Blog/Grammar tips
12 November 2023
2 min read

Unfortunately: A Guide to Spelling This Tricky Word Correctly

Hello, word warriors! Have you ever been in the middle of crafting a perfect text or email, and suddenly, you're stuck on spelling 'unfortunately'? It's a word that seems to stretch on forever, isn't it? But don't worry, you're not alone in this. Today, we're going to break down the spelling of 'unfortunately' into bite-sized pieces. Let’s turn your spelling misfortunes into victories!

Understanding Unfortunately

"Unfortunately" is one of those words that can be a bit of a tongue-twister, and a finger-twister when typing, too. But why is this word such a common stumbling block?

Common Mistakes

  • Dropping the 'e': A frequent error is spelling it as unfortunatly.
  • Misplacing 'n' and 't': Sometimes it turns into unfortunetly or unfortunently.
  • Adding extra letters: Like spelling it unfortunatelly or unfortunetely.

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Examples in Context

Correct Usage:

  • Expressing Regret: "Unfortunately, we had to cancel the trip due to bad weather."
  • Conveying Unfavorable News: "The package you've been waiting for, unfortunately, got delayed."

Incorrect Usage:

  • Incorrect: "I unfortunatly missed the last train home."
  • Incorrect: "He unfortunently couldn't join us for dinner."

The Intricacies of "Unfortunately"

The 'Un' Prefix

The word starts with 'un', a common English prefix that means not. It's the first step in our spelling journey.

The Heart of the Word

At its heart, "unfortunately" contains the word 'fortune', which itself can be tricky. Remember, it’s 'fortune' with an 'e' at the end.

The 'Ate' to 'Ate-ly' Transition

After 'fortune', we add 'ate' to form 'fortunate', and then a simple 'ly' to turn it into 'fortunately'. Then, it's just a matter of adding the 'un' prefix.

Additional Tips for Remembering

A fun trick to remember "unfortunately" is to break it down: un-fortune-ate-ly. Think of it as being "not in a fortunate state, sadly". Breaking it into parts can make it less daunting!


Mastering the spelling of "unfortunately" is all about understanding its components and practicing them. Like many words in English, it can be a bit of a puzzle, but with these tips, you’re well-equipped to solve it. So next time you type out this lengthy word, remember its parts, and you’ll spell it perfectly. Unfortunately, our little spelling session has come to an end, but your journey to becoming a spelling champ is just beginning!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do people commonly misspell 'unfortunately'?

It's usually because of its length and the mixing up of letters like 'n' and 't', or dropping the 'e' in 'ate'.

Is it ever correct to spell it without the 'e' as 'unfortunatly'?

Nope, 'unfortunatly' is always a misspelling. The correct form includes the 'e' – 'unfortunately'.

Can I use abbreviations for 'unfortunately' in informal writing?

Sure, in informal settings, abbreviations like 'unfort.' are often used, but for formal writing, stick to the full spelling.

Are there any similar words to 'unfortunately' that are often misspelled?

Yes, words like 'definitely' and 'separately' often face the same fate of being misspelled due to their length and letter mix.

How can I practice spelling 'unfortunately' correctly?

Breaking it into segments (un-fortune-ate-ly) and practicing writing it in sentences can help solidify the correct spelling in your memory.

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