Can You Pass This Spelling Test?

Beth Hendricks

Image: Terry Vine/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

When it comes to spelling, are you a word-meister or a word "messer-upper?" Let's face it: Some of us are naturally gifted with the ability to take down the competition in the school spelling bee and others of us, well, we're just not. You may have seen a sentence like this on social media: "I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg." Does that send chills up your spine? If so, you're probably a master speller. If not, no worries, we'll interpret: "I couldn't believe that I could actually understand what I was reading." 

If you ever want to feel like a spelling underachiever, watch the National Spelling Bee some year. In 2019, there was an unprecedented eight-way tie for champion. The bee's pronouncer said they had "thrown the dictionary" at the spelling lovers and that all of them had shown the dictionary who was boss. So, we got to wondering: Can you show this spelling test who's boss? We have some hard words and some tricky words (so proceed with caution!). Do you have what it takes to win our own version of a spelling bee? We're C-O-U-N-T-I-N-G on you.

After hiking up the mountain, Wes said he needed to catch his __________.

The words "breath" and "breathe" are often incorrectly interchanged and their spelling is so similar, it's easy to see why! "Breathe" is a verb while "breath" is a noun. They are also pronounced in different ways.

She walked up and down the __________ of the grocery store.

When you're in the grocery store, you're perusing the aisles. But, if you were in the Caribbean, you might hop between "isles." Aisles are passageways, while isles is a short form of the word "island."

She offered to go during the afternoon because she couldn't go at __________.

Though some people like to take the easy way out and spell it "nite," the proper spelling of the word is "night," as in "day and night." Night is the period of time between the sun's setting and its rising the next day.

A __________ in the Indian Ocean in 2004 impacted 11 different countries from east Africa to Thailand.

Tsunamis are actually caused by earthquakes and other violent underwater events, triggering massive tidal waves along coastlines. The 2004 tsunami was brought about after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean.

He went to school for so long, he acquired __________ in a lot of subject areas.

A classroom certainly isn't the only place where you can obtain knowledge, but it does provide a good atmosphere for doing so. Our modern-day word comes from the Greek, "gnosis," which is probably where the interesting "kn" start came from.

The teacher told her she had excellent __________.

We think good grammar is an essential life skill! It prepares you for everything from effectively communicating with others to leading with clarity to getting that job you applied for.

I can almost __________ that my favorite football team will win the Super Bowl.

Guarantee is one of those tricky words that doesn't look quite how it sounds. The word is likely influenced by both the Spanish word, "garante," and the French word, "garantie."

Amanda's boss asked her to serve on the welcoming __________.

When you think of the word "committee," just double it up! Committee has two Ms, two Ts and two Es that make up its spelling. A committee is a group of people to whom some task has been entrusted.

Prince's song, "__________ Beret," was featured on his album, "Around the World in a Day."

The word "raspberry" comes from the word "raspise," a sweet type of wine. Equally sweet was the Prince song, "Raspberry Beret," which tells the story of a young man who becomes smitten with a girl in a retail store.

He decided to change his political affiliation to __________.

In the United States, there are several political affiliations that one can join, or they can register as an "Independent." This means that the individual is free of being attached to either party specifically.

Can you grab __________ keys? I forgot mine.

Not only is this a tricky word to spell, it can be hard to sometimes know which version of the word to use! Remember that "you're" is a contraction that means "you are," while "your" typically indicates possessions such as "your" keys" or "your house."

The doctor was very __________ during my appointment.

The word we know today as "thorough," which signifies something complete from one end to the other appears to have been adapted from the word "through," which also indicates a passageway of sorts.

Scientists have made numerous advancements in treating infectious __________.

Don't be grossed out! Infectious diseases, according to the CDC, can be anything from an E. coli infection to the common flu. Now, aren't you glad scientists are working to cure these diseases?

Pop band Savage Garden released a song called, "__________ Madly Deeply" in 1997.

The song "Truly Madly Deeply" was featured on the Australian pop group's debut album, which shared the group's name: Savage Garden. Some people consider it one of the great love songs of the 1990s.

If you get caught trying to use ___________ money, you could find yourself in big trouble.

Money that is "counterfeit" is a nice way of saying that it's fake. Many practices have been put into place by the federal government to cut down on these counterfeit bills, including watermarks and security threads.

Tiffany & Co. is widely regarded as one of the world's finests purveyors of __________.

Tiffany & Co. began as a store featuring "stationery and fancy goods" in the 1830s. Fast-forward to 2019, and the company is considered one of the most exclusive jewelry stores in the entire world.

23andMe has analyzed the DNA of more than five million customers in its __________.

The laboratory at 23andMe, a genetic testing business, stays business. To date, the company says more than five million people have submitted DNA samples to be analyzed for ancestral data.

The owner of the Dallas Cowboys recently purchased a $250 million __________.

Jerry Jones, the billionaire owner of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, rocked the sports world (and the regular world, tbh) when he recently dropped $250 million on a yacht that features a sauna and full gym.

The world's oldest continually running __________ is located in Cairo, Egypt.

