Google has released what it calls a list of the most frequently misspelled words in each state. Here it is:
Alabama – Tongue; Alaska – Hawaii; Arizona – Diarrhea; Arkansas – Leprechaun; California – Desert; Colorado – Beautiful; Connecticut – Desert; Delaware – Neighbor; Florida – Tomorrow; Georgia – Appreciate; Hawaii – Boutineer; Idaho – Desert; Illinois – Appreciate; Indiana – Desert; Iowa – Maintenance; Kansas – Schedule; Kentucky – Maintenance; Louisiana – Definitely; Maine – Vacuum; Maryland – Cancelled; Massachusetts – Massachusetts; Michigan – Gray; Minnesota – Broccoli; Mississippi – Sergeant; Missouri – Pneumonia; Montana – Vacuum; Nebraska – Guarantee; Nevada – Cousin; New Hampshire – Diarrhea; New Jersey – February; New Mexico – Neighbor; New York – Beautiful; North Carolina – Pneumonia; North Dakota – Attitude; Ohio – Banana; Oklahoma – Gray; Oregon – Definitely; Pennsylvania – Cancelled; Rhode Island – Cancelled; South Carolina – Convenience; South Dakota – Gray; Tennessee – Courtesy; Texas – Niece; Utah – Leprechaun; Vermont – Possible; Virginia – Cancelled; Washington – Pneumonia; West Virginia – Giraffe; Wisconsin – Vacuum; Wyoming – Ornery
I have a lot of things to say about this, so I’ll get right to it.
First, let’s talk about words Google thinks are misspelled, but really aren’t. For instance, “cancelled.” According to dictionary.com, two “l’s” is the British spelling, while Americans spell it with one “l.” I would contend that the English are correct, as they usually are, except when they add “u’s” where they don’t belong. I mean, come on, people: “canceled” just looks wrong, and “canceling” looks even worse. I think so many Americans spelled it incorrectly that the guardians of the language finally threw up their hands and said, “Well, okay, if you want to be idiots, go ahead and use one “l.”
Similarly, dictionary.com tells us that “gray” can be spelled with either an “e” or an “a,” so take that, Google. I suspect that “grey” is gaining in popularity because of “Fifty Shades of…,” although, if I’m not mistaken, “Grey” was the guy’s name and not a color. I, myself, have tended to use the “e” spelling since the early 70’s, when I worked at an ad agency named Grey, whose logo, inexplicably, was orange, but whose name came from the grey walls in its original location when it was founded in 1917, when there was no color (as photos from the era will attest).
Okay, so we can give a pass to “grey” and “cancelled.” I think we can also throw out “desert,” which I’m inclined to do, since Google would have no way of knowing if people are spelling “desert” correctly or “dessert” incorrectly, especially since three of the four states that can’t spell “desert” don’t have any deserts, but I know from first hand knowledge that Connecticut, at least, does have desserts, particularly since they just opened a Carvel right down the block.
On the other hand, maybe those people are trying to spell “desert,” as in “My ability to spell has deserted me.”
You wouldn’t think Arizona and New Hampshire have a lot in common, but, evidently, they share an urgent need for Imodium. Why else would so many of their residents need to know how to spell “diarrhea.” Also, it seems as though visitors to Missouri, North Carolina, and Washington should get vaccinated for pneumonia before arriving. Perhaps, in North Carolina, you can catch pneumonia while waiting to use the public restroom that’s appropriate for your gender identity.
Moving along to the fantasy lands of Utah and Arkansas–are there many leprechauns in those states? Were there leprechauns in Arkansas before Bill Clinton was governor? Do leprechauns tend to be Mormon? These are important questions that need to be answered, along with “Why do people in West Virginia have such a frequent need to spell “giraffe?”
And what’s up with Ohio? How can you not know how to spell “banana?” How many other ways could you spell it? Two “n’s?” Four “n’s? You’d have to be bannannas to spell it that way!
On the other hand, it’s perfectly understandable that Floridians can’t spell “tomorrow.” For many residents, there is none. And, as I’ve documented repeatedly, just about everyone in the state is such a moron, I’m surprised they could spell “Google” in order to misspell “tomorrow.”
And speaking of morons, let’s go to the one state you’d think would be fairly intelligent: Massachusetts. With all the fancy colleges they have there, they should be able to spell their own state. Jeez, even we Connecticuters can spell “Connecticut,” even though we can’t spell “desert” or “dessert,” and even though we’re not entirely sure what to call ourselves (Connecticans? Connecticotians? Connecticutensians? Nutmeggers?*).
In some fairness to all of America’s bad spellers, Google’s list may be somewhat skewed by its methodology. They didn’t look at misspellings in the context of all queries, but only in searches that began “how to spell.” In other words, they only counted people who were admitting they didn’t know how to spell the word and not people who entered things like, “Is it ok to bring my rifel when I go base fishin in my canu in Texes?” and had no idea they had a spelling problem, among other issues.
For all I know, Americans may care so little about their spelling, there weren’t enough queries in each state beginning with “how to spell” for the “research” to be statistically valid. For instance, what if the only Minnesota resident who bothered to look up a word just happened to be making some broccoli soup?
I’ll end this post with a shout-out to Donald Trump, a man who sometimes seems to be in his own state (of consciousness), and who sent this tweet back in July:
If he’s elected, maybe America will be grate again.
See you soon.
*All of which are correct, depending on your source.