Quiz: English Majors Should Pass This Spelling Test With Flying Colors. Can You?
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English Majors Should Pass This Spelling Test With Flying Colors. Can You?
By: Zoe Samuel
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

English is a language with a storied history. It has been around in a recognizable form for about 1,600 years, since the fall of the Roman Empire. It started out as Anglo-Saxon, which was itself a mishmash of dialects within England's various warring kingdoms. Once the kingdom was united, the language began to coalesce. Regular infusions of Norse and Germanic words came from raiders, expanding the vocabulary. Then came the Norman invasion, with a whole lot of Gallic words. English remained the language of the people, but French was the language of court for several centuries. Eventually that passed away and the French melted into the English, adding yet more words, rules and structures.

This marked the arrival of Middle English into the Medieval period, which you'd probably be able to read relatively easily, even if you never studied it. As the Renaissance got underway, Middle English became more standardized, even though the idea of standardization was not yet popular. People wrote dictionaries more to record what they heard around them than to be prescriptive. Even in Shakespeare's day, there was no such thing as "bad" spelling. After all, hardly anyone could read and the printing press was pretty nascent, so you didn't need to agree on a system that worked for everyone.

Then came Dr. Johnson's dictionary, the invention of proper spelling and the Industrial Revolution. Suddenly literacy was a big deal, and it started to really matter that everyone was on the same page - literally. Over the next 100 years, proper spelling became a sign of intelligence and education. It's not an exact science, as language changes and even some very smart people just can't come to grips with spelling. However, it's a great skill to have. 

Are you a top-notch speller? Let's find out!

1.0 of 35
Which of these spells a word that means to mortify or humiliate?
2.0 of 35
Which of these means a way of memorizing words by using their initials?
3.0 of 35
Which of the below means someone who is grossly unqualified?
4.0 of 35
Which of these means keeping something in good condition on an ongoing basis?
5.0 of 35
Which of these means a timed agenda or a calendar?
6.0 of 35
Which of the below is the correct spelling of the word meaning "odd" or "strange," not the word referring to circuitry?
7.0 of 35
Which one is a word that is the opposite of "give," but doesn't mean "take"?
8.0 of 35
Which of these is a doorway or a life milestone?
9.0 of 35
Which of the below is the correct spelling for the thing that turns into popcorn (not the military rank)?
10.0 of 35
Which one describes a thing or person that is hot, passionate, or simply rather flame-y?
11.0 of 35
Which means a meter, or a verb meaning "to evaluate"?
12.0 of 35
Which means to harry, bother, or pester?
13.0 of 35
Which means to surpass expectations?
14.0 of 35
Which of these means not knowing something?
15.0 of 35
Which of these means decorative precious stones or accessories?
16.0 of 35
Which one means a person who connects two offices or organizations, or an affair?
17.0 of 35
Which of these means a place that is full of books?
18.0 of 35
Which of the below is the correct spelling for the teacher or team member in a leadership position (as opposed to the guiding axiom)?
19.0 of 35
Which of these means germane or pertinent?
20.0 of 35
Which one means passionate to the point of violence?
21.0 of 35
Which of these spells a Hoover or floor cleaning device, or a void?
22.0 of 35
Which of the below means to be agreeable to someone's needs or preferences?
23.0 of 35
Which means a corporation?
24.0 of 35
Which of these means a quandary or conundrum, especially a moral one?
25.0 of 35
Which of these means not native, or indigenous from abroad?
26.0 of 35
Which of these means euphoria, a feeling of intense joy or pleasure?
27.0 of 35
Which one means the thrust, implication or underlying idea?
28.0 of 35
Which of the below is the correct spelling - for the bone, not the funny situation?
29.0 of 35
Which one means to encircle, as in a war when an army surrounds a city?
30.0 of 35
Which of these means correct word order and punctuation?
31.0 of 35
Which one correctly spells a number that is one higher than 89?
32.0 of 35
Which spelling means something that is up to par, just good enough, but not necessarily better?
33.0 of 35
Which one means side by side and always equidistant, or happening in two places at the same time?
34.0 of 35
Which of these means to back off, like a wave going down the beach after crashing?
35.0 of 35
Which of the below is the correct spelling for the word meaning "smallest or slightest"?
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