I’ve known for quite a while that ‘congratulations’ (with a ‘T’ in the middle) is one of the more commonly misspelt words.  Today, though, I saw ‘congradulations’ AND ‘congrads’, written by two different people, and began to ponder.

It’s become cheesily common for people to make what they think is a witty pun by merging ‘congratulations’ and ‘graduation’ into ‘congradulations’ (I’m sure it was funny the first time it happened).  It has been appearing on banners, greeting cards, and even wine labels (this one is spelled ‘congraduations’) ever since, welcoming recent graduates into a new era of their lives.

I wonder how often people actually see this word written down.  If a child or teenager sees it predominantly at school functions where it has been mangled on purpose, will they think that this is the way that it’s supposed to look?  Will future generations increasingly spell this word incorrectly?

Doing a quick Google search, ‘congradulations’ turns up about 1.4 million hits, which is discouraging. I am slightly comforted by the fact that this compares with 72.4 million hits for the correct spelling.

‘D’s and ‘T’s are sometimes indistinguishable in speech, so I am sure that the spelling confusion is quite easily explained away.  It does pay to know how to spell words correctly, though, so you don’t fall for things like this American lottery scam.