Can You Pass a Country Name Spelling Test?

Mark Laugraben

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

English is an adaptive language, having (by some counts) no less than 1,000,000 separate words! But having that much flexibility comes at a price: spelling is a mess! Just when you think you've got a handle on some simple rules of thumb, English insists on throwing a curveball exception (or five!) at you. The fact is that the best way to learn the language is not through rule following, but by jumping into the deep end of the pool: full immersion! You need to read voraciously: books, newspapers, articles, blogs, anything you can get your hands on! By making reading a constant habit, you will gradually gain a mastery of English spelling and vocabulary, and picking up new words will become second nature to you. least, until this quiz! Because, you see, once you get into the spelling of words with distinct foreign origins, all bets are off. They need to be painstakingly learned on an a la carte basis, one at a time if one is ever to hope to become truly adroit. But that's no news to you; you're a person of the world, and these country names roll right off of your tongue onto the page, perfect and pristine. Right? Prove it! We've gathered here a vast array of place names, see if you can match your skill against some of the toughest spelling challenges around!

Which is the correct spelling?

The correct spelling is I-S-R-A-E-L. The word has (of course) a Semitic background, and the country is descended from one of the two original Jewish kingdoms, Israel and Judah, which were conquered long ago.

Which is spelled properly?

Nigeria is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, due to numerous reasons - it survived colonialism relatively intact, and it contains a functioning government and a strong supply of oil.

Which spelling is correct?

New Zealand is a small island nation that is a member of the British Commonwealth of nations. Formerly part of Australia, New Zealand now proudly stands alone and gained fame in recent years for being the place where they filmed the "Lord of the Rings" films.

Which is the proper spelling of this proud nation?

Thailand is the sole country in south-east Asia to resist colonization and therefore has an unbroken history of independence echoing down through the centuries. It also has elephants. Lots of elephants! And fantastic food. And gorgeous beaches.

Where did we spell this island nation correctly?

An independent island nation caught between the east and west, Cyprus is beholden to neither. It has a long history of being a locus of conflict between British, Greeks and Ottoman Turks, but today it stands proudly as a thriving tourist destination and a member of the British Commonwealth.

Which is the right way of spelling this south American nation?

Argentina is a South American nation taking up much of the east coast of that continent. It is an enormous country, ranking 8th in the world in size. Although it has struggled in the past, its current record of stability has contributed to it being a solid, growing economy.

Where is this troubled Middle East country spelled correctly below?

The smallest country in Asia, Lebanon's conflicts within itself and with its neighbors have caused it much sorrow. Despite the chaos it has faced, its economy has been consistently growing over time regarding GDP, and it has done well compared to many of its neighbors.

Where have we correctly spelled this mainstay of Europe?

Germany is the heart of continental Europe, standing the single most populous nation within the European Union. It also has the fourth largest economy in the world by GDP. In spite of this, it is actually a young nation, having only been united since the 19th century!

Which is the proper spelling here?

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. A constitutional republic, it nonetheless has struggled with crime and poverty. It is unusual in that the US Dollar is actually its official currency.

Which is correct?

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Balkan European country, with its capital at Sarajevo. Formerly a part of Soviet Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina have a high rate of literacy and economic development and has seen a significant increase in tourism in recent years.

Which State is spelled correctly?

The second largest country in the world, Canada is actually intensely urbanized - most of its population lives in its cities, and most of the cities are near the border with its southern neighbor, the United States.

Which spelling is right and proper?

San Marino is a European microstate and is completely enclosed on all sides by the country of Italy. Its constitution is written in Latin, and is actually quite ancient, making it the eldest founding document of a country in existence.

Which is right?

A landlocked nation bordering China, Nepal is located mostly in the Himalayas, and while they have a fairly diverse set of terrain they are most known for having no less than eight of the world's highest mountains, including the mighty Everest!

Which is the correct spelling?

Iran holds within its borders the cradle of civilization - ruins of some of the earliest known cities. It is a multilingual nation of many ethnic groups, although the largest group are Persians, who speak Farsi.

Which is spelled properly?

India is a vast country of mixed cultures and races, the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, and the largest (in population) democracy in the world. It has reached the 6th largest GDP and is only rising higher!

Which is correct?

The Netherlands is a country of great wealth and great tolerance. As befitting a country that harbored many dissident religious voices during the Protestant Reformation, the modern Netherlands was the first country on Earth to legalize same-sex marriage.

Which is the right one?

One of the most recent additions to the European community, Italy was actually only united near the end of the 19th century. Italy has the 3rd highest GDP in the Eurozone and is ranked very strongly in human development and health.

Which spelling is right?

The US encouraged Panama to secede from Columbia to arrange for the construction of the Panama Canal. Canal rents are still a major source of revenue for the country, although their prolific jungle is also becoming profitable via tourism and scientific interest.

Which spelling is proper?

