Spell Harassment — A Quick Spelling Guide

With all its grammar rules and exceptions, the English language makes it difficult to keep them all in mind while writing. As a result, the misspelled phenomenon has been prevalent for some specific words with silent letters or double consonants. Speaking of that, how do you spell harassment? Or is it harrassment?

Harassment Vs. Harrassment: Which Is Correct?

Harassment” with one “r” and double “s” is the correct and standardized spelling in the English Dictionary. It refers to any unwanted physical or verbal activity or even implied behavior that causes a person to feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or mentally upset.

Harrassment” is a misspelled word due to the confusion of doubling the consonants. This word is often misspelled is, of course, not the suffix part “-meant” but the double consonants in the root word “harass.” Whether or not to add an extra “r” or “s” is something almost everyone was confused about at some point.

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How to Spell Harassment

This is a 3 syllable word har-ASS-ment, with the stress on the second syllable, specifically in the United States.

The word is a combination of the base word “harass” and the suffix “-ment.” The rule to double the final consonants before adding a suffix doesn’t entirely apply to the term “harassment.” But it can help you remember the spelling.

Rule: In words with 2 or more syllables, only double the final consonant if the final syllable is stressed. Also, the word must end in 1 vowel and 1 consonant.

When you apply the rule in “harass,” the following points are checked:

  • The word has two syllables: har-ass.
  • The final syllable is stressed.

The only issue is with the word not ending in 1 vowel + 1 consonant. The base word “harass” already has a double consonant at the end, and it wouldn’t make sense to add another “s” before the suffix.

It is phonetically pronounced as [/ˈharəsm(ə)nt, həˈrasm(ə)nt/]. To specifically talk about American English, the word sounds like [hr·as·muhnt]. However, the British traditionally prefer the stress on the first syllable as in HAR-ass-ment.

Definition of Harassment With Examples

Harassment is a noun. It refers to the act of teasing or annoying someone by repeatedly attacking and criticizing them. Essentially, this is any unwanted repetitive behavior that causes distress and discomfort to someone.

  • Any act of harassment in the workplace should be reported immediately.
  • The school environment should be free from harassment by bullies.

To Wrap Up

Harassment is defined as someone abusing, insulting, or otherwise harming you on a regular basis. And there’s no such word as “harrassment” in the dictionary. So refrain from doubling the “r” in the word to avoid errors in your writing. If you happen to confuse the two ever again, remember to refer back to this article.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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