Though the 281 spellers that made it to the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee from a field of 11 million competitors are known for their skill as wordsmiths, they’re not above having a little fun with the English language.
The linguistic mavens might be more familiar with terms like “schadenfreude” and “knaidel,” but seeing a sign offering “Farwood Fer Sale” can make even the most serious word slinger break out in a fit of the giggles.
Below, 20 spellers that will compete in the bee and their favorite misspellings.
1. Lydia Loverin, speller 152 from Pittsfield, Massachusetts: A sign in a store that read “On Sail” for a product that was on sale.
2. Dylan O'Connor, speller 165 from Alexandria Bay, New York: In a pamphlet that listed foods low in saturated fat that my dad brought back from the doctor, it advised people to consider eating “oat-brain.”
3. Shiv Patel, speller 167 from Burlington, North Carolina: 2013 College World Series, where the dugout banner read "Colllege World Series," instead of "College World Series."
4. Danyah Imam, speller 101 from Catonsville, Maryland: A sign that said "Violators will be towed and FIND $250."
5. Nila Dhinaker, speller 5 from Gilbert, Arizona: A school's literacy night sign said, "Welcome to our school's literaecy night!"
6. Daniel Samraj, speller 39 from Gainesville, Florida: At a local pool concession stand, the sign says "Chesee Pizza."
7. Mary Horton, speller 43 from West Melbourne, Florida: At Disney World, a building at a resort had the word "bodacious" misspelled ("bodascious") in giant letters.
8. Michael Jones, speller 279 from Draper, Utah: Sign outside a school that said "Congradulations, Spelling Bee Winners."
9. Kiana Lacroix, speller 53 from Coeur D’Alene, Idaho: A printed metal sign that read: "No stakedoarbs on sid walk."
10. Keith Mokry, speller 62 from Somonauk, Illinois: The “Scared” Heart of Jesus instead of The Sacred Heart of Jesus.
11. Adam Kastler, speller 65 from Vernon Hills, Illinois: The word "beard" was spelled "bearb" on the side of the local barbershop.
12. Neha Seshadri, speller 115 from Novi, Michigan: I once saw a sign that said "speed bum ahead" instead of "speed bump ahead."
13. Kellen Rodriguez, speller 128 from Fairmont, Minnesota: I once saw an outdoor hotel sign with "All guests well come."
14. Nicholas Stark, speller 201 from Howe, Oklahoma: Once at a supposedly authentic Italian restaurant, the menu had misspelled “mozzarella” as “motsarela.”
15. Hayden McCuan, speller 228 from Jackson, Tennessee: Edugation classes beginning at 9:00 a.m.
16. Naama Friedman, speller 229 from Knoxville, Tennessee: "Road Closed Do To Construction"
17. Kate Miller, speller 232 from Abilene, Texas: There is a sign on the outskirts of town that reads "Farwood Fer Sale."
18. Samuel Pereles, speller 255 from Waynesboro, Virginia: I saw "Personal Watermelon" misspelled "Personnel Watermelon."
19. Karelyn Malliet, speller 276 from Shawano, Wisconsin: I saw a sign online that said "English is our language. No excetions. Learn it."
20. Rebecca Tran, speller 116 from Wyoming, Michigan: On the news and it said there was a weather alert because there was a "serve thunderstorm."
The 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee will take place on May 27, 28 and 29 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
Preliminary rounds will air on ESPN3 at 8 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday. The semifinals will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Thursday at 10 a.m., and the championship finals will be broadcast live on ESPN on Thursday at 8 p.m.