Finland was first part of Sweden, and then part of Russia, before finally going its own way in 1917. It has been a democratic nation since its inception, although it has frequently found itself surrounded by autocracies of various sorts.

What is the correct way to spell this country?

In spite of having the largest known oil reserves in the world, Venezuela is a country in the midst of its greatest challenges. It is suffering severe shortages, including food and medicine, unemployment, and the general breakdown of social order since 2017.

Which is the right spelling of this African nation?

Sierra Leone, which is also called "Salone", is a small country in West Africa. Regrettably, they have been struggling under the burden of weak infrastructure and poverty, and notably the Ebola outbreak they faced in 2014.

Which is spelled correctly?

Located in West-Central Africa, Niger is unfortunately near the bottom of the human development index - second to last based on recent rankings. A combination of a high birth rate and desert terrain, lack of infrastructure and poor health care leads to a struggling population.

Which is the correct spelling for this country?

Switzerland, a small landlocked nation in Europe, is consistently rated one of the most wealthy and stable countries in the world. Switzerland is a center of international commerce due to its banking system, and also has a long history of Democratic governance.

Which is the correct spelling of this nation?

A tiny island nation off the coast of Malaysia, Singapore is nonetheless extremely wealthy and technologically savvy. Singapore is a former British colony, but today has its parliamentary system. Astonishingly, 90% of the homes on this small island are owner occupied!

Which is the correct way of spelling this land?

One of the most closed countries on Earth, North Korea has a dictatorial form of government under its homegrown Dynasty, the Kim family. It has few allies, and it is forbidden to enter or leave without express governmental permission.

Which is the correct spelling?

A former part of the Soviet Union, Georgia is engaged in a conflict with the heir to that country, the Russian Federation. In 2008, Russia conquered part of Georgia, and that area is still in dispute today.

Which nation is spelled correctly here?

One of the post-Soviet success stories, Slovakia today is a modern, urban economy with a great deal of political and press freedom. It is also the largest per-capita producer of cars in the world, with some 43% of their economic output focused on car production!

Which is the right way to spell this?

Oman, a Persian Gulf nation and Absolute Monarchy, has struggled with development but was recently credited as the most improved country economically. Its economy is more diverse than many of its neighbors, as it is involved in tourism and date production in addition to oil drilling.

Which is the proper one?

The only full democracy in the Middle East, Tunisia ranks well regarding human development thanks to its high press freedom, strong market economy, and trade ties to Europe, particularly Italy and France. It has an associate membership with the EU.

Which one is the correct spelling?

Although still struggling economically, landlocked Zambia has been improving greatly over recent years, due to a combination of increased liberalization and its first few consecutive democratic presidential transferals of power.

Which is the correct spelling of this state?

A socialist republic, China is the most populated nation on Earth. It has a population of 1.4 billion and is also one of the world's oldest civilizations. China currently faces an imbalance in its large population - males outnumber females, creating a demographic challenge unique in history.

Which is the correct spelling?

Kyrgyzstan is a former Soviet Republic that now enjoys parliamentary government but has still struggled under the weight of fractious ethnic conflict. The forty rays of its Sun flag represent the legendary forty clans that were united against their enemies, the Uighurs.

Which of these is right?

An island nation in the Caribbean, Jamaica is actually mostly inhabited by the descendants of African slaves, as its indigenous peoples were mostly lost to disease. A motivation to seek work abroad has led to significant Jamaican communities all over the western hemisphere.

How do you spell the country listed here?

A vast array of different ethnicities, cultures, and languages make up the Philippines, an island chain nation of nearly 100 million people. It has a history of being colonized both by Spain and the United States but was eventually liberated after WW2.

Which country is spelled correctly below?

Mongolia, famed for their nomadic culture, still retains a significant nomad population today. 30% of their population considers themselves nomadic or semi-nomadic. The great khan, Genghis, would surely smile to see that.

Which spelling is proper?

Tuvalu is situated far off in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, with a population of around 11,000. It's a member of the British Commonwealth, and its populace is mostly descended from Polynesian explorers.

Which one is correct?

Palau is an island republic near Micronesia and one that shares an unusual relationship with the United States. Although nominally independent, they are in what is called "Free Association" with the US, which means that the US provides for its national defense as well as other things.

Which is the right way of spelling this country?

A great power, Russia is the single largest country on Earth, covering as it does a full eighth of our inhabitable land. In spite of this, Russia's population is "only" 144 million, which still makes it in the top ten in terms of population.

Which is the correct spelling?

The name Paraguay comes both from its great river, which itself is named for hybridization of flowing water and a "feather crown." Paraguay is a South American nation of 6.7 million people.

Which name pair is right?

Antigua and Barbuda is the name for a collective island chain in the Caribbean sea where today 100,000 people live. A young nation, having only come into being in 1981, Barbuda is still recovering from the devastation wrought by hurricane Irma.

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