50 States of Gray... or should that be Grey?
May 28, 2015 4:08 PM   Subscribe

With the finals of the National Spelling Bee about to begin (on ESPN, streaming may not be available to you), "Vocativ and Google Trends were eager to demonstrate just how accomplished these youngsters are", so they compiled a list of the most spellchecked words in each of the 50 United States and D.C. (NOT in map format)
posted by oneswellfoop (62 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hanukkah can–technically–be spelled two ways.

Only two? Since when?
posted by jeather at 4:14 PM on May 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


Is that a non-US site? They spelled "grey" and "cancelled" both incorrectly for American spelling. And I lol'ed at "Hanukkah can–technically–be spelled two ways" - only two?
posted by brainmouse at 4:15 PM on May 28, 2015


Nope, headquartered in NY.
posted by brainmouse at 4:15 PM on May 28, 2015


Mental note: Don't drink the water in Arkansas.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:15 PM on May 28, 2015


Why are they writing as if 'grey' is the correct spelling? It's definitely 'gray' in the US; AP style, people!
posted by mr_roboto at 4:16 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


The list seems to be what was spellchecked, which is not necessarily the correct spelling of the word.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:32 PM on May 28, 2015


You know it's gray in the US because of the A!

*crowd whips into a frenzy*
US-A
US-A
US-A

posted by wcfields at 4:36 PM on May 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


What's in the water in Delaware?
posted by rodlymight at 4:38 PM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


The list seems to be what was spellchecked, which is not necessarily the correct spelling of the word.

It is in some cases; those cases have the correct spelling in brackets underneath. Neither 'grey' and 'cancelled' have brackets beneath them, though. And in the body of the article, '[sic]' is used with incorrect spellings, and there's no '[sic]' with grey.

Also: Paran? Huh?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:39 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I noticed the bee was on ESPN today and it really took me back. I represented my school in spelling bees for several years -- once they didn't even have a school bee for my grade, they just asked me to do it. But it was not the Scripps Howard bee. It was an organization for private schools, and although there were a lot of competitors, the Regional was as far as you could go.

As a kid, I really wanted to be in the national bee, but I was told my school didn't qualify. I'm not sure why it didn't, but if I had seen cable TV carrying a live national bee, I would have spit nails for jealousy.

I was state champion a few times; why I knew how to spell the word "chromotrichial," which brought it home for me the first time, I still cannot explain. My highest place was fourth at the Regional in Charleston. I remember crying in the car because I had only gotten to fourth place, which should have foreshadowed my future psychological problems.

Still, I got a puppy like I was promised, and he lived to be about eighteen, so I came out ahead on the deal. Also, I get to be the lady in the office that everyone asks, "Hey, how do you spell . . . ?" and that gives me a certain pleasure.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:40 PM on May 28, 2015 [14 favorites]


"Grey" and "cancelled" don't have brackets underneath them because those are both recognized spellings of those words, despite other spellings being more preferred.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:41 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Love the Bee! The kids are so inspiring and hilarous and like actual real kids.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 4:49 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there a Google spellcheck thing I don't know about, or are these just one-word google searches they're assuming are being done to check spelling?

'Cause, like, people might be googling "grey" for another reason, y'know?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:50 PM on May 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


A lot of Americans know "grey" is the nonstandard spelling but use it anyway because it looks cooler.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:51 PM on May 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oklahoma: HORDERVES
posted by standardasparagus at 4:57 PM on May 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Washington's spell checked word sucks.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:58 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also: Paran? Huh?

I wondered that, too. Apparently "Paran" (or something similar) is unique to Louisiana, and is a French-derived term that means a child's godfather. A native could probably elaborate.

And as a useful rule of thumb, it's "grey" in England and "gray" in America.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:00 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Washington's spell checked word sucks.

It's spelled V-A-C-C-U-U-M-<-<-<-[backspace]
posted by Sys Rq at 5:03 PM on May 28, 2015


And as a useful rule of thumb, it's "grey" in England and "gray" in America.

Hello from Eanada.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:03 PM on May 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's "grey" in Canada, eh?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:08 PM on May 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Can someone just tell me why it's I before E execpt after C....only not always?
posted by shockingbluamp at 5:08 PM on May 28, 2015


Can someone just tell me why it's I before E execpt after C....only not always?

To quote the great Brian Regan...
I before E, except after C
Or when sounding like A, as in neighbor or weigh
And on weekends, and holidays, and all throughout May
And you'll always be wrong
No matter what you say
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:18 PM on May 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


Can someone just tell me why it's I before E execpt after C....only not always?

