Can You Ace This Linguistics And Spelling Quiz?

Torrance Grey

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About This Quiz

Spelling: It famously does *not* correlate with IQ, but that doesn't keep us from caring about getting it right! With good reason, too: Nothing can tank a resume or important email like a spelling blunder. Putting your faith in spellcheck? Bad idea. Spellcheck can't catch everything.  It can't know, for example, whether your 40th anniversary is "imminent" or "eminent."

Whether you're feeling secure about your spelling skills, or a bit shaky, we've created a 35-question quiz to help you see where you stand. Here's how it works: To keep things interesting, we've mixed up the types of questions. Sometimes you'll be given three spellings of the same word, and asked to pick the one that's right (or "none of these are correct.") Other times, you'll be presented with different words, only one of which is misspelled, or spelled correctly. And sometimes the right answer will be "All of these are spelled correctly" or "None of these are spelled correctly." 

Sound like fun? Or at least, like a challenge? Sharpen your wits (you won't need a pencil) and test your skills now. We promise that no matter how you score, you won't have to stay after school and clap erasers. (Is that still a thing?)

Which version is spelled correctly?

After the housing crisis of 2007-2009, we should all have this word burned into our brains. Still, if you're confused, there's no "u," not in the first syllable nor the last.

Which version is spelled correctly?

You'll sometimes hear people refer to the "Artic Circle," just like they might refer to "tumeric" instead of "turmeric" being used in Indian food. In both cases, a consonant is missing.

Which version is spelled correctly?

The mispronunciation of this word is a favorite joke in sitcoms. Think about it, and you'll understand why.

Which version is spelled correctly?

It's hard to blame people who get this one wrong. If you're thinking of geometry, it really seems like it should be "co-lateral."

Which version is spelled correctly?

The correct version is "guarantee": u before a, with two e's instead of a y. Don't be confused by the related term, "warranty" -- which doesn't have a u, and does end with a y.

Which version is spelled correctly?

This term is another tricky one that's often misspelled. Fortunately, it's mostly lawyers and judges who need to use it.

Which version is spelled correctly?

"Consensus" means "agreement of the majority of a group." The right spelling has one c and three s's.

Which version is spelled correctly?

"Conscious" means "awake or aware." If the spelling keeps evading you, maybe it's better to use those two words in place of one.

Which version is spelled correctly?

When in doubt, look for the whole word "nine." That's how the syllable is pronounced, after all.

Which version is spelled correctly?

Why is this important, two thousand years after the fall of the Roman empire? Because we eat lots of Caesar salad -- and about half the "today's special" boards in world get the spelling wrong, that's why!

Which version is spelled correctly?

This often-misspelled word requires two c's and two m's. Therefore, "accommodate."

Which version is spelled correctly?

This French-derived word uses a "ou" combination to make the short "u" sound. So does "tournament."

Which version is spelled correctly?

Yes, it's a word. It's a literary technique. When a phrase is inverted to make a point, like "If Mohammed cannot come to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohammed," that's zeugma.

Which version is spelled correctly?

"Ascent" is correct. It is the noun form of "ascend," meaning "to rise."

Which word is spelled correctly?

"Vague" is a word meaning "unclear" or "foggy," in a metaphoric, not meterological, sense. The other words should be "enthusiasm" and "offense."

Which word is spelled correctly?

"Petition" is the right choice here. It comes from the Latin "peto, petere," meaning "to ask for."

Which word is spelled correctly?

None of these are correct. They should be "excessive," "leisure," and "reign" (or "rein." The former means "to rule;" the latter is a strap that you direct a beast of burden with).

Which word is spelled correctly?

"Inevitable" means "certain to happen." The other two words should be spelled "auxiliary" and "vacancy."

Which word is spelled correctly?

Don't be confused by the British spelling of this word. "licence." Unless you're British, in which case, don't be confused by the US spelling.

Which word is spelled correctly?

"Irresistible" is sometimes misspelled as "irresistable." There's really no reason it *shouldn't* be spelled that way, except the peculiarities of English.

Which word is spelled correctly?

Yup, "amiable" and "amicable" are both words. The first is a personality trait. The second refers to relations between people: "an amicable negotiation." The general state of people getting along is "amity."

Which word is spelled correctly?

"Heir," with a silent "h," means a person who inherits. The other two words should be "herald" and "heifer."

Which word is misspelled?

"Faint" means "weak or exhausted" or "to collapse." A "feint" is a fake-out move used in swordplay. But "fan" is misspelled (unless "fann" became a hot new word on Twitter since you started this quiz -- better check!)

Which word is misspelled?

This word should be "notice." It's easy to mistake a "soft c" for an "s," though.

Which word is misspelled?

Of these three, we use "bow" the most; the other two are somewhat old-fashioned. "Bow" is usually a noun when it has a long "o" (bow and arrow), and can be either a noun or a verb when it's short (take a bow!)

Which word is misspelled?

The first two are famous because of wordplay in "Macbeth": "I'll gild the sleeping grooms with blood/For it must seem their guilt." Here, Lady Macbeth is showing her guile. (See what we did there?)

Which word is misspelled?

The misspelled word should be "extol." "Exalt" and "exult" are closely related words, meaning "to praise" and "to rejoice," respectively.

Which word is misspelled?

"Accelerate," of course, means to speed up. The antonym is "decelerate," and only uses one "c."

Which word is misspelled?

You probably don't need "joyful" defined. But some people do mistakenly add a second "l," which is wrong (unless they're referring to the snack-food brand).

Which word is misspelled?

This selection includes two adjectives derived from the animal world. "Mulish" means "like a mule, stubborn." "Mangy" is "shabby or nearly-bare, like a dog with mange."

Which word is misspelled?

"Deceit" rhymes with "receipt," but aren't spelled alike. (This one is for people who are bothered by the fact that "bicycle" doesn't rhyme with "recycle.")

Which word is misspelled?

Of all these magical terms, "sleight (of hand)" is incorrect. Are you surprised that there's an official spelling of "abracadabra"? It's true -- you can check any reputable dictionary.

Which word is misspelled?

"Unison" comes from music and refers to having the same pitch. We often use it, though, to refer to two or more people saying the same thing at the exact same time, usually spontaneously. ("Out of beer?")

Which word is misspelled?

Doubling letters that are supposed to be singular is a common spelling mistake. But when you're making a present participle out of a verb, it's often the right choice: "spin" becomes "spinning," and so on.

Which word is misspelled?

The first terms means "referring to (something)." The second means "hard to catch," while the third means "like an illusion; imaginary." Only "elusive" has only one l.

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