I can understand how one could write "monestary" instead of "monastery" if all of one's information on this word were based on its pronunciation. But if it's in effect a mental cross reference to a mental file folder that included the word "monastic", which would be pronounced differently if it were spelled "monestic", then one would not make this mistake. That would also explain people writing "experation" and the like. Do people differ in the ways in which they store their vocabularies in their brains? Or is it just a matter of those who associate "monestary" with "monestic" having more information than do those who write "monestary"? Mike Hardy
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I can understand how one could write "monestary" instead of "monastery" if all of one's information on this word were ... matter of those who associate "monestary" with "monestic" having more information than do those who write "monestary"? Mike Hardy

I think that some people are simply more observant than others. Then there's also that "capability to learn" thing. It varies.
Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
I can understand how one could write "monestary" instead of "monastery" if all of one's information on this word were ... matter of those who associate "monestary" with "monestic" having more information than do those who write "monestary"? Mike Hardy

You seem to assume that everyone spells words exactly as they think the word should be spelt and never makes a slip of the pen. Then you assume that words are always pronounced according to the way they're spelt.
Why do you do that?

John Dean
Oxford
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You seem to assume that everyone spells words exactly as they think the word should be spelt and never makes a slip of the pen.

No ... when I see "monestary" twelve times on one web page, it's not a slip of the pen.
Then you assume that words are always pronounced according to the way they're spelt.

What makes you think I do that? Mike Hardy
Or is it just a matter of those who
associate "monestary" with "monestic"
having more information than do those
who write "monestary"?

Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
You seem to assume that everyone spells words exactly as they think the word should be spelt and never makes a slip of the pen.

No ... when I see "monestary" twelve times on one web page, it's not a slip of the pen.

Well, that's clearer. I couldn't get what your first message was about, either, but now that you call my attention to it, I see that there are indeed a great many uses on the Web of "monestary" to mean "monastery."

Yes, I would guess the reason is related to sound the "a" in "monastery" plays no useful role, so it seems logical to switch the "a" and the "e". I don't know how such a guess could be tested, though.

It looks to me like a simple spelling mistake. People aren't sure how to spell it so they guess, or, they feel sure but they've actually got it switched.

Best wishes Donna Richoux
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No ... when I see "monestary" twelve times on one web page, it's not a slip of the pen.

Well, that's clearer. I couldn't get what your first message wasabout, either, but now that you call my attention to ... spelling mistake. People aren't sure howto spell it so they guess, or, they feel sure but they've actually gotit switched.

This is intriguing me for some reason (I'm hoping for more from Michael, if what he's getting at is some new theory of spelling error).

I've just done a quick and uncritical Ggl, and find the raw figures:

"monestary" 35,000 (UK sites 505)
"monestery" 4,870 (UK sites 670)
"monastary" 52,500 (UK sites 545)
"monastery" 3,150,000 (UK sites 547,000)
For comparison, I tried the common errors "dissappointing" (48,000; UK 3,810) and "disapointing" (98,400; 13,400). The correct form got 7,360,000; 1,820,000.
So "monastery" may be a harder word to spell than some others, but most people agree there's an a in it somewhere! I'd say 34 right for each wrong was on the low side, but that seems to be in a reasonable range for the Internet, where the much commoner word "disappointing" gets about 50 rights per wrong.
(My arithmetic is sold as seen.)

Mike.
snip
Yes, I would guess the reason is related to sound the "a" in "monastery" plays no useful role, so it seems logical to switch the "a" and the "e". I don't know how such a guess could be tested, though.

Not a test, but I think the commonly-seen spelling of "cemetary" is a similar case.

Cheers, Harvey
Canada for 30 years; S England since 1982.
(for e-mail, change harvey.news to harvey.van)
I've just done a quick and uncritical Ggl, and find the raw figures: "monestary" 35,000 (UK sites 505) "monestery" 4,870 (UK sites 670) "monastary" 52,500 (UK sites 545) "monastery" 3,150,000 (UK sites 547,000)

I'd think that the -ary ones are going to be relatively common in the US, since the US has a lot of merry/Mary-merging speakers. ("Monastery"'s last two syllables rhyme with "merry", while, to me (a MINMINM AmE speaker) "monastary"'s "-stary" should rhyme with "Mary".)
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