Top 5 Fun Facts About “Words” to Share with Your Class!

The English language is full of interesting words, from words with unusual spellings to words that aren’t even officially recognized. Many teachers are great wordsmiths, having majored in English or education. You know that by exploring different types of words, we can deepen our understanding of the complexities and nuances of this rich and diverse language.

ThinkFives, with the help of our Chief Linguist, identified fun facts about a number of different types of English words, including words of the year, commonly misused words, words with weird spellings, words used that aren’t actually words, and commonly misspelled words. These are great lists to quiz or share with students.

Words of the Year

Each year, various organizations and dictionaries choose a “word of the year” to represent the cultural or social trends of that year.

Here are the top 5 words of the year from the last decade:

  • Selfie (2013)
  • Vape (2014)
  • Emoji (2015)
  • Post-truth (2016)
  • Feminism (2017)
  • Toxic (2018)
  • Climate emergency (2019)
  • Pandemic (2020)
  • Vaccine (2021)
  • Gaslighting (2022)

Most Misused Words

English has many words that are commonly misused or confused with other words.

Here are 5 of the most commonly misused words in English:

  1. Literally – often used incorrectly as an intensifier, meaning the opposite of its true meaning
  2. Irony – often used to describe coincidences or unfortunate events, rather than its true meaning of a situation in which the opposite of what is expected occurs
  3. Nauseous – often used to describe feeling sick, rather than its true meaning of causing nausea
  4. Effect – often confused with the word “affect,” which means to influence or have an impact on
  5. Disinterested – often used to mean uninterested or bored, rather than its true meaning of impartial or unbiased

Weirdest Spelling

English has many words with unusual or weird spellings, often due to silent letters or unexpected combinations of letters.

Here are 5 English words with the weirdest spellings:

  1. Colonel – pronounced “kər-nəl”
  2. Wednesday – pronounced “wenz-dei”
  3. February – pronounced “feb-roo-er-ee”
  4. Pneumonia – pronounced “noo-moh-nee-uh”
  5. Phlegm – pronounced “flem”

Commonly Misspelled Words

English has many words that are commonly misspelled, often due to irregular spellings or letter combinations that are difficult to remember.

Most Misused Words

Here are 5 commonly misspelled words:

  1. Accommodate
  2. Definitely
  3. Embarrass
  4. Government
  5. Separate

Words that Ain’t Words

English has many words that are used colloquially but are not technically recognized as proper words.

Here are 5 common examples:

  1. Ain’t – often used as a contraction of “am not,” “is not,” “are not,” or “have not”
  2. Irregardless – often used to mean “regardless,” but is not considered a proper word
  3. Conversate – often used instead of “converse,” but is not a recognized word in standard English
  4. Funner – often used instead of “more fun,” but is not considered proper grammar in standard English
  5. Cattywampus – often used to mean “crooked” or “out of order,” but is not a recognized word in standard English

What words do you know that are misused or have unusual spellings? 


  1. When adults confuse “there, their, they’re” or “then” vs. “than” 🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️

  2. Word Nerd here! 🙋‍♀️🤓I love all these lists! These could be used for great grammar and English lessons. 🔤

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