The Corner

Spelling Bee

A friend reminds me of the classic 1955 Esquire spelling test. In his words:

Not one of eight hundred editors, teachers, proof readers, etc. got a perfect score on a test of sixty words. The test included the following twenty words, which were the twenty misspelled by the most test-takers. Notice that none of the usual stumbling blocks — separate, embarrass, inveigle, etc. — is in the list.

When this test was given to a broad range of average Americans, six was the median score, twelve was attained by one person in ten, and eighteen “put you on the level of a university English professor.” (NOTE: This was five decades ago. Does anyone believe people would do as well today?)

Here are the words, grotesquely misspelled. Good luck!

        1.  ass-uh-9

        2.  brag-uh-doe—C-O

        3.  rare-uff-I

        4.  lick-wuff-i

        5.  puh-vill-yun

        6.  ver-mill-yun

        7.  im-pah-stir

        8.  mock-uh-sun

        9.  uh-komuh-date

        10. kon-sen-sus

        11. roe-ko-ko

        12. tittle-8

        13. sack-ruh-lijus

        14. may-uh-naze

        15. im-pray-sorry-O

        16. in-ock-U-late

        17. sooper-seed

        18. obly-gahto

        19. dessuh-Kate

        20. re-sussuh-tate

I got the professorial 18; but then, I darn well should — words are my living.


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