So You Think You Can Spell?
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN SPELL? Killer Quizzes for the Incurably Competitive and Overly Confident
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It Has Come to Our Attention...

Creative or deliberate misspelling? So You Think You Can Spell? contains no fewer than 1,800 intentional misspellings. They were conjured up to look conceivably, believably, or confusingly correct -- to instigate doubts or dilemmas. They'll all be found, of course, in the tests having a multiple-choice format.

Regrettably, the book also contains other misspellings -- unintentional ones (in the answers section). We're deservedly chagrined about these errata. (In a spelling book, there is no such thing as a small error.) They're already on file with our publisher and will be corrected in the book's next printing.

We're indebted to some sharp, eagle-eyed readers-spellers, who appreciated the book but tactfully alerted us to the slip-ups.


Foremost of these is competitive speller Scott Firebaugh. Scott, who finished second in the AARP National Spelling Bee in 2009, found not one or two but most of the mistakes we've recorded here at the website and gave us the news gently and politely. How long would it have been before the co-authors detected all of them? Scott's AARP bee Waterloo last year was the word etui (etui appears as a test word in So You Think You Can Spell?, and Scott remarked to us that he wished he had had a copy of our book before that showdown). Scott, here's wishing you luck and a first place in Cheyenne this year!)


We owe similar thanks to a copyeditor or two at the New York Times, who were the first to point out three printed answers that were not correct.

Apologies to all readers. We had hoped for nothing less (spellingwise, at least) than a perfect final book. If you detect any other errors, we hope you, too, will get in touch with us.

(If at this point you simply want to see the complete list of the book's typos, the pages where they'll be found, etc., stop reading and click here.)

But we also had a thought regarding this water under the bridge. Would you -- a very good speller, perhaps -- have caught all or most of the misspellings that became errata?

In that spirit, we'd like to propose an optional challenge.

Suppose you were invited to read -- edit -- So You Think You Can Spell? carefully from cover to cover. A brief test of your orthographic eye, one where you needn't spell any words, just identify those misspelled. To detect most of those same erroneous answers that crept or, worse, somehow hid out in plain sight, into our book?

Below is a list (in simple paragraph form) of more than fifty words. Among them are the same erroneous spellings that turned up in our book. Which of these listed words are misspelled? And how many?

Acting Editor Quiz

fillup, philately, philistinism, Phillipines, Essenes, philanderer, phillumenist, phellem, adjure, djeridoo, digerati, derriere, derring-do, menstruum, mesclun, myrmidon, meridional, shirr, myrhh, Pyrrhic, murmurous, mephitic, Cyrillic, terrazzo, moussaka, appoggiatura, Appaloosa, mozzarrella, pizzicato, passacaglia, llano, monastery, capillary, lamasary, centenery, missilery, dromedary, orogeny, orrery, oregano, arugala, arpeggio, ferruginous, misogynous, fuligenous , pulchritudinous, croissant, fricassee, gelee, cloisonnee, anni mirabilis, anuresis, aurora borealis, habeas corpus, compos mentis

click here for answers to the quiz and for errata list


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