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Harris Blackwood: Surprising spelling errors nationwide
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I read a lot when I was little and one of the results is I am a pretty good speller. I’m not spelling-bee worthy, but I do pretty well for someone who has spent a good part of life as a wordsmith.

This week, Google, the gigantic Internet search engine, released a study of inquiries about spelling. It was sorted by state.

Georgia, it seems, falls into a gray area. That is, gray, is the word we asked about the most.

For some people, it is the dilemma of gray vs. grey. Either is correct, however, grey is more commonly used in Great Brittan.

If you travel by interstate bus, greyhound has nothing to do with the color of the dog.

One place the spelling of gray is not in question is Jones County. It is situated just northeast of Macon. The county seat is Gray.

The town began as a settlement on the property of U.S. Congressman James Henderson Blount. They first called it James. Somebody suggested they call it Blountston. Instead they named it Gray in honor of James Madison Gray, a financier of the Confederacy.

At first, Gray was not the county seat. That was Clinton, named for Gov. DeWitt Clinton of New York. They wanted to call it Albany at first, but decided on Clinton to honor the governor.

A barbecue place there is called Old Clinton Barbecue that has some pretty tasty food.

I would imagine every first-grader in Jones County learns how to spell Gray. I don’t know if they teach them how to spell the county seat of Jeff Davis County. That would be Hazlehurst, which might be a tough first-grade spelling word.

As to misspelled words, our neighbors in Tennessee have a tough time with chaos.

Alabama is not proficient at spelling pneumonia. The folks in Maine, Michigan and Washington also have a hard time with pneumonia (hopefully just the spelling).

South Carolinians struggle with Chihuahua. I don’t know if that’s the dog or the Mexican state. By the way, its capital city is Chihuahua City. I’m teaching you some doggone geography.

It concerns me that the people of Wisconsin have a hard time spelling Wisconsin. I don’t necessarily believe you should have an entrance exam, but if you’re moving to Wisconsin, you should be able to spell. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving there from Chihuahua or Connecticut.

I find it interesting that the difficult spelling word in Nevada is available. If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas, almost anything you want is available 24 hours a day.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky is near and dear to me as I serve as an honorary Kentucky Colonel. The folks there have a hard time spelling beautiful.

As a Colonel, I am proud to say the Bluegrass state is a beautiful place. But let me add folks in California, Michigan, New York and Ohio have a hard time spelling beautiful, as well.

I also, not to brag, am an Honorary Admiral of the Nebraska Navy. The folks in Nebraska have a hard time with suspicious. If you see me in my full Navy regalia, this may mean that some suspicious folks are invading by water from Iowa, South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Missouri or Oklahoma.

I will be under the command of my good friend, Rear Admiral Fred Zwonechek of Lincoln. If you need to reach me, call out to Lincoln and ask for Fred. Those suspicious Nebraskans can’t spell Zwonechek.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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