How Do You Spell Accidental?

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  • 2024-02-16 00:00:00
  • 11 min read

This article dives into the proper spelling of a commonly misconstrued word, providing insight into its correct usage, common blunders, and memory aids to prevent future mistakes. Whether you're a writer, student, or just a grammar enthusiast, understanding the intricacies of this term is essential for accurate communication.

Correct Spelling of Accidental

The correct spelling of the term is accidental. This word contains four syllables, with the stress placed on the third syllable: ac-ci-DEN-tal. It is vital to include both ‘c's and ensure the single 'd' precedes the 'ental' suffix to maintain accurate spelling and pronunciation.

How can remember the correct spelling

A helpful technique to remember the spelling of accidental is to break it down into its parts: "acci-" plus "-dental". Associating the word with an 'accident' happening 'dental' (like a surprise wisdom tooth)—despite being a nonsensical analogy—can make the spelling more memorable.

Common Spelling Mistakes

  • Accedental - A common error is replacing the ‘i’ with an ‘e’, influenced perhaps by the English tendency towards vowels like ‘e’ after ‘c’.
  • Accidantal - Swapping the ‘e’ for an ‘a’ in the final syllable is a mistake rooted in mispronunciation or a misinterpretation of the suffix.

These errors stem from phonetic misinterpretation and a misunderstanding of the suffix that forms part of the word.

Definition and Etymology of Accidental

The word accidental is used as both an adjective and a noun to denote something occurring unexpectedly or by chance, rather than by intention. As an adjective, it can describe incidents, discoveries, or characteristics that were not planned. The term derives from the late Middle English, incorporating both 'accident' from Latin 'accidens', meaning ‘happening’, and the suffix ‘-al’, indicating something pertaining to or of the nature of.

Transcription of Accidental

In phonetic transcription, accidental might be represented as /ˌæk.sɪˈden.təl/. This illustrates the stressed third syllable and helps guide pronunciation to adhere closely to the expected sounds. Such transcriptions are beneficial for non-native speakers or anyone working to improve their spoken English through precise phonetic practice.

Examples of Using of Accidental

  • The discovery of penicillin was entirely accidental.
  • An accidental meeting with an old friend made her day.
  • He claimed the damage was accidental, not intentional.


What does the word mean?
It pertains to something happening by chance or unexpectedly.

Words Closely Related: incidental, unintentional, unforeseen.

Synonyms: unintended, unplanned, fortuitous.

Difference Between American and British Versions

There is no significant difference between American and British spellings of accidental. Both varieties of English spell and use the word in the same manner, focusing on its role to describe events or properties that occur without intention or planning.

In Which Academic Dictionaries You Can Find This Word

  1. Oxford English Dictionary.
  2. Merriam-Webster.
  3. Cambridge Dictionary.

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