Can you we please talk about the word “vacuum?”
Because, I’ve had enough. I spell it wrong every single time and, every single time, I get annoyed. I mean, is that seriously how it’s spelled? Two U’s? One C? No E in sight?
Adding insult to injury, there is no surefire way to remember how to spell it either. For a while, I tried to convince myself its hose, when hung, looks like double U’s. But it doesn’t. When hung, it looks like oval-shaped O’s. It looks about as much like U’s as it does C’s.
But that bloody word has prompted me to look up a list of other frequently misspelled words. There’s actually a list on Google, you know. And, actually, the list is really fun. Because who doesn’t love to hate the likes of “definitely?” Or “embarrassed?” Or “rhythm?” Want some more?
Misspell (har, har, I love that this is on there)
There is actually even a list of the most frequently misspelled words divided by state — NBC News reported on it. If you’re curious, the most frequently misspelled word in Kentucky in 2017 was “beautiful.” I’m actually kind of proud that was it — I mean, what is up with that spelling, after all? It was the top misspelled word in California, Ohio, Minnesota and New York, too.
Washington had “pneumonia” (understandable); Arkansas and South Carolina had “Chihuahua” (likewise); and West Virginians and Connecticutians, those smarties, had trouble with “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (show-offs).
Conversely, Rhode Island had “liar” and Georgia had “gray,” which, I mean, that’s kind of humiliating. Most embarrassing (two R’s, two S’s, sigh) was Wisconsin though. The most misspelled word in America’s Dairyland was, yep, “Wisconsin.”
Of course, misspelling hard words is one thing. What I can’t wrap my mind around is that we’re still having such a hard time with “it’s” and “its.” I guess I got lucky and the rule stuck in my brain a long time ago, but, to me, it’s so simple: You use “it’s” if it can be replaced with “it is.” If it can’t, you use “its.” Same thing with “your” and “you’re.” And that’s it. Game over, you’re done.
Granted, there are still words for which I have to rely on a mnemonic (now that’s a word and a half) device in order to spell them correctly. I remember “believe” because “believe a lie.” I remember “peek” because it looks like it has two eyes and “peak” because the A looks like a mountain when capitalized. “Island” actually is land, so I remember that one. And there is the always memorable “piece” of “pie” and the “secretary,” who keeps a “secret.”
But vacuum? I mean, come on. Ridiculous. Unfair, even.
It made me wonder if there are any other words in the English language with the double U and then I was reminded of “continuum.” There is also “residuum,” “menstruum,” “triduum,” “duumvir” and “duumvirate.” I think we’ll all agree none of these are the popular cheerleaders of the English language. There is “muumuu,” however, and I do think this is rather adorable.
Anyways, thanks for letting me get that out. I certainly am appreciative, except for the fact that I actually do need to go and do it now. Vacuum, I mean.