Before you read on, which do you think is the correct spelling: accidentally or accidently? I hope no one spotted the accidental misspelling of the word accidentally in yesterday’s post (Note 348 – Accidentally overwriting blog posts) before I changed it. This is apparently a commonly misspelt word of which I am guilty of unfortunately (not anymore though!).
Although I now know that accidentally is the correct spelling, it niggles me that the incorrect spelling ‘accidently’ has (over the years) been accepted as a variant. Some dictionaries show both just because the word proves to be popular, but this doesn’t make it right. A member on English forums.com suggests picking a dictionary and sticking to it with all your words and also adds that accidentally is “more right, if there is such a thing”.
Tip for remembering the spelling
English for Students website says that an easy way to remember this spelling is to remember the spelling of accidental. You just need to add ‘-ly’ (just remember not to add ‘-ly’ to accident or you’ll end up with *accidently* which is incorrect).
A similar word with an ‘-ally’ suffix is incidentally.
Merriam Webster online dictionary shows both accidentally and accidently
Oxford Dictionaries online shows only accidentally
Cambridge Dictionaries online shows only accidentally
I think I’ll go with accidentally!
17 days of My Writing Challenge to go
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