Google’s breakdown of what Americans don’t know how to spell, state by state – Washington Post

In honor of the National Spelling Bee, which starts Wednesday, Google decided to see what words people in each of the 50 states struggle to spell.

To do this, employees looked at Google searches of “how to spell ______” in each of the states from Jan. 1 to April 30 this year. Whatever word filled that blank most often in each state became denoted as that state’s “most misspelled word.”

The results may not be scientific, but they sure were amusing.

Perhaps most amusing, though, was that when Google first tweeted the “America’s Most Misspelled Words” infographic, it pointed out that folks in Washington, D.C., needed the help of the Internet to spell the word “ninety.” Only, the infographic read “nintey.”

Google quickly corrected the graphic, allowing its viewers to focus on the peculiar results.

People in Wisconsin, for example, most frequently searched for how to spell Wisconsin.

The longest word Americans didn’t know how to spell, searched for by both West Virginia and Connecticut users, was also an invented one: “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” the word that one magic nanny named Mary Poppins sang about. (In related news, “nanny” was Mississippians’ “most misspelled word.”)

The shortest word searched for, meanwhile, was “gray” by users in Georgia. It’s important to note, however, that Merriam-Webster dictionary also accepts “grey” as a spelling, though it noted this is less common.

“Beautiful” and “pneumonia,” two very different words, tied for most “most misspelled word.” Users in California, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York and Ohio searched for the former, while people in Alabama, Illinois, Maine, Michigan and Washington sought the latter.

The other results simply raised questions.

For example, were users in Arkansas watching old Taco Bell commercials or searching for an indoor pup when they wanted to know how to spell “Chihuahua”? And was there a rush to the zoo in Louisiana, because the “giraffe” certainly isn’t native to the area?

What were the people in New Jersey counting to when they sought the spelling of “twelve” and who, exactly, was searching for “people” in Hawaii?

The problem with data, of course, is that it often poses more questions than it gives answers.

Take a look at the full list below, sorted by alphabetical order.

  • Alabama: pneumonia
  • Alaska: schedule
  • Arizona: tomorrow
  • Arkansas: chihuahua
  • California: beautiful
  • Colorado: tomorrow
  • Connecticut: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
  • Delaware: hallelujah
  • Washington, D.C.: ninety
  • Florida: receipt
  • Georgia: gray
  • Hawaii: people
  • Idaho: quote
  • Illinois: pneumonia
  • Indiana: hallelujah
  • Iowa: vacuum
  • Kansas: diamond
  • Kentucky: beautiful
  • Louisiana: giraffe
  • Maine: pneumonia
  • Maryland: special
  • Massachusetts: license
  • Michigan: pneumonia
  • Minnesota: beautiful
  • Mississippi: nanny
  • Missouri: maintenance
  • Montana: surprise
  • Nebraska: suspicious
  • Nevada: available
  • New Hampshire: difficult
  • New Jersey: twelve
  • New Mexico: bananas
  • New York: beautiful
  • North Carolina: angel
  • North Dakota: dilemma
  • Ohio: beautiful
  • Oklahoma: patient
  • Oregon: sense
  • Pennsylvania: sauerkraut
  • Rhode Island: liar
  • South Carolina: chihuahua
  • South Dakota: college
  • Tennessee: chaos
  • Texas: maintenance
  • Utah: disease
  • Vermont: Europe
  • Virginia: delicious
  • Washington: pneumonia
  • West Virginia: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
  • Wisconsin: Wisconsin
  • Wyoming: priority

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