Words > The 9 worst pubLic spelling blunders in modern history

The 9 worst pubLic spelling blunders in modern history

If you struggle with spelling, you can take comfort in the fact that probably only your close friends and coworkers (and some teachers armed with red pens) will know about it. Politicians, authors, and celebrities are not so lucky. Here are some of the most notorious public spelling gaffes in recent memory.

1. Barack Obama misspells R-E-S-P-E-C-T

When US President Barack Obama introduced Aretha Franklin at a gala in 2014, he misspelled her iconic song as "R-S-P-E-C-T." Oops.

2. Mitt Romney's "Better Amercia"


Both sides of the political spectrum have fallen prey to spelling errors. Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2012 promoted "A Better Amercia" in its official app.

3. F. Scott Fitzgerald and his friend Earnest Hemminway

The high school English teachers who love to assign F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway would probably also love to give them some spelling pointers. Hemingway was known to often misspell words like "moveing" and "loveing," while Fitzgerald spelled "yacht" as "yatch" and "upon" as "apon."

Perhaps most egregious, however, is that Fitzgerald couldn't even spell the name of his friend, instead addressing him as "Earnest Hemminway."

4. Christopher Wlaken


Actor Christopher Walken, best known for his roles in Pulp Fiction and The Deer Hunter and his appearances on Saturday Night Live, may be a household name now, but he was a relative unknown when he appeared in Annie Hall in 1977. The film's end credits list him as "Christopher Wlaken."

5. Lennon and McArtney

Lennon and McCartney may be the most famous songwriting duo in history, but, for a brief spell, they were "Lennon-McArtney," thanks to a typo on several hundred promotional copies of "Love Me Do."

6. Correrction


It's always good when newspaper editors attempts to correct a mistake... unless they misspell "correction," as the Toronto Sun did in 2012.

7. Celebrities on Twitter

Twitter's 140-character limit has caused many celebrities to take liberties with the conventions of spelling and grammar. There are too many to list, so here are two highlights:

Mary J. Blige tweeted the lament, "Why is that people always try to understand estimate my intelligents?! They should never do that!"


British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver threw correct spelling out the window with four spelling mistakes in a single tweet, including "anouther" (no, that's not the British spelling), "waist" ("waste"), "there" ("their"), and "countrys" ("countries").


8. Lesus

In 2013, the Vatican issued a commemorative medal in honor of Pope Francis, but it was quickly recalled when it was found to contain the misspelling "Lesus" in place of the name of Jesus.

9. Dan Quayle's "potatoe"

Perhaps the most notorious spelling mistake of all time came in 1992, when then-US Vice President Dan Quayle attended a grade school spelling bee and changed a student's correct spelling of "potato" to "potatoe." Although an incorrect flash card was blamed, Potatoegate lives on and continues to overshadow Quayle's political career. In his memoir, Quayle himself acknowledged the incident as "more than a gaffe" and instead "a 'defining moment' of the worst imaginable kind."

For the record, any misspellings in this article are definately on purpose. What is the most embarassing spelling mistake you have ever made?

Complete English Grammar Rules is available for purchase as Paperback and Kindle eBook.
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