Correcting someone’s spelling is the go-to tactic for lazy blowhards, yet the rise of social media has offered up enough bizarre misspellings and grammatical curiosities to make one question the effectiveness of education. Still, it’s not as if misspellings are confined to a single demographic—you try spelling “Caribbean” right during a marathon typing session.
Google decided to shame the entire nation at once by putting together a chart that maps the top “how to spell” searches by state between January 1 and April 30 of this year. The results are curious:
Some of these make sense. Michigan, for example, often looks up how to spell “pneumonia.” Arkansas and South Carolina struggle with “chihuahua.” North Carolina, on the other hand, struggles with “angel.” Oregon? “Sense.” And, in perhaps the most telling bit of data on this map, South Dakota frequently looks up the spelling of “college.”
The most prevalent word on the map by a mile, however, is “beautiful.” For New York, California, Minnesota, Ohio, and Kentucky, that was the most looked-up word. That doesn’t make it the hardest word on the list, however. That honor would go to “ninety,” which is the most misspelled word of Washington, D.C.—and Google engineers, apparently, who spelled it “nintey” on the original map.
This, of course, did not go unnoticed.
And Google was brave enough to acknowledge their mistake.
See? Next time you start correcting someone’s spelling, know that there’s probably a slew of “ninteys” and “beatifuls” in your wake.