a singular form (trousers, alms).

Here’s a look at 29 words that aren’t spelled the way you would expect. Can you spell them without looking them up?

1. Asphyxiate

2. Brusque

3. Carburetor

4. Champagne

5. Convalesce

6. Derriere

7. Desiccate

8. Eerie

9. Handkerchief

10. Hiccough

11. Inoculate

12. Iridescent

13. Doorjamb

14. Jewelry

15. Memento

16. Meringue

17. Minuscule

18. Mustache

19. Ophthalmology

20. Ornery

21. Pharaoh

22. Phlegm

23. Plagiarize

24. Playwright

25. Reminisce

26. Sluice

27. Temperament

28. Tourniquet

29. Withdrawal


What words trip you up? Let us know about your Achilles’ heel in the comments.

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor and a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her posts on writing, editing, and surprise spelling at impertinentremarks.com.

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