Mighty Red Pen

December 6, 2010

Can you raed tihs?

Filed under: Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 8:04 pm

You’ve seen the e-mail, right? It’s been circulating the InterWebs since about 2003. It appears to be a random assortment of words:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

But upon further inspection, you find you can read:

According to a researcher at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that first and last letter is at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because we do not read every letter by it self [sic] but the word as a whole.

A clever little word nerd parlor trick, right? These guys don’t think so:

For more about this, try Languagehat and Snopes.



  1. Oh, I love love love this. I has not good garmamr (snickering behind my hand), and sepillng isn’t my forta, but I will be sharing this with everybody I know.

    (I’m sorry, I know I should be smacked with a dictionary or something for the above, but I couldn’t resist.)

    Comment by Michy — December 7, 2010 @ 1:27 am | Reply

  2. Can you read ‘dmisertibssnetnaahlaisim’? I guarantee it’s a real word.

    Comment by Chris Barts — December 7, 2010 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

    • @Chris, I give up, what is it?

      Comment by mighty red pen — December 7, 2010 @ 4:08 pm | Reply

      • ‘disestablishmentariansim’

        It’s ‘cheating’, perhaps, but it does show that this little trick has limits. If you saw that word all the time you’d probably have gotten it right off.

        Comment by Chris Barts — December 7, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

      • Sorry, it’s ‘disestablishmentarianism’, and I spelled it correctly when I scrambled it.

        Comment by Chris Barts — December 7, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

  3. Thanks for the link. It will be so good to have a rebuttal for this the next time it circulates!

    Comment by Suzanne — December 9, 2010 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

  4. This was great. Thanks for the laugh!

    Comment by Paul Hile — December 27, 2010 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

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