Don't plan a trip to this ancient library anytime soon. Built in the sixth century, it houses more religious materials than any other location outside the Vatican, but it's only open to monks and those who are invited.

She wanted __________ to go to the beach for spring break.

Remember that there is "a rate" in desperately, even though most of us pronounce it without sounding out each syllable. If you want to do something "desperately," you must want it pretty badly.

The comedian Steven Wright once said, "A clear __________ is usually the sign of a bad memory."

We don't know if Wright was joking or not when he uttered this phrase. Having a clear conscience usually means you haven't done anything wrong. How many of us can say that?

The police __________ promised the public a swift resolution to the issue.

The title of "chief" can appear just about anywhere, from police and fire departments to newspapers (think editor-in-chief). A chief is someone who is the leader or ruler of others.

Do you think it's __________ to visit Walt Disney World when you're in Orlando?

Who would've ever thought the word "necessary" would lead with a "C" before an "S"? (Just say it silently to yourself.) It's very necessary to have the "C," though, so don't forget it or you'll have it spelled incorrectly.

For a pregnant woman, stronger contractions usually __________ actual labor.

When one thing "precedes" another, that means it comes before it. In the case of a pregnant woman, symptoms that may precede labor include stronger contractions or water breaking.

He made a __________ that he would take them to the zoo.

From the Latin "promissum," we derive this word we use today to represent something we assure someone else that we will do. We promise to put 40 clues in this quiz; do you promise to work all the way to the end?

He cleaned her car's __________ with baking soda.

It's true! You can easily clean your car's upholstery (that's the cloth on your seats) with regular household products. Mix baking soda with water and then lightly cover the problems area. Finish by scrubbing with a toothbrush.

Billionaire businessman Warren Buffett enjoys playing the ukulele as a __________.

Pastimes are hobbies or things you do in your spare time, like Buffett's enjoyment of the ukulele. We think it's an odd, but correct spelling that looks like it's missing some letters. But, with a pastime that includes taking online spelling tests, you probably already knew that, didn't you?

Amazon's Prime program has been wildly __________.

In January 2019, Amazon announced it had hit quite a milestone with its Prime memberships: 101 million subscribers. That's in the United States alone. How are we still able to get our packages in 24 hours? It's a mystery.

The pope is someone most people would consider to be extremely __________.

There has been a pope at the head of the Roman Catholic Church since Saint Peter held the job. The Basilica in Vatican City where the pope lives is named after him – St. Peter's Basilica.

Tracy told me that his least favorite household chore was running the __________.

We'll admit it--we don't like running the vacuum either. Give us dusting or folding clothes any day of the week. A vacuum, sometimes called a sweeper, picks up dirt and debris on your floors.

The Central __________ Agency is a top-secret government agency tasked with protecting the country.

The Central Intelligence Agency, or the CIA as most people call it, is a top-secret government agency that protects the United States both inside and outside the country. Ever watched a spy movie? You've probably seen them in action.

William Shakespeare was one of the most famous __________ in history.

England definitely considers Shakespeare its most famous playwright. Some of his most popular works include "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," "Macbeth," "The Merchant of Venice," "A Midsummer-Night's Dream" and "Much Ado about Nothing," among others.

We had to hurry and get out of the pool before the __________ started.

Thunder and lightning, lightning and thunder ... is there anything better than a good storm? Well, except maybe if you're trying to chill at the pool or the beach. Lightning occurs as a result of positive and negative charges interacting in a cloud.

American author Helen Keller was once accused of having __________ a work she called, "The Frost."

It's true: Noted author Helen Keller was once accused of having plagiarized a work she called "The Frost," from a work by Margaret Canby titled, "The Frost Fairies." Plagiarism is a big no-no. It's the act of taking someone else's work and passing it off as your own.

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution states that, "We the People ... shall ... promote the general __________."

The Preamble to the Constitution says a lot of other things, in addition to promoting the general welfare. It also says we will establish justice and provide for the common defense. Why? Well, to form a more perfect union, of course.

__________ tales explain how Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor.

We're not saying that stealing is right, but people sure do appreciate a character like Robin Hood who saw the injustice of the rich getting richer while the poor got poorer. So, he took matters into his own hands. Hey, even Disney loved the story.

Songstress Janet Jackson released the song, "__________ Nation" in 1989 in response to things being presented in the media.

Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation" hit was actually penned as a response to tragedies that were presenting themselves around the country. Jackson was attempting to use her platform to speak on issues such as racial inequality, poverty and drug abuse.

After making her purchase, the online retailer asked her to fill out a __________.

A questionnaire is simply a set of questions an individual might be asked in order to gather responses. A business might do this as a way of judging what someone thinks of its products or customer service.

Emma Roberts is the __________ of one famous actress, a "Pretty Woman," if you will.

That's right! Emma Roberts of "American Horror Story" fame boasts a famous aunt in Julia Roberts, who starred in "Pretty Woman," opposite Richard Gere in 1990. Or, you might say that Julia Roberts has a pretty famous niece.

The first person to hold the office of U.S. __________ of State was Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson may have been first, but there has been a long line of notable secretaries of state since he left office in 1793, including James Baker, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes