Every American knows how to spell bananas, thanks to Gwen Stefani's 2004 anthem "Hollaback Girl," but how do you spell beautiful? It may sound like an easy question, but it stumps a lot of people, according to Google Trends. The website released "America's Misspelled Words" and called out every state for its most commonly misspelled word. The company analyzed searches for "how to spell" common words to determine the most misspelled words in the U.S. The leader, by far, is beautiful, which is the top misspelled word in 11 states. In second place, we have supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins. According to this report, Americans have an easier time spelling a 34-letter word that was made up in the 1960s than an everyday term used to compliment people. It's also possible that we just find one more avoidable than the other.
But I can't judge them — I'm a Florida native, and our most misspelled word is the French word used to describe appetizers, or hors d'oeuvres. Incredibly, this is also the one word I don't think I'll ever be able to spell correctly, even though I have a writing degree and pride myself on being a decent speller. If I really concentrate, I'll land on "h’ors douerves," and even that isn't very close. I usually just type "hors devours" into Google and hope for the best. If you also rely on Google to correct your spelling, now you know that the data is being used to make fun of you and your fellow statesmen. But at least you're in good company.
This isn't the first time that the spelling of "beautiful" has confounded Americans. The 2017 Google Trends report shows that beautiful and pneumonia were both difficult for Internet users, and a website called SpellChecker.net has a list of the most common ways to misspell beautiful. "Beutiaful," "beutifull" and "beauitiful" are all on the list, along with hundreds of other variations. But don't think you're in the clear if you've mastered beautiful, because some of the other words on the list may get you. Other top misspelled words in states that have mastered beautiful include veteran, subtle, Connecticut, probably, sincerely, canceled and schedule. Google released the data to coincide with the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which ends Friday, May 31.
Last year, the 12-year-old winner of the national spelling bee spelled out "marocain" without much trouble. The obscure word describes a type of fabric and is of French origin. I have a feeling most of this year's young contestants wouldn't have much difficulty with beautiful or any of the other words Google mentioned, but we can't all be so brilliant.
If you want to make sure you're complimenting someone in a grammatically correct way, there are ample tricks for conquering the spelling of beautiful. A website dedicated to mnemonic devices, or techniques that can improve your memory recall, suggests remembering "Big Elephants Are Under Trees In Forests Until Light" or "Brown Eggs Are Useful To Ill Friends Under Light." An article from The Daily Mail suggests "Big Ears Aren't Usually beautiful," which helps you master the tricky first few letters of the word.
You could also get serious about it and use flashcards and practice to work on your spelling. WikiHow recommends making a list of words that are hard for you to spell and writing them out every day until you've committed the proper spelling to memory. The website says to use your fingers to trace the letters out on your desk, the dinner table and pretty much any other surface you encounter.
Alternatively, you could just use pretty or lovely as a descriptor if beautiful doesn't come easily. When it comes to asking about hors d'oeuvres via text, I just mention appetizers or small dishes, and it works like a charm.