First of all, does this actually happen to others? Hopefully it does.

In my case at least, the most commonplace words suddenly seem to be spelled wrong.

The most common examples are why, while, when etc. I develop this sudden feeling that the word why is in fact spelled wrong.

Is this a thing? Please point out if the question is off topic though.

  • 3
    Dilbert's view Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 9:39
  • Haha. Could you post it as an answer though? Don't like leaving it marked as unanswered Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 10:08
  • No, this doesn't really happen to me. My sense for misspelled words is almost unerring.
    – ErikE
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


As an editor, it happens to me all the time. Every time an author writes "seperate," for instance, I doubt my own knowledge that it should be "separate." I double-check the spelling of common words all the time when I'm editing. My advice is never become an editor -- it slows your reading, makes writing nearly impossible, and has few rewards.

All credit for the following goes to @TimLymington:


  • Heck, "separate" is easy. I still remember the story in my "reader" from about the 5th grade, and so I look for "a rat".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 14:31
  • @HotLicks -- Hahahaha! As I tell my wife, "That was probably before my time." :--)) Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 14:44
  • @HotLicks Tom Hastings and the Blacksmith?
    – Conrado
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 13:09
  • @Conrado - Yeah, Hastings Mills. Apparently Mabel O'Donnell was the author.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 23:51

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