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I Never Knew It Was A Thing… Wordnesia

I used to think I was the only one. I chalked it up to having an artist brain, or slight dxlexia. But when looking up another question, I stumbled apon an answer to a question that I've had for around 40 years. The ¿question? you ask? Why can I not remember what vowels are in a word? Or what order they go in? And for that matter... looking at a word, thinking it is spelled wrong, just to look up the word and realize I spelled it right, but boy does it look wrong. You might be experiencing Wordnesia. Yes it's actually an issue and maybe you thought you were just weird. You are not alone if this has happened to you. In fact, people that are GREAT with words like Kyle Mahowald, a linguist working toward his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department, also experience this phenomena. In SLATE he says:

“And for me, I’ve noticed it happens more when writing than when reading.”

In addition, Charles A. Weaver III, a Baylor University psychology and neuroscience professor reported to MATTHEW J.X. MALADY, says

"’s likely that wordnesia happens to everyone." He referred to the phenomenon as representing “temporary glitches” that may be impossible to avoid completely, considering the complexities of human brain functioning as it relates to reading and writing."

Has this happened to you? It has happened to me since I first started to learn to read. For the life of me when I was learning to read the words: where, when, whether, what, which... I did not know the difference in pronunciation nor comprehend the order of the letters. I was not able to determine between these words and my teacher paired me with a fellow student (thank you Mrs. J. Napier, and Faith Pressley) to work exclusively with these words until I had them straightened out. I appreciated the idea of peer tutoring from my teacher and the kindness of Faith. I'm sure they didn't know how much that meant to me 40 years ago but it is the small things that add up to BIG things to a child.

If you have the same trouble with wordnesia, don't worry you are not alone. So lift your head up high and with a confident voice ask someone next to you, "How do you spell cake?"


Malady, 2015, "Rohds. Rowds. Row-ads? Rhowds???, Oh, wait, roads. The weird agonies and little-known science of wordnesia.",, accessed July 27, 2023,


Fessenden, 2015, "When Even the Simplest Word Looks Weird And Wrong You Have Wordnesia",, accessed July 27, 2023,


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