7 Historical Figures Who Were Really Bad At Spelling

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Spelling is hard, and honestly, being good or bad at it isn’t necessarily a sign of intelligence. In fact, some of the most famous historical figures were pretty terrible. Many actually made their living as writers, and yet likely failed a spelling bee or two.

Here’s a look at 7 infamously bad spellers who might surprise you.

#7. Agatha Christie

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She’s inarguably a fantastic author, but that doesn’t mean she knew how to spell. Christie herself admitted that she had issues, saying, “[I was an] extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so until this day.”

#6. Jane Austen

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She might be one of the most famous authors of all time, but Austen employed editors to fix her many spelling mistakes. It’s a good thing she finally started getting a second pair of eyes on her work, considering one of the books she wrote as a young teenager was titled Love and Freindship.

#5. Andrew Jackson

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Jackson’s ineptitude when it came to spelling was something of a political punchline. In fact, John Quincy Adams denounced him as a “barbarian who could not write a sentence of grammar and hardly could spell his own name.”

#4. George Washington

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Multiple missives exist in which Washington misspells common words, but historians at the National Archives warn against assuming Washington was to blame. It was widely known that the letters he wrote between 1787 and 1790 were copied by his nephew so it’s possible the young man could have been the one responsible for the errors.

#3. Ernest Hemingway

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Hemingway struggled with certain words, so he added unnecessary letters here and there. What’s worse, he had no time for editors’ complaints on the matter, and reportedly snapped at them, often saying, “that’s what you’re hired to correct!”

#2. Winston Churchill

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He might be remembered as one of the best speechwriters and orators in history, but as a child, teachers commented that his “writing was good but so terribly slow — and spelling about as bad as it well can be.”

#1. F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Yet another person remembered for their ability with a pen, but not so much for the spelling of the words themselves. The original draft of The Great Gatsby contained hundreds of spelling mistakes, some of which can hardly be puzzled out by modern editors.