Because English is like a dog that's been running through a burr patch so long it's just a mile-wide ball of burrs with a dog skeleton somewhere in the middle.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:21 PM on May 28, 2015 [22 favorites]


Can someone just tell me why it's I before E execpt after C....only not always?

Why, are you planning a feisty heist on your weird beige foreign neighbor?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:22 PM on May 28, 2015 [30 favorites]


There's a new-ish Perry Bible Fellowship comic on this subject!
posted by saladin at 5:24 PM on May 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


i can't imagine how relax could be spelled any other way. what are people confused about?
posted by angrycat at 5:26 PM on May 28, 2015


Because English is like a dog that's been running through a burr patch so long it's just a mile-wide ball of burrs with a dog skeleton somewhere in the middle.

That's the thing. It's burrs all the way down. The dog left long ago.
posted by a halcyon day at 5:26 PM on May 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


also, why don't they click on the angry red line on a Word document? That process describes perhaps 20% of my life.
posted by angrycat at 5:31 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


My Achilles heel is "rhythm." I just can't spell it without mechanical assistance. Ever.
posted by yeolcoatl at 5:41 PM on May 28, 2015


"Paran" (or something similar) is unique to Louisiana, and is a French-derived term that means a child's godfather.

The French spelling is parrain (marraine). But it could have been changed over the years in Louisiana.
posted by jeather at 5:49 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


A lot of Americans know "grey" is the nonstandard spelling but use it anyway because it looks cooler.

Guilty as charged.
posted by Foosnark at 6:05 PM on May 28, 2015


I love you, Hawaii!
posted by rtha at 6:06 PM on May 28, 2015


*crowd whips into a frenzy*
US-A
US-A
US-A


Rewind to Summer Slam 1990. Eat it Canadians.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:10 PM on May 28, 2015


English being my second language after spanish, I pride myself in having extra good spelling in both languages, but the gray/grey dilemma always gets me!

Specially since I watch Grey's Anatomy and it's spelled with an E but the color's spelled with an A...???
posted by CrazyLemonade at 6:24 PM on May 28, 2015


angrycat: i can't imagine how relax could be spelled any other way. what are people confused about?

Relacs? Rilacks? I don't know. But it does frustrate me that I can know a fancy word like "tocsin" but can't show it off because it sounds like "toxin". When I'm overlord of spelling reform the letter 'x' wil bē first aganst þe wɔl.

{/}
posted by traveler_ at 6:26 PM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Specially since I watch Grey's Anatomy and it's spelled with an E but the color's spelled with an A...???

It's even more confusing if you're familiar with Gray's Anatomy.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:27 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


U.S-A I believe is now U!S!A! in proper Jingo Lingo.
posted by astrobiophysican at 6:36 PM on May 28, 2015


I am a New Yorker who has to look up the spelling of Hanukkah every damn year.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:45 PM on May 28, 2015


I read 'gray' and 'grey' as referring to different shades - 'gray' is lighter than 'grey'. I am pretty sure I don't write them consistently in this way, though. It's a bit of a gray grey blackish-white area.
posted by invokeuse at 6:52 PM on May 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I write for a living and I'm the "how do you spell...?" go-to person in the office... and I STILL have to Google for grey/gray. Fitting that I live in Ohio!

Related: I work for a Scripps-owned station and we got free t-shirts for the Bee. They say "Buzz-worthy!" and I was the only person who seemed to find it hilarious that 'buzzworthy' isn't a word that requires a hyphen.

ok to be fair it's hyphenated on the shirt because it's split into two lines but COME ON
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 6:55 PM on May 28, 2015


I aprove of this post.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:05 PM on May 28, 2015


Can someone just tell me why it's I before E execpt after C....only not always?

Lee Mack has the same problem.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:43 PM on May 28, 2015


Metroid Baby: "grey"

Fuck yeah - JEAN GREY MOTHERFUCKERS.

(I'll always use Grey because of X-Men). But fuck off if you think it's aluminIum, or defence or SHedule (vs the proper SKedule)
posted by symbioid at 9:23 PM on May 28, 2015


According to this chart, I should be in Oregon, which, okay probably. But what is the deal with Delaware? "Paronychia?" I submit that there is one person in Delaware with a severe nail infection, and everyone else in the state has superb spelling skills.
posted by taz at 11:53 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Invokeuse--

Yes! Me too! I see "grey" as a deep, charcoal color, while "gray" is more of a watery, dove shade.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:03 AM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are you aluminiuming 'em, my man? No mum*, I'm copper-bottoming 'em, mum.

