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Before there was the internet, I was an excellent speller. At least in my mind I was.

But since the dawning of this new age of spellcheck, I’ve learned I must have been leaving a trail of mangled words behind me for many years before I realized how challenged I was in this regard.

My first clue should have been when I was weeded out of my first spelling bee in the second round during the third grade. I misspelled “thread.”

In my defense, though, they gave a local life-long rancher the honor of calling out the words. When he said “thread,” he said “thray-ed.” I spelled it that way. “T-h-r-a-e-d” – just as he said it.

Foiled by the Texas diphthong. Take a seat, son.

Google has done some looking into which words Texans misspell often, besides misspelling “misspell,” which is one of the most frequently misspelled words across the English-speaking diaspora.

“Confident” is a word we Texans often get wrong, says Google Trends. Evidently we tend to spell it with an “a-n-t” at the end. We are confidant in our misspelling of “confident.”

Grammarly says Texans frequently misspell “similar.” We put a “u” in there: “Simular.” “Your truck looks simular to mine.”

We often know how to say words, but don’t know how to spell them. Many people live on a prairie but can’t spell “prairie.” There are two “i”s.

I always have to look up “bureaucrat” to spell it, or give it a shot and let autocorrect show me how. It’s as if a bureaucracy created the spelling of the word, making it unduly difficult.

Let’s have a Texas spelling bee and see how you do. If you are a native Texan, you’ll likely do well. If you have arrived lately, you may struggle.

“Bexar,” as in “Bexar County.” Spell “bear” as you would the “bear” for “grizzly” and put an “x” in the middle.

“Luckenbach” – Most forget the “c.” Sounded out would be Luck-en-bach.

City name: “Llano.” “Llano is on the Llano river.” Two “L”s up front.

River name: “Pedernales.” Tricky one. The “r” is actually the fifth letter, not the third.

“Edinburg.” No “h” at the end, as they spell it in Scotland.

“Balmorhea.” Tough one. B-A-L-M-O-R-H-E-A. Word comes from combination of founders: Balcom, Morrow and Rhea.

“Refugio.” A “g” goes where many put the second “r.”

“Nacogdoches.” A lot of people miss the “g” in the middle.

“Mexia.” An “x” in the middle – no “h.”

“Waxahachie” may be the most misspelled city name in Texas. It has an “x” three letters in and ends in “i-e.”

“Boerne (BURN-ee).” B-O -E r n e. Many people mistakenly say “Boerne,” rhyming with “Jason Bourne” – and then spell it wrong, too.

Most of our Texas spelling problems come from words with Native American and Spanish roots. We have largely anglicized them, which makes the spelling of them challenging at times.

And some store names and product names give us trouble , like Buc-ee’s. One “C,” double “e,” apostrophe “s.”

Did you know a lot of people misspell “Dr Pepper”? It’s true. There is no period after the “Dr” in “Dr Pepper.”

Well, at least I’ll never forget how to spell “H-E-B,” so I’m set.


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