7 Great Writers and Thinkers Who Would be Penalised by Google

Just one small part of the Google algorithm affecting page ranking and authority is the spelling and grammar of the on-site content. In an attempt to value and reward websites which offer clear and simple use – Google could penalise websites riddled with typos and greengrocer’s apostrophes.

If your spelling and grammar game is not strong – there is no need to despair. There is a huge selection of tools and tricks which can help you create grammatically correct content (which I’ll cover later). Plus, some of history’s great writers couldn’t spell – so you don’t have to feel so bad about your shortcomings.

Here’s our list of seven great writers and thinkers who couldn’t spell so well.

Jane Austen

Hugely influential in the literary world and renowned for creating beautiful, controlled prose; it turns out that Austen was a pretty terrible speller. Relying heavily on the assistance of her editor to iron out the mistakes; Austen’s awful spelling and grammar came to light when Oxford University professor, Kathryn Sutherland, was given the chance to examine her manuscripts.

Winston Churchill

Best Englishman ever, Winston Churchill, was known as a hugely skilled orator – capable of inspiring a nation through a war with his carefully selected, rousing words. Despite this, Churchill was hardly a prodigious student with an early report card reading: “Writing is good, but terribly slow – spelling is about as bad as it well can be.”


Agatha Christie

The prolific crime and mystery writer, Christie, was more open about her struggles with spelling than other authors. She explained: “Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me… [I was] an extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so until this day.”

Despite this, she managed to get 66 novels published between 1920 and 1976 and a further 153 short stories. I don’t envy her editor.

Ernest Hemingway

Regularly listed amongst history’s greatest, most inspirational authors; Hemingway seemed to struggle with present participles – often forgetting to remove the ‘e’ before adding the ‘ing’. His manuscripts were often filled with examples of ‘loveing’ and ‘moveing’ for his editor to cross out.


Scott Fitzgerald

The original manuscript for Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is now famous for the hundreds of spelling mistakes which littered the pages. To this day, editors argue about some of his mistakes – some suggesting that he was merely inventing new words. Sounds like a great excuse.

Mark Twain’s Wife/Editor

Whilst many of the authors on this list have relied on their editors to spot and correct their erroneous spelling, Mark Twain revelled in the mistakes of his editor (who doubled as his wife). Olivia Clemens apparently struggled with her own spelling, but Twain would not trust anyone else with the editing tasks until her death in 1904.



Known for his seemingly infinite charm, extra-marital affairs and untimely death; Kennedy was exposed as a terrible speller by his wife. Jackie Kennedy moonlighted as an editor so poor spelling would have been a source of frustration to her – still seems slightly petty to undermine the president of the United States of America though.

Improve Your Spelling

So now you’re feeling a little bit better about your own spelling problems – check out our list of helpful spelling and grammar tools which will propel you to sub-editing greatness.

Online Spell Checker

If you are concerned your current content could get your site penalised, the Online Spell Checker can crawl your site and spot any mistakes. This is a great time-saving tool that simplifies a potentially difficult and time-consuming task. It also gives you the option to ignore certain words – meaning it won’t pull up your company and product names if they are not recognised by Susie Dent and Dictionary Corner.


Your own personal editor and spellchecker; Grammarly is capable of recognising more grammatical errors than almost all word processing tools. Completely free to install and use, the tool is ideal for adding a professional sheen to content.

Banc Media

Part of the SEO and content marketing package offered by Banc Media includes full website auditing service – with a spelling and grammar check as standard. The content team will trawl through your content ensuring it is all correctly spelled, grammatically tip-top and suitable for purpose.

For more information about the SEO and content marketing services provided by Banc Media, check out our homepage here, or call our dedicated team on 0345 459 0558.

Images sourced via Wikipedia Creative Commons and Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Hans Spliter