The latest issue of the New Scientist poses an interesting question in its Feedback column:
LIKE so many Feedback readers, Graham Barrow has an enquiring mind and a zest for research. So when he found himself wondering how common his most frequent misspellings were, he went straight to a famous web search engine to find out. As a consultant specialising in training, he regularly miskeys that word and types “traiing” instead. He is not alone. The FWSE tells him there are 52,700 pages on the web containing the word.
That pales into insignificance compared with the next word he tried – “rigth” – which appears 733,000 times (and which has often appeared in draft versions of this column). But even “rigth” is a minnow compared with the last word he checked. “Becuase”, he points out, sounds like it ought to be a treatment for hay fever. If it was, it would be a very popular one, since it appears no fewer than 4,950,000 times in the FWSE’s listing.
Barrow leaves us with a challenge. Is “becuase” the most common typo in the English language? Or can readers find a more popular one?
Common misspellings on the internet. Now there’s a thought. [I couldn’t help headline the story The Becuase Effect!].
If I disregard “teh” for “the”, on the basis that many of the early hits were actually for something other than “the” misspelled, the best I could come up with was:
which yielded 6.18m hits, easily displacing “becuase”. Can you beat that? If so please go ahead and contact Feedback directly at New Scientist. Or comment here and I will do it for you.