* (ma'am)
posted by glasseyes at 3:15 AM on May 29, 2015


Are spelling bees a thing anywhere but the US? I've never seen one in the UK at all.
Why is it a Bee?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:31 AM on May 29, 2015


Why is it a Bee?

It's from an Old English word meaning "communal prayer" and has nothing to do with insects. It later meant any gathering for communal work (and is still used today for the term "quilting bee" in which a group of people sew together). The word evolved again to mean a communal competition (spelling bee, geography bee, etc.).
posted by dances with hamsters at 5:52 AM on May 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


I read 'gray' and 'grey' as referring to different shades - 'gray' is lighter than 'grey'. I am pretty sure I don't write them consistently in this way, though. It's a bit of a gray grey blackish-white area.

How funny! I see gray and grey as different colors, too, but grey is much lighter in my eyes. Gray is like battleships and murky water, whereas grey is like doves' wings and soft, rainy skies.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:21 AM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Mr. Coeslak can tell the twins apart, even if their father can't; Claire's eyes are grey, like a cat's fur, he says, but Samantha's are gray, like the ocean when it has been raining.
The Specialist's Hat by Kelly Link
posted by moonmilk at 7:51 AM on May 29, 2015


My Achilles heel is "rhythm." I just can't spell it without mechanical assistance. Ever.

Me too, and then I learned Robin Hood Yelled To His Men.
posted by Camofrog at 8:07 AM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


i can't imagine how relax could be spelled any other way. what are people confused about?

I figured it must be some kind of slogan, like Rolaids' "How do you spell relief?" Unfortunately a quick Google does not really support this theory.
posted by vytae at 11:38 AM on May 29, 2015


Can someone just tell me why it's I before E execpt after C....only not always?

"I" before "E,"
Except after "C,"
Or in sounding as "A,"
As in "neighbor" or "weigh,"
But a weird foreigner seizes neither leisure nor sport at its height.

I know, I know, that last bit doesn't rhyme, but my Grade 11 English teacher used to dress up as Mark Twain, so I tend to remember what she said anyway.

And then there was the grade 9 teacher who had the big poster in the back of the room with his sentences for indirect and direct objects, and predicate adjectives and predicate nominatives.

"Randy tossed Elmer an apple.
Randy is smart.
Randy is my friend."

Oh, the stories we used to make up about Randy and Elmer. But Mr. B. was so (I THINK) unintentionally funny, because he had this very deadpan, mumbly delivery, kind of like Stephen Wright. He always used to leave a big pause between "Elmer" and "an apple," as if we didn't know where he was going with it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:56 AM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


-My Achilles heel is "rhythm." I just can't spell it without mechanical assistance. Ever.

--Me too, and then I learned Robin Hood Yelled To His Men.


I was brought up on "George Eliot's Old Grandfather Rode a Pig Home Yesterday," and I still have to sing the Encyclopedia song.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:00 PM on May 29, 2015


I was brought up on "George Eliot's Old Grandfather Rode a Pig Home Yesterday,"

People need a mnemonic device to spell "geography"?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:25 PM on May 29, 2015


People need a mnemonic device to spell "geography"?

People need one to spell "Rhythm?"

Anyhow, I don't know if I would have needed it or not. I was taught it before I knew the word or its meaning.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:49 PM on May 29, 2015


People need one to spell "Rhythm?"
I prefer to remember that Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:03 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can someone just tell me why it's I before E execpt after C....only not always?

The "except after C" part is just science.
posted by straight at 3:09 PM on May 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


I always assumed the e-before-i words that don't fit the rhyming rules were just spelled weird.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:20 PM on May 29, 2015


I lost first place in a 2nd grade spelling bee when I offered the “grey” spelling. Wuz robbed, got some consolation felt-tip pens.
posted by migurski at 9:21 PM on May 29, 2015


Louisiana: Paran [sic]

lol.

Lisa [Reading invitation]: "Come to Homer's BBBQ. The extra B is for BYOBB."
Bart: What's that extra B for?
Homer: That's a typo.
posted by dgaicun at 10:24 PM on May 29, 2015


I lost first place in the spelling bee when I was in the second grade because our new principal was from the South and thought I said "a" when I said "e." There was, of course, no appeal.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:41 AM on May 31, 2015


« Older Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking   |   Kung Fury Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments