A new day, a new thing

My goal to learn something new every day

Day 3: It’s spelled occasionally

I’m not afraid to admit that I’m not the greatest speller in the world. Perhaps it’s a product of being brought up in a world of spell checkers and Google, which means that the correct answer is only a quick click away.

Some of the words that have been difficult for me in the past are ‘necessary’ and ‘definitely’. But with both of these words I’ve found just a little bit of effort is all I needed to get it down.

However, there is one word, a word so dastardly, a word so stubborn, that it has plagued me for years – literally as the two tweets from 2013 and 2014 below will attest to:

For some reason, I just cannot seem to remember how to spell ‘occasionally/occasion’. It always takes me three attempts. I’ve got the ‘ls’ down, but it’s the cs and ss that trip me up.

It seems that I’m not the only one with this problem though. Yourdictionary.com says it’s in the top 100 misspelled words. Gingersoftware.com shows 8 different misspellings for the word, and this blog post talks about the author’s own problems with the word.

There are a few things that you can do to help you remember tricky spellings. For example, find a word within the tricky word that you already know how to spell. This is what worked for me with definitely. I knew how to spell finite, and once I knew that, I could remember definitely. Unfortunately, no such luck with occasion. Another is through the use of mnemonics.

I found this post, which has a good idea to help you remember the correct spelling:

On occasion you’ll travel over two seas. So you repeat the letter c in occasion.

But it was this suggestion on a forum that cracked it for me:

Imagine a Mexican [or other Spanish speaker] person saying yes enthusiastically: “Oh, Si, Si!”.

(I’ll let you click on the link to find out the rather crass context in which it was presented.) I think I’d rather remember it the way Manuel speaks to Basil Fawlty.

Here’s hoping that I ocassionally occassionally occasionally get it correct from here on.

I’d be really interested to hear about any words others have had difficulty spelling, and what, if anything, you’ve done to help you remember.

6 comments on “Day 3: It’s spelled occasionally

  1. carissa peck (@eslcarissa)
    January 4, 2015

    I totally have these issues! I am OK with occasionally, but many teachers will notice I do a lot of activities in my class…hardly ever do I do exercises…because excersize is always my first spelling! Here’s the other words I struggle with: http://eslcarissa.blogspot.mx/2013/08/confession-5-english-words-i-always.html

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Matthew
    January 5, 2015

    One of my killer words is ‘receipt’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hana Tichá
    January 5, 2015

    Haha, ‘occasionally’ used to plague me for years too. Even now as I’m typing it I have to concentrate to get it right. Double ‘s’ has always felt more appropriate here. I also hate ‘prestigious’ and ‘desperately’. Wow, my spellchecker tells me I’ve managed to write them correctly. Hurray!

    This is a fantastic challenge you’ve taken up, David. Even if you learn one small thing a day, it’s a great success. Actually we learn big things all the time without even realizing it, so this blog is definitely a very helpful tool for your personal and professional growth. Go ahead!


    • David Harbinson
      January 6, 2015

      Hi Hana. I’ve been enjoying the challenge so far. It’s certainly got me listening more carefully and paying more attention in general, always on the lookout to learn something now. I’m also hoping that by writing about it, it will be easier to remember later on, and if not, at least I’ll know where to look to find out how to do something again.


  4. ven_vve
    January 7, 2015

    I remember that tweet – I remember wanting to favorite it because ‘occasionally’ gives me a headache too but then I guess I didn’t. I don’t often have to check spellings – I was one of those (doubtless annoying) kids who would get 100% on spelling quizzes, and a sticker – but on the list you linked to I find ‘precede’ tough, and ’embarrassed’.
    I agree with Hana, by the way – this blog is a pretty cool challenge. I would never manage to see it through though, as I take ages to write up a post. Maybe one of your learning points could be on what you’ve learned about writing to a deadline, once you’ve kept it up for a couple of weeks? Just a suggestion. Good luck!


    • David Harbinson
      January 7, 2015

      Hi Vedrana, thanks for your comment. It’s been really interesting to hear the words that others have found difficult to spell. Embarrassed is one that it took me a while to get used to. I feel comfortable with it now when I’m typing on a computer, but that might just have something to do with the actual typing of it being more automatic. I think that I might have more difficulty if I had to write it out by hand.

      I really like the suggestion you make about what I have learned from writing a post every day, and is something that I will definitely bear in mind. Thanks.


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This entry was posted on January 3, 2015 by in Language and tagged , , .


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