Words I Can No Longer Spell

posted in: Day In The Life, Word Nerd 16
Spelling bee, 2011. Photo: Heather Temske via Wikipedia.


I have lost the ability to spell certain words.

Well, that’s not true. I could never spell “committment.” See? Still can’t. I never, ever get it that one right, ever.

But the words listed below I feel like I used to be able to spell but now just do not come out right. I’ve been noticing them more often. Because between writing for Quiltfolk and drafting essays for grad school workshops; between my bi-monthly Quilt Scout column and cranking out articles of my own for F Newsmagazine; between and editing tons of other peoples’ work for the paper or various classes; between entire continents of email and a myriad of other assignments I’ve got, I write a lot. (“Alot,” even.) So these words I seem less able to spell lately come up with some regularly, simply because my word input/output is so high.

Here are troublemakers, and I’m going to leave them exactly how I type them, straight out of the gate. Who knows: I might actually spell them correctly! Doubtful, but let’s see what happens:

conscious [that’s a word, yeah, I know — but I meant to spell “conscience”!] reciept

I got “concommitant” and “bureaucracy” right, but that’s it, I think. When did I stop being able to spell “pursue”?? The only break I’ll give myself is that I actually can pull off “receipt” most of the time, but only with a full-stop pause over the keyboard so I can do the “‘I’ before ‘E,’ except after ‘C'” children’s rhyme in my head. I’m a grown woman! I don’t have time for “‘I’ before ‘E’ except after ‘C'”! What is this, naptime?? Do I look like I need a carton of milk?

Actually, I would love a nap and a carton of milk. You can bring that anytime.

Anyway, the “I used to be able to do this thing with my brain and now I can’t” is a scary thing to say, but don’t worry about me. It’s not that I’m losing cognitive ability. If I were, I might have said “loosing cognitive ability.” (Is the “loose” vs. “lose” error everywhere online these days or is that just me?)

No, I feel like my vocabulary, both verbal and written, is generally always improving, even if it’s marginal. There will be a point when I cap out, but I’m not there, yet. Grad school and book readin’ means I’m learning new words all the time and I seem to be able to spell them without too much trouble. And some seemingly tricky words have always been no problem for me to spell. I have no trouble with “proverbial.” “Restauranteur.” “Withdrawal.” “Supercilious.” “Chandelier.” “Rhythm.”


I can definitely spell “bed.” Watch: