I hated English in school, and I don’t expect that my blog follows the rules of the AP Stylebook – like, ever. I have endless grammar quirks that I am positive make my journalist friends secretly despise me.

However, I have always been a fantastic speller. I’m convinced that spelling is something you’re born with or you’re not – my brain visualizes words as I think them, and I carefully store the correct spelling of every word away in a permanent file.

I specifically remember learning how to spell “dilemna” as a child. I remember pronouncing the “na” in my head every time I wrote it to remind myself that it possessed an m-silent-n instead of a double-m, which would have made much more sense. I still pronounce the “na” every time I write dilemna (just like when I write lbs., I hear it in my head as “labels.”)

It was a couple of years ago when I first realized that the correct spelling was actually was dilemma.

It was disturbing, but I assumed that it was just one of those words with dual correct spellings and moved on. I learned it dilemna and I preferred dilemna, but I could adapt to dilemma just as I had adapted to single spacing after a sentence.

However, without reason, it recently began gnawing at my soul. What happened to the dilemna as I knew it? Why wouldn’t my spellcheck acknowledge this alternate spelling that I purposefully learned as a child? My trick for spelling “delim-na” was as burned into my brain as mentally pronouncing “Wed-nes-day” and “Feb-are-you-airy.”

So I Googled it. “Dilemna or Dilemma?”

I was overjoyed to find a website devoted entirely to this predicament – dilemna.info.

It quickly informed me that I was one of tens of thousands (and maybe millions) of people with this same dilemma about dilemma. Then they completely shot down my first theory of why.

“It turns out Dilemna has NEVER EVER been spelled with an N… Worse yet, there’s not even a passing mention in any dictionary going back hundreds of years offering it as a possible alternative spelling.”


They continued on to explain that there’s really no good explanation for why we are all so convinced that it should be dilemna – most common misspellings take place because our brains want to spell them the way they sound, but why would our brains add in a silent n? And why would so many people’s brains do it over a vast range of ages?

There isn’t a reason.

Could thousands of teachers have taught us all an incorrect spelling that wasn’t cited in any dictionary or textbook, influencing literally every generation of people alive on this earth today?

Quite unlikely.

After thoroughly debunking any possible explanation for The Dilemna Anomaly, they presented what they said was the only theory that made sense: The Alternate Universe Theory.

“Alternate universe enthusiast Marden Paul of Toronto put forward a theory several years ago that Dilemna people had all somehow crossed over into this parallel ‘Dilemma’ spelling universe and that’s why they feel physically staggered to discover that not only are they wrong but there’s also no trace of an N spelling anywhere in any dictionary in the history of this new universe!”

“Perhaps this alternate universe transition explains why many do feel slightly ‘shaken‘ when they make this discovery.”

They continued on with an entire page devoted to explaining how I am actually from an alternate universe, where children are correctly taught that dilemna is dilemna.

I read it. I pondered it. I spent most of my time puzzling over how very inefficient it is to have alternate universes just for the varying spellings of one word. It’s like printing a second page just because Page One ran out of room for the period at the end of my final sentence.

I pondered longer.

And I did the next logical step.

I called my Mommy.

It went like this.


“Hi Mom! Spell ‘dilemma’.”

“What? You’re the speller of the family. And you have spellcheck.”

“That’s not the point. Spell it.”

“But you know I’ve never been a good speller.”



“Really? THAT’S what you’re going with?”

“Yes. Why?”

“I just needed to know if you came over with me from the Alternate Universe. Apparently you did not.”

My mother and I proceeded into a heartfelt and private exchange where I explained to her that I was not her true daughter, and apologized for any deception on my part, albeit completely without my knowledge.

Since I homeschooled, my mother must have taught me the dilem-na trick. However, my current-universe mother can’t spell dilemma right in this universe or my parallel, so it clearly wasn’t her that taught me the “NA” trick. Which means that when I did slip through the keyhole, I left my original mother behind.

I spent a quiet moment mourning the loss of Original Mother, and wondered if she could spell better than New Mother…

Which brought up the most puzzling question: what happened to the Dilemma-Universe-Rachel? Because New Mother certainly seems legit in her claim to me, and since the swap didn’t happen until after I learned to spell, we all would have realized something was amiss if everything else wasn’t identical. Did Other Rachel slip through the rift at the exact same time, into the Dilemna Universe? Is she now wondering why she desperately wants to write dilemma when everyone knows there’s a silent n? Is Old Mother constantly frustrated at Rachel’s inability to properly spell dilemna?

I feel bad for her. Because I know how it feels to be an alien.

140824c Observation

I’m now considering starting a support group. I feel that all of us Dilemna Universe Migrants should bond together so we have someone to talk to about The Old Country. Where ns were silent and ms didn’t gang up together to confuse. Where our mothers had tricks to help us learn to spell important words and didn’t brush us off to spellcheck. Where there was never a dilemna about the spelling of dilemna.

Late in the evening on the day I discovered my origins, Chris and I were sitting on the couch, cuddling and talking. I was afraid of his answer – afraid it would change everything – but I had to know. I couldn’t go on with the question burning the inside of my skull.

I tried to sound casual.

“Hey babe, how do you spell dilemma?”

“You mean ‘dilem-na’?”

I jumped into his arms and passionately hugged him , then squealed into his ear, “We’re from the same universe!!!!”

And that, most likely, is why I have always loved him so.

And now I must know. Which universe are you from? I’ll try not to let it alter our relationship.

293 thoughts on “The Dilemna Dilemma.

  1. I am apparently from the Double-M Universe, since I had no idea that anyone ever thought there was a different way of spelling “dilemma.”

      1. Dude! That’s always been my evidence, too! I specifically remember seeing it spelled Dilemna on that Nelly music video! I was crushed when I youtubed it and saw it as ‘Dilemma”. What if that’s where the dilemna dilemma originates haha.

        1. I grew up spelling the word delimna!!!! I too remember pronouncing it with the ‘n’ so I would never forget how to spell it. I was schooled in Washington DC and I was born in 1953. I am absolutely positive I was taught to spell it with the ‘n’

          1. Dee, I am 61. I also am from the “DILEMNA” universe. Of course,we are actually speaking of what has been dubbed “The Mandela Effect”. This phenomenon has profoundly affected my life. My wife and I no longer share all of the same memories.
            It started with a phone call in 2008. I called my wife that morning to ask her what she wanted me to get from the store. I called within one minute because I’d forgotten something. “Sorry to call again–” She cut me off with a playful, “Are you calling other women on the side?”
            She informed me that the SECOND call was the only one she received from me. From that point on I started stumbling across differences…”Dilemna” being but one of hundreds.
            It appears that the older one is, the more ME’s (Mandela Effects) that person is going to experience.
            Like Isaiah 11:6 no longer reads, “And the LION shall lie down with the lamb…” It now reads “And the WOLF shall lie down with the lamb.”
            However, I found RESIDUAL EVIDENCE that there was a rift. I knew that verse so well, having read it every year at Passover Seders in the Haggadah. An article in TIME MAGAZINE, April 20, 2016, an article titled “This Is The True Meaning Of Passover” by Rabbi David Wolpe…an extremely well respected Rabbi.In the article Rabbi Wolpe quotes Isaiah 11:6 as “And the LION shall lie down with the lamb.”
            THAT is Residual Evidence.It is still to be found out there…but some of it is vanishing.
            So, go to your bibles, whether Hebrew Tanakhs (like mine) Or Christian, makes no difference…or how old it is, or whether you underlined it or not. If you KNOW the verse, look it up: It NOW reads “And the WOLF shall lie down with the lamb.”
            That’s a thing that has shaken many people, some even out of their faith.
            For those who will try and use the “people are remembering incorrectly” argument…it is absurd. There is FAR too much evidence of something utterly fantastical going on.
            Just know, you are not alone!

    1. I have always spelled it dilemna and was educated in England in the 50s and later in South Africa. Only when I came to the US did I even see the spelling dilemma and assumed it was one of those British/American English doubles!

      Maybe it is the British teachers who passed on that spelling – although my husband is an Oxford man and we went to the same high school, and he has never heard of the dilemna spelling….! But there again we never had the same English language teachers.

      1. I have found that the usual British/American spelling differences were of the “OU” variety ( colour/color) and other different but not terribly difficult alternative spellings.
        DILEMNA, which is how this 59 year old man knew the word (the mention of age will be explained), as did my everyone I knew…that had a reasonable vocabulary, that is.
        The reason I mention my age is that it seems to be a truism that the older one is, the more “differences” one will bump up against!
        I know this is an old thread, but clearly we are speaking of the now increasingly known (and unsettling) Mandela Effect.
        I direct your attention to your (if you have one) family bible…specifically to ISAIAH chapter eleven, verse six; “And the LION shall lie down with the lamb.”
        This is a much beloved verse known throughout generations, by Jews and Christians.
        However, that much beloved line of scripture NO LONGER EXISTS—save for the memories of baby boomers for the most part.
        The verse NOW reads: “And the WOLF shall lie down with the lamb.”
        That’s every bible, old or new.. Even if you underlined what you KNEW to be “Lion and the lamb”:…what is now underlined is the “Wolf and the lamb.”
        I have found “residual evidence” (that which exists in articles, etc.) of the proof that, empirically, the verse was “And the Lion shall lie down with the lamb.”
        My theory is the CERN experiments and their plainly stated goal to open a “small” black hole on earth.
        The world has gone mad…but we must soldier on in this new/altered/ compressed reality.

        1. First of all, thank you Rachel for your dialogue. I could feel your experience.

          Thank you to the person from England who posted in June 2019.

          This is perfect for a sci-fi movie (which we all know will end up being reality if you live long enough).

          Today, I’m composing a text and it spell-checked me to dilemma. I’ve been spelling dilemna my entire 63 years (give or take). I had to disprove the spell-check. Through internet searching, I arrived here. Shocked and amazed.

          Are we meant to come together on this site and embrace our common origins? Our common futures? Will there be a D I L E M N A gathering to meet the mother ship? To be the Earth-saving source?

          This just made my day! I love it!!!!!!!

      2. Thank you! I clearly remember pronouncing the N in my head as a kid whenever I wrote the word. And just like you I remember my shock the first time I saw “dilemma” and looked it up.

    2. Apparently some very scholarly people thought dilemna was proper.

      In this Dilemna, as I was very pensive, I stept into the Cabin, and sat me down.
      (Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, 1719.)

      The nation saw themselves reduced to a ridiculous dilemna upon their testimony.
      (The History of England, by Oliver Goldsmith, Vol 3, 1771.)

      There was a famous ancient Instance of this Case, wherein a Dilemna was retorted.
      (Logick, by Isaac Watts, 1772.)

    3. it’s a strange word to want to nit-pick, but i was definitely taught the di-lem-na version. guess that’s why i’m here.

    1. I’d be curious to see which age groups remember ‘N’ and which remember ‘MM’. I’ll start – I’m 51 and definitely from the ‘N’ universe. I was just as shocked as most everyone here from the same universe that I have the wrong spelling and it never existed. I refuse to believe it never existed…


      Look at them…’MM’ looks wrong….to me anyway…..

          1. 35. From Colorado. MS graduate. Just learned today that I need to stop saying “na” in my head to spell the word because it is supposed to be a double mm !!

          2. I, too, remember dilemna SO CLEARLY. This is all so freaky. We are in this together, though, in whatever universe we came from and whatever universe we are all now in.

      1. Not everything you learn in school is accurate. There are bad teachers, and it’s posisble you had one or two. Do you remember which teacher taught you the spelling of the word and which grade you were in?

        1. So we, (those that recall being taught the Dilemna variant) all just happen to have had bad teachers who all had this specific quirk.. a quirk that replaced a phonetically correct MM with a weird MN in one specific word?
          And this just happened in a specific 30yr time window?

          I wonder how we might explain people from five continents who all experienced this? This must have been one busy group of Miscreant English Teachers on a global mission.

      2. I’m 71 and a jr high spelling bee contender. (Which, in 8th grade should have been a longer-lasting spelling bee. Leslie and I went back and forth & back and forth trying to become the winner. Finally “all right”, “alright” was thrown at me & the third grade spelling workbook kicked in. I said “alright”. “Wrong!” ) Today, “alright” is all you see. My teacher pulled out the dictionary to try to keep me in that spelling bee to no avail.

        Back to “dilemna”: Yep, spell check says it’s wrong. Carol Burnett has “A Little Help” Netflix series. Each problem the kiddo panel tries to help with is called a Dilemma. I sure thought that was misspelling. As Charlie Brown says, “Aaaaaargh!”

      3. I am 65 years old and I never questioned that there is (notice I say IS ) an “N” in dilemna. In fact, I do the same thing the writer does . I pronounce dilem-NA in my head as I’m writing it so as to spell it correctly. I was educated in upstate NY in the 1950s. Hmmm, this is crazy. No wonder I often feel out of place .

      4. To All here: Do you also remember it being Berentstein Bears not Berenstain Bears? There are many people who have this dilemna/dilemma too and become very upset to recall incidences like asking teachers if it was pronounced “Berenstine” or “Berensteen” or “Berenstain”… why would we have asked if it was always spelled Berenstain, as that sounds exactly like it is spelled??? Apparently there is a Mendella effect or a Berenstein Bears universe too.

        So the thing to research is how to dissect the word into its Greek or Latin roots and how the modern popular name -emma got into the word that many recall as -emna.

        One interesting idea is to find people with the name Emma who recall it ending in -emna. This would be very odd since it contains their name, so my guess is there should be virtually no people out there named Emma who also believe it is spelled with -emna if it was NEVER actually spelled with a -emna.

        One similar theory is not multiple universe exactly, but that experiments like CERN or others with time travel or changes in timelines are actually being done to change small things like these to see the impact on society and that not everyone simply accepts the “successful changes” or revisionist history/ new timeline because they have their own specific and strong personal and non-digitally influenced memories (like not part of photos or video) that do not depend on/easily change with spell check or other things in the digital universe. As people rely on technology more and more, they readily accept the info it presents and the closer we all come to being like “1984” where we collectively cannot recall significant things like who our nation’s enemies/allies are… as the people in control of the info manipulate the narrative and laugh…

        1. In going with “1984” Orwellian Conspiracy, Rather than Mandela Effect, or Parallel Universe theory; because I have examples of this word being used in old texts.
          Apparently some very scholarly people thought dilemna was proper.

          In this Dilemna, as I was very pensive, I stept into the Cabin, and sat me down.

          Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, 1719.

          The nation saw themselves reduced to a ridiculous dilemna upon their testimony.

          The History of England, by Oliver Goldsmith, Vol 3, 1771.

          There was a famous ancient Instance of this Case, wherein a Dilemna was retorted.

          Logick, by Isaac Watts, 1772.

        2. I’m going with “1984” Orwellian Conspiracy, Rather than Mandela Effect, or Parallel Universe theory; because I have examples of this word being used in old texts.
          Apparently, very scholarly people thought dilemna was proper.

          In this Dilemna, as I was very pensive, I stept into the Cabin, and sat me down.
          —Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, 1719.

          The nation saw themselves reduced to a ridiculous dilemna upon their testimony.
          —The History of England, by Oliver Goldsmith, Vol 3, 1771.

          There was a famous ancient Instance of this Case, wherein a Dilemna was retorted.
          —Logick, by Isaac Watts, 1772.

        3. The nation saw themselves reduced to a ridiculous dilemna upon their testimony.
          —The History of England, by Oliver Goldsmith, Vol 3, 1771.

          I’m going with “1984” Orwellian Conspiracy, Rather than Mandela Effect, or Parallel Universe theory; because I have examples of this word being used in old texts.
          Apparently, very scholarly people thought dilemna was the proper spelling.

          There was a famous ancient Instance of this Case, wherein a Dilemna was retorted.
          —Logick, by Isaac Watts, 1772

          In this Dilemna, as I was very pensive, I stept into the Cabin, and sat me down.
          —Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, 1719.

      5. I learned to spell it mn also, silently saying na sound that wasn’t there! I’m 57. My husband, 59 learned it mm, different school, same small Midwestern town. Spelling was one the few subjects in which I truely excelled! I’m shattered!

      6. Born 9/06/71, I was definitely taught to spell dilemna as dilemna, lol. I’ve always sounded out the N in my head while spelling the word. I grew up in the US Bible Belt.

      7. Born September 2004, I’m utterly confused. Considering the vast majority of commenters on this post are over the age of 30, yet I am only 15….

        If it makes any difference, I’m also Aussie!

        Would love some clarity on this ‘dilemna’.

      8. I’m 13 – I remember learning it with an n when I was younger. But my English teacher was spelling it dilemma, so I came to check. However I think I have been taught both over the years. Both seem right to me, although the more I stare at them the weirder they will seem.

      9. I’m 45 (as of 2020). I was taught “dilemNa” spelling in third or fourth grade. I distinctly remember how it was THOROUGHLY drilled into our heads. I vividly remember seeing a slide presentation spelling test question, to which the correct answer was “Dilemna”.

  2. Hmm…I’m befuddled. When I read your title, I didn’t even slightly balk at the spelling that used the “n.” The double “m” looked totally wrong. As I read on, I couldn’t recall ever having to spell the word (I’m avoiding it now). I’m a visual learner and typically can just see the right spelling in my mind as if printed on a page that I’ve read. I can’t seem to do that with this one. The “n” seems pointless but looks more right than the double “m.” I think I’ll have to ponder this in fetal position for the next hour or two. :(

    1. Right ON! See you there!!! It has NEVER been a ”Dilemma”’ for ME, because it ALWAYs WAS ‘D i l e m Na!!!! Of course, I was hit by a car without headlights on when returning from my PT job when I was 15, on Nov. 2nd, 1968, so to quote from a Movie (which I NOW realize was made for MY benefit!!) The spelling was changed — ”'”While You Were SLEEPiNG””’!!!!! [Of course, it is quite possible that I ALSO am from that ”ALTERNATE UNIVERSE”!!! [Which WOULD explain an AWFUL LOT!!!!!] {Which, of Course, leaves ME in a Terrible DilemNa!!! [[[BUT the BIBLE tells me to ‘PRAiSE the LORD in ALL THiNGS!!!”’


      THANK YOU, JESUS!!! PLEASE show us the TRUTH, since YOU Are ”’The WAY, The TRUTH, And The LIFE, and No one Comes To The FATHER, BUT BY YOU!!”’ [John 14:6]

      1. I see you quote the Bible.

        If something could change dictionaries while you were sleeping, whatever-it-was could also change any book — including the Bible.

        Just for starters, look up Isaiah 11:6 and tell me if it’s first few words are _exactly_ as you remember them. Then check every other verse you can remember. (To help with this,you can use biblegateway.com — it’s like “Google for the Bible” — or even use actual Google and compare it with every actual printed Bible you can get your hands on.)

        And — what will you do, if (or when) you blow the dust offf the Bible on your shelf and you find that any part of the printed Bible doesn’t match your memories about the Bible? Will you go by the actual printed Bible, or by the bits you remember? Where they differ, will you change your memories — or the hard-copy evidence?

        1. Isaiah 11:6 does NOT begin as I remember it! I even had a T-shirt in high school with this scripture on it and a picture of a lion & a lamb together.

        2. 37 and I remember it as dilemna. Nobody in my family remembers it being spelled that way. I have always been a great speller.

  3. I am absolutely from the dilemna universe. (My Chrome spell check has that word underlined.) I always say it dilem-na in my head, and sometimes even out loud. I remember being shocked the first time spell check told me I was wrong because I also have been a life-long good speller. I think you should do one of your scientific polls about how people spell that word. I will post one on my Facebook also and let you know my data!

  4. Between the spelling kerfuffle and that single-space-after-a-period remark, my brain is officially on overload. I’m going back to bed.

  5. I’m from the double-m universe. But I agree that the word looks wrong when it’s spelled that way. But really, neither way looks right. The word is indeed what it calls itself to be.

  6. Oh dear Lord… A silent N in dilemma? No.

    No. No. No.

    I’ve never even seen it spelled that way… how is it possible, when we grew up at the same time in the same geographical region and under the SAME SCHOOL UMBRELLA?

    It’s like I don’t even know you.

  7. I’ve never heard of, seen or considered “dilemma” being spelled with an “n” being IN OR ADJACENT TO IT. The fact this is even being presented as a hypothesis is everything that’s wrong with the Internet.


    This is on par with the time I wrote about the word “wheelbarrow” and found out that half of my blog readers think the word is WHEELBARREL OMG.

  8. I have never ever heard of “dilemna”. I have always spelled it “dilemma.” I wonder if it’s a regional quirk?

    I will continue to resist the single spacing after a sentence!

  9. I don’t think I have ever had to spell it but you are right dilemma looks wrong. If you were to ask me which way was write before I read your blog I would probably have chosen the silent N way . So I guess I am from the same universe.

  10. Never heard that one, but I remember the (sad) day that I discovered that attach no longer has a 3rd t — rhymes with match, right? And there are a LOT of people pushing wheel barrels around!!

        1. Interesting how each contested word is being SIMPLIFIED…not unlike it’s champions. “Dilemna” SHOULD be the smoking gun; no one would recall a word adding an odd “n” between “m” and “a”…it’s just doesn’t track. And legions of people making the same, VERY ODD, mistake? It strains credulity to the breaking point.
          Just because you and people like you do not want to believe we live in a world where there is sudden and inexplicable impermanence (seemingly of a supernatural origin in this case) does not mean it is not occurring on a regular basis— it IS.

  11. As I was reading the start of this, I nodded along about being a Spelling Person. I thought, “Dilemna? I don’t think that’s right. But…it’s not like I ever have a reason to write it. So. Maybe it is…?”

    As soon as you spelled it dilemma, I felt relief! Whew! I had it. I guess I’m from this universe…!

    (I pronounce lbs as labs in my head. Also I think I have commented on my lbs brain pronunciation before on this blog. Otherwise, I’m having major déjà vu.)

      1. Came here searching for information about dilem(m/n)a.

        Whew, it’s not just me!
        (I pronounce ‘lbs.’ as ‘ell bees’ in my head, and ‘tsp.’ is ’tisp,’ even though it is already a perfectly reasonable abbreviation for ‘teaspoon.’)

        I am from the ‘dilemna’ parallel universe, for what it’s worth, and I still feel very uncomfortable about this whole ‘dilemma’ situation. I’m one of those people with the kind of visual/linguistic brain that sees the spelling in her mind’s eye as soon as thinking of the word. Spelling is important to me, and I’m a good speller, and it’s always been ‘dilemna.’ I never thought much of the silent ‘n,’ because it looked akin to words like ‘damn,’ ‘hymn,’ ‘limn,’ ‘column,’ ‘autumn,’ and ‘condemn.’

  12. I cannot recall ever spelling that word but it looks right with an N. I am going to go with N though because Punky Brewster always said ‘dilemons’. Where would she have pulled the N sound from?
    I do not understand single spacing. It feels wrong.

  13. I don’t have strong feelings either way about “dilem(n)ma”. Perhaps I time hop between universes? However, the oxford comma is worth shedding blood over. I will have an oxford comma on my tombstone one day.

  14. Hi Rachel,
    I have just recently started reading your blogs (started with jeans articles on Pinterest). I feel like you are a kindred spirit. I thought it was dilemna too. I am a slow reader because my eyes linger over every word as if they are all fruit tarts under glass. Also, I was completely blown away by the one-space-after-sentence revelation. Wow. Just wow. I thought 2 spaces was a universal law, like the rule about covering food to cook in the microwave with saran wrap. It keeps the sentences apart, so they don’t spill onto eachother and make a mess. Hmm … I guess I will have to change.

    1. I too am a Dilemna person(and it is underlined here!). I went to one of those Progressive 1970s elementary school in PG County MD, well at least I thought I did before I read this article! haha! Single spacing gave me the Blues too, but, I am now taking an APA writing class (for my 2nd BS)and GUESS WHAT? They still use Double Spacing for Academic writing! YAY!

  15. I wonder if it is/ was a regional thing. I was also taught dilem-na (in La) (as well as alot, which now makes me recoil in horror.) Dilemna, on the otherhand, will always have an ‘n’ in my heart, even if spell check disagrees.

  16. Girl!! Dilemna is the CORRECT spelling and I don’t care who about that little red line that is currently residing under the word. I was raised with dilem na. We change spelling to make it easier.. really? Why would we do that. I think it’s a conspiracy of the non-spellers.
    PS — I am all in on the support group..

      1. Historical usage seems to make it correct. A large number of people were taught to mentally pronounce the silent n as a mnemonic for spelling tests.

        The nation saw themselves reduced to a ridiculous dilemna upon their testimony.
        —The History of England, by Oliver Goldsmith, Vol 3, 1771.

    1. Not a southerner – from Scotland – always spelled this word with an “n” – ridiculous to hear it spelled with double m – I thought that it may American spelling but that the U.K. spelling was with an “n” – aged 56

  17. Dilemma all the way. I had no idea there were people who spelled it (and said it, evidently) a different way. But I love you anyway! lol

  18. holy cow!
    I had this discussion with my husband a couple months ago
    I could’ve SWORN that delimna had an “n” in it, he is a horrible speller so he had no clue, and I looked it up and felt dumb because I couldn’t find a single place that agreed with my spelling.
    Where did this come from? How are so many of us fooled? Why do I feel SO convinced that it should have an “n”?

    1. Yes so correct I’m in the same boat with my wife. Don’t know how it took so long for me to find this dilemna.

  19. Double-M, I almost don’t want to admit it now because I want to belong to an alternate universe club or gang? I guess depending on how intense you see the group as a whole. I am also a horrible speller, so send me my rejection letter through text…less personal way to let me down easy.

    1. P.S. I have a graphic hanging in my office that says: “I’m fairly certain that the person who put the first r in February also decided how to spell Wednesday.” This is truly how I feel about the English language in general…bitter.

      1. Referring to the day of the week, why don’t they just spell it like Everyone says it……..””’WENDsDay””’ or ””’WENZDay””’ {Of course, that MAY be interpreted as ANTi Work Ethic — “KEEP your ZZZ’s at the END of the WEEK!!!”’

  20. I wonder if it’s a typography thing – the m’s running together making it hard to distinguish between mm an mn? Because as I’ve been trying to look it up, there have been a number of times when I thought I found an “mn” dictionary entry only to find on closer examination it had shifted to “mm”.

    (I also thought it was dilemna)

  21. This reminds me of a conversation I had the other day with a lady at work. She says sherbet and I corrected her with sherbert. She googled it and assured me sherbert does not have an ‘r’. What?!

    As far as the dilemma/dilemna debate. I’ve always spelled it dilemma.

    1. I thought it was sherbert until I was 30 and I heard a radio segment about it. I still cannot say it without the extra R. Even if I try to mentally coach myself into it, it still comes out ‘sherbert’.

      1. I pronounce the word as sherbert, although i knew it was spelled sherbet. Does that say anything about the proper pronunciation?

        1. COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It has ALWAYS been “SHERBERT” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The ICE CREAM manufacturers Never could SPELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [“There’s No place like HOME! There’s NO place like HOME!”] {Has anyone seen Toto???}
          I guess I’m stuck here! I either misplaced my return pass, or I was sent here on a “One Way” Ticket!!! Those “FISH POOPs” — I think here they are called “BASS TURDs”

          1. Might be thinking of SORBET. I hadn’t heard of that until a few years ago, though, and don’t know what the diff is.

  22. I would have bet the life of my first-born child that it was spelled “delimna”. Not really, but you get the picture. And I, too, have always been a fantastic speller. This has totally rocked my world!

  23. I’m only commenting to let you know I’m clasping my hands to my face, home alone style, and shaking my head in disbelief. At you and your commenters. An N????????? I feel like this is an elaborate internet ruse, and you guys are all hanging out and laughing at us for buying it.

    Are you?

    Are YOU?

    1. No, not a ruse. I went on a mission to spellcheck DILEMNA, only to find dilemma..I am considering rejecting the double m. What makes them the arbitors of this dilemna?

  24. Loving the alternate universe theory – however this is a “proud to be greek” and having a masters in classic studies moment for me: you know the correct spelling because you know where the word came from

  25. Ok. So it doesn’t look right with m’s. But I learned to spell it that way. The other way doesn’t look right either. Go figure. Oh! . And my brain will not let me single space after a sentence. No way. No how.

  26. Apparently I am from a 3rd universe where we didn’t ever learn to spell dilem(na)(ma) because I have an eidetic memory and I can’t ever remember learning to spell it. They both look right, although I must say, I’m leaning towards (na) if I had to choose to write it out.

  27. Well, now I’ve looked at the word so many times that it looks weird either way. And I honestly don’t know – I’m a good speller too but both ways look right. I say we petition for alternate spellings.

  28. I’m with you on Dilemna. The double M just looks odd. I may have to ask my mom this question too. Although, who knows who taught me how to spell that word…

  29. Mike from dilemna..info – which has now had 83000 genuine visitors… many of whom are totally gobsmacked. That’s actually the equally strange thing, why so many are physically shaken on discovery of the ‘true’ spelling.
    I have no idea what the explanation is – all the rational ones are full of holes when you think about them for a while.
    Being fascinated by particle physics I like the idea of tying the two things together even if it’s a huge stretch of credibility! But if you think there’s positively no connection, try watching the nice little video link on the site about wave/particle duality… science fact.

      1. OMG..I LOVE YOU Rachel CALLAHAN AND MIKE for writing this and for your thoughts. And you Rachel also for…, your detailed account of your experience and all the posts here. I am with you totally on every or almost every word ( was like reading my own thoughts and reactions)..My mind was so blown that in THIS year almost exactly three years later i only just saw the different spelling where i have spelled it with “n” all my life and spelling was one of my most natural and best subjects too…Like you i sounded out words to remember how to spell them and never forgot that. I was using dilemna with an “n” up to TODAY…and have not seen it corrected UNTIL today. So i just got in this universe later than the rest of you. Smile…Or…??? What?? What explains this? Also i was writing a whole essay on a dilemna I am now experiencing and I have that dilemna after a days long study of dimensions and changes in reality……and quantum particles and realities and yes…parallel universes. ..but not to jump to conclusions…just to say it is fascinating the timing in coming across . And after years of study of quantum mechanics, particle realities and related…there is so much we do not know that is how reality happens and science is slowly revealing what is unbelievable IS true. I also have to wonder if there is ALSO some intervention to just drive people crazy with this particular spelling issue (and other things) …that people will question their own memory and sanity (which i did until saw your and other similar quotes in qoogle about dilemna being a real and true spelling at one time) …This may explain so many other issues people debate and can’t agree on when the evidence is missing and yet should be there. Thank you for this post …i love it and i would love to know you…so maybe some day we will meet. Do you have a link to Mikes referral to that web site?…

        1. OOPS.. I see a couple of typos in mine: spelled google with a “q”..lol…and doesn’t look good after my claim to being a good speller. But i do know the difference and don’t always catch typos..(smile). And left a whole word out here:… just to say it is fascinating the timing in coming across THIS (“THIS” is the word forgot to type in). Hope there’s no more typos ..but if so , is just that i am in a hurry to get back to what i am writing about before i forget what it is…smile.

  30. What bothers me most about this whole post was when I read, “but I could adapt to dilemma just as I had adapted to single spacing after a sentence.”

    People single space after a sentence?!?!?!?! Where I have I been? That’s my dilemna, I mean dilemma. Let me deal with that first and I’ll get back to you on the spelling of dilemna/dilemma.

    1. If you type a sentence in your phone, and DON’T type the period, you can hit the space bar twice, which will make a period and a space, and the keyboard will automatically shift to caps to begin a new sentence.

      Try it, it’s easy. :)

  31. I am with you on the correct spelling being dilemna. I can’t believe the internet says that never was an accepted way of spelling it! Mind is blown.

  32. As I was reading your post, I was thinking, “Surely I haven’t been misspelling the word ‘dilemma’ my whole life.” I have never seen it spelled with an n! My theory is that the brain doesn’t like the way the two m’s look together. I have always been a good speller, too, yet I often second-guess myself with double consonants.

  33. Oh how this post made me Laugh!! I love it! I’m from your universe too! Tho, now it makes me wonder if it’s a homeschool thing…

  34. I’m from the dilemNa universe. This subject came up out of the blue this morning on a FB page for sci-fi writers…interestingly, we are in the middle of compiling an anthology of stories about aliens, and I’m writing a novella on time travel and alternate parallel universes, so…plenty of peculiar parallels here!

    I am one of the good, natural spellers, so I was also shocked to learn it wasn’t dilemna, and had never been dilemna. Although Wiki says this: “The errant spelling dilemna is often seen in common usage. It appears to have been taught in many areas of the United States and all over the world, including (but not limited to) France, England, Jamaica and Australia. There is no prima facie reason for this substitution error and there is no erroneous parallel to be found with the word lemma, from which dilemma derives.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilemma

    I think I first noticed this oddity of my spelling memory when I learned the Gilbert & Sullivan song “A Nice Dilemma” during law school. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSeBXaaO3qg

    I have to go lie down now.

    1. And from what everything else on line says…maybe this is evidence that WIKI is our best source of truth…judging from the lack of info about the spelling that we would not even know of from other so called reliable sources if it weren’t for Wiki and this and similar personal posts.

  35. I came across your blog while searching for something else in the same sort of realm, I guess you could say.

    Have you heard or read about the whole Berenstein/Berenstain Bears debacle? I am from the universe where we spelled the book about the Bears with an E. Apparently now it is spelled with an A. My mind is totally blown over this!

    Would love to know your thoughts about it.

    Oh and my mom spelled dilemma with the N. What is going on?!

    1. Since when is it Berenstain? I am 14 now, and when I was say around 5 or 6, I do not remember the exact time, those were some of my favorite books/TV show, and i distinctly remember Berenstein. Now that is wrong too? Could this be the same alternate reality?

    2. Although most people were introduced to the Berenstain bears before they could read—parents read the books to their children. And the name Berenstain is spelled in cursive, and cursive lower case “a” is close in appearance to cursive lower-case “e.”

      1. I looked up a book cover. It easily looks like an “a” to me. When I read these books to my children, maybe thirteen years ago, I always wondered if I should be using the long E or long I pronunciation for the “ei” spelling. I went back & forth and even explained to my children why! There is no way I’m mis-remembering this one. I’m seriously dumbfounded.

  36. I’m in shock, I searched for dilemna cause I just knew the autocorrect kept getting it wrong. I like your alternate universe story

  37. I also am one of those that have won almost every spelling bee in which I’ve been involved. I am from the Midwest and fairly intelligent. I know that I was taught dilemna was the correct spelling .this site is even correcting my spelling here. I would have bet anything that it was spelled that way in every dictionary, because of not wanting to be wrong, I usually looked up words with unusual spelling. ARE YOU REALLY TELLING ME THAT NOT ONE DICTIONARY EVER SPELLED IT DILEMNA ? I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT !!! alternate universe— DEFINATELY . BY THE WAY definitely can be spelled either way with “I” or “a” .

    1. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary on my phone, “definately” is definitely wrong. ;) But other than that, I’m right there with you. And seriously, who messed with my Berenstein Bears??? Apparently I’m from the dilemna, Berenstein Bears (written by Stan & Jan Berenstein), two spaces after a period, and Oxford commas alternate universe!!

    2. RE:

      Yes — and even if nobody was telling you that, the dictionaries would speak for themselves.

    3. Re:
      “. BY THE WAY definitely can be spelled either way with ‘I’ or ‘a’.”

      No dictionary ever spelled it “definately” — just as no dictionary ever spelled the related words (“definite/finite/finish”) as “definate/finate/finash.”

  38. I have definitely crossed over. Although I have no clue where i learned the “incorrect” spelling, I know that was a word I learned at a very young age (Im 14 now). After typing or writing dilemna on countless essays and worksheets, mainly for English, I typed it around a month ago to find the red squiggly line, and immediately felt completely disoriented. Ironically, many people that i am very close to, including family and close friends, have acted significantly different ever since my realization. Is it possible that I really do not know the people I am closest to? This whole thing, even over a month later, is disorienting every time I try to spell the word correctly. Although they doubt my sanity, my family fails to realize the similarity to other words like this, such as column or hymn, which follow the same pattern, and instead laugh off my “wrong spelling” of the word, even though I have always been the best speller in the house. I need sleep. Lots of sleep. If this really is an alternate universe, what other changes could there be that have simply not arisen yet in this world? What if some of these impact lives far more than the dilemna dilemna? *drops microphone and walks offstage*

    1. The claimed similarity to COLUMN and HYMN is false.

      COLUMN and HYMN derive from Greek words spelled with letters equivalent to MN, but DILEMMA derives instead from a Greek word spelled with letters equivalent to MM.

  39. I want to shed this light on the spelling of dilemma vs dilemna as I wish I could comment one way or another as to how I was taught to spell it. I seem to remember it as Dilemma in the early 80’s but I can’t recall. Many people want to think that all these years they were taught wrong. I disagree. I remember back in 1998 I was writing a thesis and used this word and looked it up in my dictionary from 1920 and it was used with the dilemna spelling but now the same dictionary says dilemma. At first I thought I was nuts… but I have a different theory, around 2000 to 2002 something happened that made the following changes and some people only remember one of both ways while some question the other way, while some may understand both ways. It’s not an open or closed argument!

    Here are the changes I have noted since the years 2000-2002: Dilemna became Dilemma and Berenstein bears became the Berenstain bears.

    My theory is this. In the end, Satan and the Antichrist will change the signs and the times. (I think the times may refer to the established order of things, at first it will be subtle like these two instances but in the end it will become more prominent).

    The power of the spiritual world is at work and these are two examples of a change. Some will laugh at this theory and some will say others are stupid for what they know to be right in their hearts and minds. The reality is both are right because a power is at work that you cannot simply comprehend that can change any book ever written and make a change to it in an instance.

    This is not a parallel universe as some may think and espouse but the extent of deeper spiritual forces and powers at work.

    Because of these two things, it is clear to me that Jesus is real and the truth the way and the light of the world. We are nearing the final days of Biblical Prophecy!

    1. So … if ” a power is at work that you cannot simply comprehend that can change any book ever written and make a change to it in an instan[t],” that power can also instantly change the Bible.

      Have you checked the entire Bible, cover to cover, to see if the parts of the Bible that you remember are _exactly_ the same as you remember them?

      Suppose your memory of the Bible differs, in one or more verses/chapters/books, from the Bible that stands on your shelf or on anybody’s shelf … what will you do then?

    2. My theory is this:

      Around 2000-2002, for a reason I’ll give below, people started noticing spellings more — paying more attention to what was actually written (to the specific letters and words actually in front of their eyes) than they paid to their own feelings and memories. This caused them to notice that what was out there, before their eyes — -and had been there all along — really DIDN’T fit their humanly vague, emotion-influenced, and slightly fallible memories of how various words looked.

      As to what, precisely, MADE that happen — and made it happen just then, and not earlier, for most people — well, 2000-2002 is when A LOT of people started spending A LOT more time on the Internet and with computers generally … therefore, reading a lot more (and reading A LOT more things from different sources), and seeing A LOT more misspellings corrected.

      1. Definitely this. And spellcheck. They guy who says he saw it in a 1920 dictionary undoubtedly misread the dictionary or misremembered events.

        Or nothing in reality is fixed and you could jump off a skyscraper and fly.

        I know which version of reality makes more sense, at least.

    3. Re:
      “. In the end, Satan and the Antichrist will change the signs and the times”

      If so, then they could also change the Bible, while they were at it.

      HAVE they changed the Bible? How would you know? Are ALL the Scriptures you remember EXACTLY as you remember them? And how would you find (and prove) that any changes were made in those that you DON’T rem mber?

  40. I was taught dilemna. Period. No alternative universe. This one. Here’s what Wiki has to say on the matter… The errant spelling dilemna is often seen in common usage. It appears to have been taught in many areas of the United States and all over the world, including (but not limited to) France, England, Jamaica and Australia.[1][2][3] There is no prima facie reason for this substitution error and there is no erroneous parallel to be found with the word lemma, from which dilemma derives.

  41. I am 31 years old and work full time where I take care of really sick people. I just got married and am hoping to have kids soon. I was writing an article where my friend pointed out that i had mispelled dilemna. “Do you have a dilem-NA?” she jeered. I didnt believe her. Microsoft Word didn’t even highlight it red! I began a very personal and intense journey and have started to question everything. My marriage, my career choices. If, I got dilemma wrong, what else did I mess up?

    1. Microsoft Word is well known not only for having a dictionary that falls well short of Oxford English Dictionary, but also many pieces of software (such as your phone’s) will add your misspellings to the internal dictionary if you use that incorrect spelling often enough.

  42. Got a real laugh out of your spelling dilemna! I found you by Googling (this is a real word now, right?) the right spelling because Microsoft word highlighted my correct spelling D-I-L-E-M-N-A as wrong! Some of the responses you received have been equally as funny to read. I’m certain I’m going to be asking friends and family how they spell it starting as soon as my husband gets home from work this evening. Thank you for the entertaining read!

  43. Here is another dilemna:

    Interview with A Vampire, or Interview with THE Vampire?

    Another: Berenstain Bears or BerenSTEIN Bears?

    oh and… Sex IN the City or Sex AND the City?

  44. I fancy myself a good speller, but today I lost a bet regarding how dilemma is spelled. I bet the farm – and lost. I was certain it was dilemna….

  45. It’s alright, fellow travelers, I am also from the alternate universe. The universe of Berenstein Bears, dilemnas, and there are two spaces after a period.

  46. Well, I’m Latvian, and my language doesn’t use silent letters whatsoever. Thus, it would be physically impossible to spell anything, in this case “dilemma” with a silent “n” in my language. So…it’s either some weird mistake, or Latvian as I know it, doesn’t exist in your universe.

  47. Going back to the Oxford dictionary of 1551 we can find the spelling dilemna. The word contains an esoteric construct based on the mathematical formulation of the english alphabet. This formulation borrows from Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The soft drink brand 7up pays homage to the esoteric formula. The esoteric construct also adds to the meaning of the brands Camel and Apple. The Beatles were well aware of the construct of and chose well for their label name. I’m sure Steve and Steve from Apple computer chose their brand after this concept. BTW – the code is “the a-p pole. The a-p pole shortens into apple. And there’s much more. Understanding the a-p pole and 7up offers great insight as to the nature of the original spelling in old english. Dilemna. The letters mn are very significant. They contain a very specific meaning. The letters d and l are signifiers. offering the descriptive aspect of the state of mn.. Just as the letter o offers great significance when placed before mn in the word omni etc. Signifying letters make the english alphabet a fascinating descriptive device……..

  48. I must be from the alternate universe. I’ve spelled it this way my entire life. I went to both public and private school at various times in my childhood. I would swear I was taught in school to spell it with an N.

  49. Hi Rachel.
    Your blog is medicine – I’m still wiping away the tears.

    Well sorry to complicate the universii issue, but there are more than two.
    I came on Google looking for weather dillemma or or dilemma was correct.
    So if there are MM, MN and a LL universii, there may be more.

    Also I’ve committed home schooling – my eldest daughter. (Luckily she was a ‘born’ speller).
    So I’m twice wrong LL, home schooling, no wait, make that thrice wrong – I married an architect!

    On a less ironic note – thanks for the spelling visualisation tip – I’ve still been stuck with 1970’s Australian primary school sounding-it-out. Not so effective for a student teacher in my 50’s

  50. sorry guys, don’t know how it got to be the way it NOW is, but i’m an 80’s child, and i know for a fact that here in the UK, dilemna was ALWAYS spelled dilemna.
    The interview was with A vampire (can remember the movie release poster)
    and that girly TV show that used to be on was DEFINITELY “sex IN the city”.
    What i want to know is when did we shift, and how many of us did? and where the hell did we shift to?

  51. Rachael (smileyface): I honestly don’t want to spoil any options. Whatever Universe you guys are from, I loved reading on this webpage. Humor is the last reward, then god asks why you were laughing.
    And seriously, when writer’s block presents you with a lemna… propose natural sweeteners.

  52. You are experiencing the Mandela Effect, look it up, its parallel time lines merging.. here are some other examples
    Chartreuse / puce have swapped colors

    1. The color “puce” was named “puce” because reddish-purple is the color of a blood-gorged flea (“puce” is French for “flea”).
      So, how would “puce” anywhere get to stand for greenish-yellow (chartreuse)? Did fleas, or blood, have a different color wherever you remember growing up?

  53. I was shocked to discover an entire planet of people not only misspelled the word dilemna, they even had the audacity to suggest the correct spelling has never even been brought to their attention. Right now there is a red line under the word dilemna and it’s doing my head in. I check the spelling of the word every time I use it in case I may have slipped back into the dilemna universe the same way I slipped out of it. I asked my father, a well-educated lawyer, how the word is spelled and was shocked at his answer. I thought I knew the man.

  54. Thank you for that educational and hilarious post!

    I am from that alternate universe, and I needed someone to take me by the hand to help me accept the no ‘N’ universe. How disappointing! But how nice to know the truth. My favorite Scripture is “People perish because they refuse to love the Truth”. And oh how difficult the truth can be when you have accepted a lie for decades. Now I just have to get used to this truth I don’t like. Maybe I will eventually love it … and not perish!

    You’re awesome.

    1. Re:
      “My favorite Scripture is ‘People perish because they refuse to love the Truth”

      You must mean 2 Thessalonians 2:10 — ” …. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” Since it’s your favorite scripture, why do you slightly misquote it?

      The way you quoted it _is_ _not_ in the Bible.
      Or do you feel that the Bible has changed, too?

  55. Dilemna is correct for some of us – me included. We do shift realities or timelines, as I think of it. I have never seen or felt anything to clue me in that a timeline shift is happening but the evidence, afterwords, is overwhelming. One week I was googling for a new glass pot for my Expresso maker and then, one day, Google started correcting me and asking if I meant Espresso, without the “x”? All of my life it had been Expresso with an “x” and there had never been an alternate spelling. My roommate and I have noticed the shifts occurring more frequently. Neither of us can explain why these shifts occur.

    1. After all this our n/x presence here carries some type of corruption in our memories. Oh well, this is home now and we are alive amidst slightly altered surroundings. Continue making the most of your enjoyment. Saying that, does anyone notice the highlighted presence of the term “Alderman”? I never remember the word being in my vocabulary, but now it is used on TV shows regularly. Also, and this is huge, we always PRONOUNCED it Wall-Greens, but the spelling in the n/x universe was Walgrens!! Where I live they are everywhere and up until fairly recently, I always ‘corrected the spelling in my mind, pronouncing it wall-grens when I saw the sign. When I was younger I would joke with friends and family entering the parking lot or the store that they forgot to add the second ‘e’ (due to the accepted pronunciation). It’s not such a bad “brave new world”…could think of worse scenarios to be living with.

  56. I am from the DILEM-NA universe. I specifically remember learning in school that the n was silent and that’s how I remembered how to spell it. Also there are many others…

    I was taught there were 52 states growing up.. The teacher told me the way to remember was it was the same as a deck of cards, and Hawaii and Alaska were the ones to make the last two. Somewhere around ten years ago I noticed it switched to 50.

    Sketchers- apparently it’s skechers? Wtf!

    Oscar Meyer- Oscar Mayer?? When the heck did that happen!

    Berenstein- berenstain!?!?! this one was what brought it all to my attention!!! It COULDNT BE! It was always EIN- I specifically remember because I always wondered if it was pronounced EEN or INE

    Captain crunch- Cap’n Crunch!! Ummmmm?

    Daylight Savings day- nope I guess it’s daylight SAVING day?????

    Depends- Depend — yeah the adult diapers no s???

    FEBREEZE- ok guys is FEBREZE now

    The one that I think is the absolute weirdest for me is the location of Australia on the map has completely moved for me. I remember it being more isolated and I looked at the map the other day and couldn’t believe my eyes.

    These are just a few more examples, don’t even get me started on the movie lines that I thought were a different way all along!

  57. As both a good speller and a homeschool mom, it is and always was dilemna. When my kids started college and told me about the one space after periods “new” rule, i chalked it up to some journalistic change to save space in newspapers and magazines. Oxford or serial comma rules! I am all for bringing the true spellings back and standing firm on Berenstein (read those books to my children–never read the Berenstain ones), and on Sketchers–my favorite athletic shoe brand, Chic-fil-A not Chick-fil-A ( I remember walking through the mall with my parents in the 1970s and thinking “what does that sign say?” due to the Chic part being odd for me at 5 or 6 years old), and Looney Toons not Looney Tunes–it was bases on cartoons and not music tunes. Also Reba McIntyre not McEntire. sigh……..

    1. It is mor probable that even a good speller occasionally has a bad memory than that the entire universe has changed — retroactively — while she was looking somewhere else.

      What makes your feelings about words any more indicative of the “true spellings” than the evidence: the spellings that are truly in dictionaries, and that documentably have been there all along?

      1. I remember the exact same spellings that she lists. Something weird happened. Imagine if you woke up tomorrow and words you knew how to spell previously were completely changed and many other people agreed with you. Reality is changing or we are moving to new realities.

        To clarify it’s not that there aren’t words we mispell it’s that words we would bet the farm on have changed and there are millions of us that have the same memories. It’s disorienting and weird. And it’s not just words.

    2. The Berenstain bears were written by a family with the last name Berenstain. If you can dig up one of your kids’ copies of one of the books, I suspect you will find the authors didn’t write a version in which they misspelled their own last name.

      But perhaps there was a misprinted edition. I’ve never seen one though.

  58. I have ALWAYS spelled dilemma with an MN – until a few years ago when spell check caught me.
    I have always been a very good speller – even though my orthography arises from my early fascination with e e cummings. I do however like to spell things correctly. So it was about 3 or 4 years ago that I suddenly noticed that I was spelling dilemma incorrectly and It baffled me greatly. I (very much like the author here) distinctly recalled the n being in the word. I too have looked all over for the reason/s for why this should be and couldn’t find it until most recently I discovered that many others were having the same dilemma dilemna (or vise versa)
    … and here I though I was completely alone in this.
    Now I am going to ask my cousin who won all sorts of spelling bees.

  59. It is spelled dilemna. Time travelers are going back in time and changing words. Yes, time travel is real and I’m not “crazy”. (Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy)

  60. I cannot believe this i remember vividly spellingbit with the na i know because i thought it was so funny ofva word to spell like that it went right along with the berenstein beats issue they are now saying its berenstain bears but this was one the first long words i was proud of k owing how to spell n i loved the cartoon and the books n now it blows my mind that it is spelled now berenstain omg i cant belive this I WANT ANSWERS! HLAD YO SEE IM NOT ALONE

  61. It has always been dilemna for me. I play word games often and take pride in spelling correctly. I remember this one sfor sure. I lived in Poughkeepsie at one time!!!!!

  62. OMGOSH!!! My world has been throughly shaken as my spellcheck changed the correct spelling (dilemna) to this newfangled double-m. I literally can’t believe “mm” is the correct way. I’m sticking to my alternate universe and continuing on with dilem-na. Thank goodness for you and this absolute superb blog that completely grasped all the emotions I’m feeling!!!!

  63. I, just like you Rachel, was taught to spell it dilemna. When I heard about this dilemna earlier today I immediately asked my husband how he spells the word and he answered “d i l e m N a’.

    I can think of possible reasons why google might not acknowledge that truth. But the fact that half the people commenting on this blog never heard of dilemNa cannot possibly be explained by anything I can think of BUT the alternate universe theory.

    As Sherlock Holmes said to Watson (unless that’s also changed!?) “When you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

    So… alternate universe it is. Now what? Where do we go from here???

    1. Ok, but you still haven’t eliminated the more likely possibility that you learned it incorrectly and the possibility you might not be as good at spelling as you think.

  64. Thank you for this post. I thought I was going mad. I always spelled it with an “n” dilemna. It feels right. It looks right. I know I had to learn that from somewhere though. I wouldn’t have made that up, yet you can find that spelling nowhere. It’s so freaky. I spent quite a bit of time with spell check and Google and was so perplexed. I have never seen the word dilemma in my life. It’s the strangest thing. So happy I’m not alone. Feels like the twilight zone though.

    1. In French, the word is almost the same: dilemne, written now dilemme. It is so weird to me too. I learned dilemne. But, there’s a residue with the French writer Balzac (19th century) who wrote the adjective dilemnatique. You can check this out on the very serious French dictionary website cnrtl with the word dilemme. It’s not a bad memory problem, the Mandela effect is real, and this is only one example.

  65. Omg! My mum is the 1st person I asked too when I found out the different spelling. I also spell it with the N….and I was ready good at English, so I can’t believe that I would mispell a simple word. Ah the dilemna this is creating. Actually I noticed that there have been other strange differences in my life since I had an accident in 2012. Maybe something happened that night….

  66. If it weren’t for you I would have never understood why I never felt I fit into this double M universe.
    Yet somehow in knowing the truth I don’t feel empowered by it sadly.
    More of a hollow loss for the unknown wonder of the universe of my origin.

    I’m not sure where I learned to spell dilemna as such either.
    My brain categorized the true correct spelling (from our universe) tied to the phonetically sounded out dill-em-nuh in my head. Even though I actually pronounce it and read it as dill-em-uh in my head or out loud.
    My brain just like yours files away the spelling of words under a memory map system of sounds to show me the unexpected spelling so I don;t accidentally misspell it later.

    It had to be something I learned or was taught or read enough times to say “ahah…. dil-em-nah don’t forget!”.

    And I am sure I have read it as dilemma and probably have pondered why it was misspelled so often in type… though this wasn’t always the case I am sure. In fact more often I would have read it as I know it to be or my brain would have dug up this abnormality much earlier then just now.
    A lot of times the editors got it right… or wrong as it were, by the current universes standards. I’m sure the vast majority of times this was true. Though this was most likely due to the authors and or editors being from the alternate universe as well then.
    But how can one be sure of anything anymore?

    Opossums really may have just become possums here also.
    Maybe that one can be chalked up to a general geographical difference in pronounced English.

    Surely dilemna is not so trivial a mistake.

    It makes sense that the memory of how we learned the true spelling was erased at the time of our transfer.
    This way we can use it to determine our true origin and distinguish between one another.

    Seems logical enough.

    1. From wiki

      “Phalangeriformes, or possums, any of a number of arboreal marsupial species native to Australia, New Guinea, and Sulawesi
      Phalangeridae (possums and cuscuses), a family of mammals native to Australia and New Guinea containing most of the species referred to as “possums” in Australia
      Common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), a common possum in Australian urban areas, invasive in New Zealand
      Common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus), also common in Australian urban areas, absent from New Zealand
      Opossum, or possum, an order (Didelphimorphia) of marsupials native to the Americas
      Common opossum, native to Central and South America
      Virginia opossum, native to North America”

  67. I have an English degree, from an Ivy league university. I am 41 years old and tonight while working on a document, the template had the word, “dilemma”. I was preparing to email our Director about this mistake when I did this search and found out I am the one mistaken. I k now this article is two years old, but it’s brand new information to me and I am beyond shaken. I am honestly a wordsmith and my friends tease me that I’m “Wordgirl”. How did I not know this. The parallel universe is the only explanation!

  68. “Dilemna” is not a Southern thing. I have spent 50 years in Texas and never have heard it spoken here.

    1. that is because we say “tar” when we are talking about a “tire” so I doubt we could pronounce much of anything the way it is spelled.

      I am a Texan, too, and I learned it as dilemNa.

  69. DaMN. M and N do not got together in English, so it must be dilemma. We need a MNemonic to remember the correct spelling. By the way, I too was educated in Illinois in a Catholic grade school, and it was dileMNa. And that is the way that God and the nuns spelled it. So there!

      1. There’s a residue in French with the adjective dilemnatique. You can check it out on the French academic dictionary cnrtl under the word dilemme. By the way, I learned dilemne and not dilemme.

  70. When my spell check grabbed it I just assumed that it was another of those words of which you yanks had changed the spelling. It was always dilemna, just like it was always cheque, and always neighbour.

  71. I just started a new job and got in an argument with the child who was training me about the spelling of dilemNa. (Stop underlining my correct spelling of dilemNa, spell check!!!) I easily let go of the double-space after a sentence because . . . work. But the N in dilemNa? Never.

  72. I was also a spelling bee champ. I was definitely TAUGHT to spell the word “dilemna.” I too always sounded it out in my mind because it was so odd. Maybe the manufacturer of school spelling books made a typo many years ago, and a generation of people were taught the errant spelling.

  73. I am 100% Certain that I read books as a child in which the word was spelled “dilemna”, therefore etching the incorrect spelling into my brain. 100%

  74. There are scientist who scan the heavens every day looking for flaws in the universe to prove that it is artificial.
    Here is one of those flaws… I , too, was taught dilemna and was stunned the first time someone told me in my adult life that it was not true.
    I, of course, considered them to be an idiot :-)
    And now the truth is out …. we “dilemna -ists are from another multiverse.

  75. During one of my years in high school I got HIT by this indescribable feeling.

    My entire body, it felt like my entire existence or being was hit by an invisible beam like in star trek (but invisible).

    My entire ‘self’ , physically, from head to toe in a vertical manner,

    My entire self came to this sudden/random epiphany

    I did not belong in this world/universe. I wasn’t SUPPOSED TO EXIST.

    I didn’t feel sad. I was just overwhelmed by shock of some truth that ‘something’ happened like I got misplaced.

    Rather than saying we came from another universe, to the original author/writer of this article, please note that when you say your boyfriend is also from the same universe, in my theory, it’s not that we’re from the same universe, we’re just from the 90’s where dilemma is dilem-NA and pigeon is PID+GEON, and among a few other small things.

    I too am from the ‘world’ of dilem+na.

    Back in 1999-2002, that was the period where I knew pidgeon and dilemna (around 4-5th grade). At the same time, we also used single space in essays like we’re writing books. Single space WAS the norm. This double space crap didn’t start till the 2000’s, the only reason why is so teachers can have empty spaces between lines to write corrections/remarks/notes/etc. Suddenly double space became more and more popular.

    In my theory if the parallel universe thing really does exist, then in actuality it might be ‘multiple’ alternate universes being merged or ‘crossing’ over each other, It’s uncertain whether if they merge permanently or stay temporarily merged, or simply ‘pass’ through each other like bubbles bouncing around your screensaver screen.

  76. Dont give up my friends….The New York Times, The Brooklyn Eagle , The Rhinebeck Gazette all used DILEMNA in their papers. As early as 1857 on the front page of the Brooklyn Eagle dilemna was spelled that way and as late as Nov 11, 1971 The Rhinebeck Gazette spelled dilemna. I am certain that there were other well known newpapers that spelled dilemna as some us were taught.

  77. I hope this post makes my dilemna clear. In 1857 The Brooklyn Eagle newspaper on the front page used the word dilemna as well as the New York Times pre 1900. As late as 1970 the Rhinebeck Gazette used dilemna to describe a disposition. I am 70 plus years old and have used dilemna as the correct spelling

  78. Aha! Finally an explanation I can believe in! (pardon the final preposition) I have had this question for some time and was shocked to find that dilemma was even acceptable. I distinctly remember learning the dilemna with na in Junior High School in the 70´s. The shock is that in this universe it has two m´s. Impossible! I am a spelling person (got 100% on the PSAT in spelling). Greetings from some one from the alternate reality!

  79. I learned ‘dilemna’ also…just like I also learned to “double the ‘l'” when adding -ing to a word ending in L to show tense and action. I.e. Travelling, cancelling, labelling, etc. What I have seen is that due to the difficulty of remembering and adhering to these older English rules, they have been dropped due to consistent grammatical mistakes.

    I will always stick with dilemna, and bring awareness to the double l as long as I can…

  80. I am 74 years old. I am an excellent speller, and used to win all the spelling bees in my class/school. I also learned that “dilemna” was the correct way to spell the word. Not sure how and where I learned this. I assume it was taught to me that way as a student. So….from where does that sneaky “n” come??

  81. Definitely taught to spell: DilemNA.
    I was completely thrown off by the MM because as you I learned to pronounce it in my head with the NA.
    I am a pretty sharp Speller – although my cousin is a perfect speller … and now I must ask her how she spells dilemNA.

    I really stressed out over the MM spelling a couple of years ago when I discovered I was spelling it incorrectly and then could not (just as you) find any references whatsoever to the NA. It makes no sense for us all to remember this and for there to be absolutely NO explanation for it. I’m with you – alternate universe must be the only explanation.

  82. P.S. the person who referred to Isaiah 11:6…
    Now my head is spinning. I grew up reading the bible and do NOT recall EVER hearing:
    the “leopard shall lie down with the kid”
    – it was always: the Lion shall lie down with the lamb…
    I need more coffee…

    1. Me too! I even had a purple and gold T-shirt with the scripture on the back and a picture on the front of a lion & a lamb cuddling together. I always thought it was neat, symbolic of Christ being both the sacrificial lamb and King. But now that passage, with that wording, is nowhere to be found?

  83. My theory is that if you have more than one dilemma, you have dilemna. That the plural of dilemma is dilemna. I also was a winner of spelling bees. I have an old dictionary from the 1930s that explains rules of grammar. I looked up dilemma and there is no plural listed for it and no alternate listed for it. There is also no rule of grammar listed for plural forms either but I suspect this came from a different root language.

  84. I absolutely, positively remember being taught in junior high school that dilemna was the correct and only spelling for dilemma. To compound the mistake the teacher told us that the word is pronounced “with a silent n.”
    PS: Your story of Mom and Chris is delightful.

  85. Bad news…there may be more than simply TWO universes. My home universe used ‘dilemna’…it played a role in a spelling bee in which I participated in sixth grade, where “tricky” words were being lobbed at the children to determine a winner. However, my universe also featured Annette Funicello’s suicide (and the subsequent month-long emotional panic of my mother, who had idolized her as a child) circa 1978 or 9: an event which apparently did not happen here.

    I am compelled to see a vast, dark tree; branching up into the infinitude of the multiverse: on each of its many bifurcating limbs hang numerous glowing orbs, representing living universes.

    But something has happened: some deadly sickness, perhaps, or mayhap an equally lethal and utterly alien fauna has scored the tree at its’ roots. Whatever the cause, the tree is withering: and one by one, the orbs grow silent, cold, and dark. As they do, their neighbors flare with a momentary swell of light, as refugees from the dead places flee to sanctuary. There is chaos and confusion; and not all those who fly from this blight find themselves beached on the same shore.

    My world is gone. Yours too, it seems.. We must hope that our mothers found their way to safety: for mine today remembers no more the trauma I watched her endure in my youth, than yours does how to correctly spell the word which describes our predicament.

    Or at least, so I imagine.

    1. I apologize for the incorrrect use of ” its’ ” above. The font is very tiny in this comment box, and did not spot it during my perusal of my missive prior to hitting ‘post’.

        1. How very curious. I have always heard “peruse” used in context to mean ‘casual’ or ‘brief’ reading or viewing: I can’t recall ever having looked up the dictionary definition: so I did so today. Sure enough, my interpretation of the word is correct: but, in a seeming contradiction, so is yours. From Merriam-Webster:

          Definition of peruse
          perused; perusing
          transitive verb
          1 a : to examine or consider with attention and in detail : study
          b : to look over or through in a casual or cursory manner
          2 : read; especially : to read over in an attentive or leisurely manner
          — perusal play \pə-ˈrü-zəl\ noun
          — peruser noun

          So, Lucas, while your snarky response was not particularly helpful, it was TECHNICALLY at least 50% correct. And of course, as all grammar Nazis know, “technically” is the BEST kind of correct; so, well done.

          Despite your best efforts, I have learned something from the experience, and will endeavor in future to use a less ambiguous word. Something like ‘browse’ or ‘skim’, perhaps. Ta.

  86. Not taking time to read through every response above, I hope I’m not treading on anyone’s toes yet feel emotionally compelled to say: I, too, was taught to spell the word in question “dilemna” from my earliest years. I too an a visual learner, and memorized the spelling accordingly, along with the enjoying the oddity of pronouncing it as I wrote it out on a page, thus: d – i – l – e – m – N – a. When Spell check underlined my rendition of this word today, I looked it up online, then ran to no less than 3 of my various dictionaries (okay, so I AM a nerd! LOL!). I am quite positive what I remember is accurate, so I am certain this is how I was taught to spell the word we use to describe being in a predicament. What I wonder is why in the world so many people were taught the incorrect way? What happened to allow this to even happen in the first place?
    Does it really matter?
    Silly me, but it does kind of bug me! I was always tops or near the top of every spelling contest, and am now learning I may not have really qualified if that word was in the lineup!
    Such is life!

  87. Up until very recently, I thought penumbra as spelled pnumbra, missing but pronouncing that beginning e. I swear I remember it spelled that way as a child, but all my peers tell me I’m remembering incorrectly.

  88. I am glad you created this blog. I am 43 born in 1974 and l 100% know the universe I same from taught me die lem nah aka dilemna. I used these tricks to memorise difficult words like dilemna where the n makes no sense but just like so many worlds in the English dictionary like would, etc and the phonetic trick served me well until about 2014-15 when my phone begin to autocorrect words I knew were spelt correctly. Than I discovered the Mandela Effect, quantum D wave reality altering computing and CERN, and now I know how these alternate realities are possible….The F in the Ford logo, Christopher Reeve not reeves, Sally Field not fields, etc etc

  89. I’m 36 and I’m from the Dilemna universe. I asked my parents separately how to spell it. They are in their early 70s. They also spell it dilemna. My mom didn’t believe me so I pulled out her dictionary that was published in the 60s and she was shocked how the page physically changed to dilemma.

  90. I am definitely from your alternate universe. I was TAUGHT either by teachers, parents ( now deceased) or books that Dilemna indeed has an n. I think the other universe has a grand conspiracy against truth and eidetic memory! This is worth a trip to the British Museum to pour over ancient dictionaries which I have always been accused of reading.

    1. You have are eiditic but can’t remember the who, when, where, or how you learned that word? Maybe the universe shift took away your memory. /s

  91. I’m just not able – or willing – to adjust to the double mm thing. And I’m a purist about language for the most part.

    Do you suppose anything terrible would happen to me if I just plowed ahead with dilemna? I would feel so much better. What if we all did that?? We could change the world and CREATE the universe we long for.

    We could be happy.

    What say you all?

    But if you guys are not up for something so radical we could at least create a spiritual connection of like minds.

  92. I have to admit, I actually found this article, because I was having a brain fart, and couldn’t remember if it was spelled “di” or “de”. NEVER, did I expect to find that it was not spelled with an “n”!!! My world is shattered! . The mm looks totally wrong! I guess I’m from the alternate universe……kinda makes some things in this universe make sense….hmmm

  93. I remember looking up the spelling in a dictionary, viewing the resulting and thinking “DILEMNA” how annoying and peculiar that spelling I thought, but I committed it to memory and moved on.

    Now, sadly I am further vexed.

  94. Maybe you are not actually as good at spelling as you thought you were. Unless you did spelling bees, what’s your point of comparison? Perhaps you weren’t around anyone who used the word “dilemma” correctly because they weren’t good at spelling either.

    If you were an excellent student of geometric proofs, for example, you would know that a lemma is a part of a proof, and would recognize a dilemma as two conflicting such propositions.

    Dunning-Kreuger is a real thing.

    And people’s memories in general are not reliable as evidence in a court of law or elsewhere.

  95. I should add, if you don’t remember when or how or from whom you learned the word, why would you think you must definitely be remembering the word itself and the way you were taught it correctly?

  96. Dilemna for me. At my recent 40th HS reunion, people again brought up my “freakish ability to spell, memorize, and calculate.” I can clearly remember being taught d-i-l-e-m-n-a, complaining that there was no “n” sound, being told it was silent, and then making up a rule so I wouldn’t misspell it.

    I was led to this blog by google, which I consulted when my spellcheck didn’t like dilemna. I’m mildly comforted by the number of fellow-alternate universe people are here . . . and how many times I found dilemna used elsewhere on the web.

  97. Dilemna for me. At my recent 40th HS reunion, people again brought up my “freakish ability to spell, memorize, and calculate.” I can clearly remember being taught d-i-l-e-m-n-a, complaining that there was no “n” sound, being told it was silent, and then making up a rule so I wouldn’t misspell it.

    I was led to this blog by google, which I consulted when my spellcheck didn’t like dilemna. I’m mildly comforted by the number of fellow-alternate universe people that are here . . . and how many times I found dilemna used elsewhere on the web.

  98. Hey…. its been 4 years since you posted that blog – GREAT Story by the way .. I did the same thing for the word Tumeric .. I sent an email to my Mum .. how do you spell Tumeric … She claimes its always been spelt the way Google (read Big Brother – read quantum computers) .. there is a lot going on .. a lot of words including Vaseline (now vasoline) .. Tumeric has changed to Turmeric .. the Ford Logo has changed (for me anyway .. however no record in this reality etc etc etc…

    I reckon by now, you must have heard about the effects .. there is a word for it .. I dont want to say it here as I now believe that Google is being controlled by AI , and quantum computers .. that can change text / pics in real time.. do some research on software known as pix2pix .. anything is possible – as long as the software code is written and you have a FAST PC (quantum) .. have a look at this site and that will start your journey of awakening or give you a push (I am like you – I KNOW it is /was spelt dilemna >> go to


  99. I was born in 1953 and attended school in Toronto, Ontario. I was recently reading a novel and the author spelled dilemna as dilemma. I thought perhaps it was an American spelling which occasionally differs from our Canadian spelling e.g. color versus colour, center versus centre, etc. So I decided to google it and came up on the Dilemna Dilemma blog. I have always been an excellent speller and won many a classroom spelling bee in school. I distinctly remember learning to spell dilemna with an n and not a double m. We were taught It was a silent n. Another past instruction that now confuses me is when I hear people pronounce the ‘t’ in often, I think back to my teacher instructing us that the ‘t’ was silent in often. As David Bowie writes: ” Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (turn and face the strange) changes” !

  100. I was about to blanket statement this, but I am responding to the person who said thay had no idea that other people spelled or pronounced the word in question differently. Just to clarify, I pronounce it DIE LEM A. I spell it dilemNa, I apparently am from another universe or dimension, as are many others.

  101. I am 34 and also clearly remember it as being MN. And not only that, i went to the state finals spelling B. But i also clearly remember Berenstein bears and some other things as well that are apparently incorrect also. I dont think age has anything to do with it but im curious if the same people who “misrember” things misremember the same things and if those that remember it as the correct way, misremember other things collectively with other groups or not. Like did this universe collision happen once or has it happened multiple different times.

    1. I’ve wondered when it happened also because I just learned of Mandela Effect last week and am pretty freaked out about all of the differences in today’s world / reality than what my memories are. I am not so sure there was a collision so much that WE were picked up and shifted into a different parallel that has subtle differences. Crazy as it sounds…. I’m afraid it’s the truth and I am going to have to accept it.

  102. always sucked at spelling, but dilemna seemed correct to me. dilemma seemed a bit odd.

    i have a few anchor quantum effects within the confines of my mind. JC Penny. Kit-Kat. the “old” target logo that actually looked like a target board for darts. there’s a few others, but you get the point.

    you are not crazy. something supernatural is going on. be sure to think deep about the word dilemma and its meaning. be sure to be on the good side when this all plays out…

  103. Saw this on Guy Fauques youtube channel.

    We’re from the same universe! Don’t let people say you misremember it. You don’t. There are thousands of us that “misremember” many other things as well. My whole youtube channel is devoted to it.

    I homeschooled my sons and loved it. Both are graduated from college now!

    Much love..

  104. Another spelling bee queen devastated! I don’t think I can bring myself to “misspell” dilemna with 2 “m”s. From this point forward, it’s quandary for me! Thank you, Rachel, for your entertaining article.

  105. I just found out about Mandela Effect last week, and I can’t help but admit that I am very unsettled about the word “dilemna” – ALWAYS had an “N” in it. No doubt in my mind. I pronounced the N when I wrote it or typed it the same way I pronounce Wednesday “Wed-NES-day” when I write it or type it although it’s pronounced “Wens-day”. I have a degree in English/Journalism. I’m an author. I am a spelling and grammar NUT. In addition to many other memories of mine that I have no proof of now, such as there were 4 people in the JFK car, That hit me hard and watching the Zapruder film which I have seen a million times was devastating, because it is different to me. I’m questioning everything now. I had to Google to make sure there were really 4 Beatles like I remember, that 9/11/01 happened on 9/11/01… etc.
    I will continue to spell it DILEMNA. I don’t care. I will continue to insist that there were 4 people in the JFK car…. amongst other things.
    I’m totally dumbfounded.

  106. I’m so glad I found this site….I grew up with dilemna and I’m grappling with spelling it the “right” way now. I just can’t accept the mm! I’m a 73 year old retired nurse, raised in Florida and have always been a very good speller and a grammar nut as well, so how did this get by me?? I think it’s a CONSPIRACY!

  107. I was also taught DILEMNA. I thought they must have accepted dilemma as a correct spelling because most people were not savvy enough to remember it was spelled with an N. Kind of like how both “canceled” and “cancelled” are correct (OR are they?) I was so sure of its spelling also and was shocked when I, too, discovered that the rest of the world spells it wrong (dilemma). Like you, I am questioning that an entire alternate universe exists for the spelling (or misspelling) of a word. One of the theories that I heard, that is most believable and perhaps why thousands of people spell it dilemNa (wow…auto correct will not let me spell it with an N) is that there was a typo in the text books. I suppose that makes as much sense to me as my doppelgänger running around in another universe spelling things incorrectly. Anyway…just saw this article…years after you wrote it. Thought I would add my two cents.

  108. I was having an argument with a guy from Greece about how to spell this. (I had learned -mna). In the height of arrogance I told him “What do you know, you don’t even know English” (or something similar to that). He shot me down instantly with just three words “It’s a Greek word”., di for two and lemma for choices. I was so sure that I was right, I had never seen it spelled with two m’s. This was in 1979. To make it more confusing, I just put lemma in the Google translator program and it didn’t recognize it as a Greek word, but it recognized lemna as wood..

  109. I’m a little late to the party but I am from the N universe as well (I am 42). I learned most of my spelling from reading books (I am a voracious reader so I spell wonderfully but mispronounce words all the time…) Unfortunately when I asked my husband how to spell it… well it turns out he is from the M universe. But he shared that some time back he was stunned and appalled to find that judgment is not spelled with a second “e” (judgement). But at least spell check allows both so maybe he is just a victim of language evolution and not from yet another world.

  110. Of course there’s an alternate universe. How else could could so many people “wait on” buses instead of waiting for them.?

  111. Oh no – I am part of your alternate universe! I have always spelled dilemna, dilemna – only to discover TODAY, this very moment, it is dilemma!!! I received a proof back from an editor and they had CHANGED the spelling of my PERFECTLY spelled word. Like you I was a ‘good’ speller, someone taught me this!!!
    Thankyou for the explanation – I am going to investigate WHO taught me this

  112. I am in my 60’s and from the alternate universe known as Newfoundland, Canada. At the ruler-holding hands of the beloved Sisters of Mercy, I learned to spell the word as “dilemna”.

    Given the universally acknowledged correctness of “condemn”, it never occurred to me that it could possibly be correct to spell it “dilemma”.

    Then I married a Yank……

    In addition to the pointless argument about Dilemna/dilemma, let’s not EVEN get into the correct pronunciation of “automaton”.

  113. Long, long ago, in a Universe far, far away I was taught the word Dilemna for a difficult issue with at least two choices. I went to several different schools as a child of all over Illinois and so I can’t say who taught me that spelling or if my Dislexia that I learned to correct in 3rd grade. Unfortunately I carried that n with me until now. How could I not know until today? Oddly Dislexia doesn’t usually have you have the wrong letter, just a mix of the correct letters.

  114. I’m from your alternate universe. I’m 43 from Canada where we learn a lot of the more traditional British spellings, and I only know dilemna. and was just corrected in my email for using D-I-L-E-M-N-A. What?! Two mm’s?
    I’ve never seen this word! I can’t believe it;s spelt this way. Where did it come from?

  115. I am 46 and as of today I am trying to find my way back to the dilemna universe that I apparently have come from. Help! How do I get back there? Because it has got to be better than here!

    p.s. grew up in New England and taught in a public school in Vermont

  116. Im a fabulous speller. And, like you, I have very clear memories of remembering the silent “n.” And also ALWAYS pronounce it that way in my head. When I found out about the double “m.” spelling, I knew something was going on. Im THAT certain about that word. Thank you. But it makes me wonder, if such a trivial thing is changed, what other things have changed that maybe aren’t trivial and we just dont see it. Scary.

  117. Not sure if you’re still active, but I’m here to tell you that you are describing the MANDELA EFFECT. Look it up :) And I want you to know that I am with you from this alternate universe. I just had to google this because I tried typing in Delimna, and my computer tried to auto-correct me.

    Crazy world we live in. This happened with me with the JFK assassination. Back in 2007 I used to watch conspiracy videos about the assassination and remember the vehicle and how many people were in the car very differently than how it is in this universe right now. There are alot of other freaky examples you can find online.

  118. Well it seems I am from the dilem-na universe. I’ve always prided myself in my ability to spell, when my parents were asking us random questions. I got all the spelling questions right, until they asked me to spell dilemna. I spelled it, assuming they asked me to spell it cause of the silent n, when they tell me I’m wrong. I look on a box, and there it is. Dilemma. I was horrified, and was convinced I was right. I looked it up to see if it was a word with two correct spellings, and found I was wrong. I too absolutely remember spelling it “dilemna” I guess I am a part of your universe.

  119. This is what’s known as the Mandela Effect, look into it some more, our past is changing all the time! Its complete insanity!

  120. Yes, I too went through all the stages of grief described above. Where did dilemna go? Why is it now underlined–even here? Et tu, Grasping? The saddest part for me, is that I now will have to use the incorrect version to avoid people from this dilemma universe feeling superior to me. But I will know inside myself that dilemma look and sounds FAR less interesting–even as a concept–than dilemna.

  121. Hey moderator, will you please remove my comma error? I missed it in revision: the one after “me”.

  122. I am now 66, but distinctly recall in sixth grade being taught that the “mn” spelling and pronunciation are correct — just as we were instructed to write “all right,” rather than “alright” (a misspelling that crops up frequently in movie subtitles and other places). I have taught English, worked at the Reference desk of libraries, and am a published author — and always will believe that “dilemna” is the correct spelling. As bizarre as it is, the alternate universe theory seems to make more sense than anything else. Surely, some textbook used “dilemna,” for so many people to be certain they were taught that spelling. And yet nobody can find one now! It makes you think that those textbooks’ spellings disappeared, because we did, indeed, cross over.

    1. Maybe we “raptured” over? I agree it’s extremely strange. I’m 33 and I thought it’s always been “dilemna” for me.

  123. In my universe of origin, there is no dilemna: the word contains the letter ‘n.’

    I can’t remember the first time I saw ‘dilemma,’ but it was well into my adulthood. I saw the ‘mm’ spelling, and it looked goofy, like something someone would write when unfamiliar with a word and writing it as it sounds (cemetary, parliment, etc).

    Eventually I noticed the ‘mm’ spelling enough to prod me to check a dictionary. I was flabbergasted when I learned that nearly everyone in this universe has been spelling it incorrectly!

    FWIW, educated in 70s and 80s in Connecticut. I did (briefly) get in trouble in 5th grade for using the word ‘asinine’ in an assignment. The teacher was unfamiliar with the word. THe upshot: teachers get things wrong. Maybe I was taught the incorrect spelling of dilemma — but that doesn’t explain why it took me well into my 30s to see ‘dilemma’ for the first time.

    PS Upshot should mean ‘a positive outcome in a given situation,’ but it doesn’t. But maybe it does in my original universe…

    1. EXACTLY! My memory is the same on this topic. I don’t remember the “red pill or blue pill” choice being offered, but I do remember writing DILEMNA for English I vocabulary test.

  124. I just called my parents, they don’t recall it ever having an “n”, but I was an avid reader and excellent speller growing up. I would pronounce that dang “n” to be 100%++++ sure I spelled it correctly. My co- worker told me about the Mendella effect (sp?), but I didn’t believe it until now. It was the Berenstein Bears that made me suspicious at first, bc they’ve changed the spelling of the last name. It’s now BerenSTAIN.

  125. I was doing the LA Times crossword today – one of the answers was dilemma which I spelled as ‘dilemna’. Add me to the list of people shocked that it’s not dilemna. 55, central PA public schools.

  126. I, too, DISTICTLY remember being taught to spell it dilem-na. I even remember as a kid reading novels where it was spelled the same way.

  127. I recently found a notebook from highschool ,1978! In it we’re words and definitions I had copied from the blackboard for the weekly spelling and vocabulary test for 9th grade English I. Whether in error, or not, l had indeed spelled DILEMNA in the copy process. The words were taken weekly from my teacher’s vast lubrary of Reader’s Digest magazine.

  128. In this Dilemna, as I was very pensive, I stept into the Cabin, and sat me down.

    Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, 1719.

    The nation saw themselves reduced to a ridiculous dilemna upon their testimony.

    The History of England, by Oliver Goldsmith, Vol 3, 1771.

    There was a famous ancient Instance of this Case, wherein a Dilemna was retorted.

    Logick, by Isaac Watts, 1772.

  129. Definitely is DILEMNA. I, too, have always said “Dilem’na’ as I wrote it to make sure that I did it correctly. This is awful. I was always a terrific speller and was a legal editor for years. How did this happen?

  130. THANK YOU. I have just been typing an email and auto-spell kept on changing to dilemma.

    I like to think I am very rarely wrong with my spelling and if I am usually happy to concede but I just knew this was incorrect so off to the bookcase to resurrect my son’s Australian Students hard copy dictionary from about 2007 and OMG it’s still DILEMMA! This is getting serious I couldn’t possible be wrong. So off to back of the linen cupboard to drag out the source of all truth aka World Book Dictionary published 1984 and YEP it is still DILEMMA.

    Now I give up. UNLESS of course I can face the terrible heat (Australian summer) and tackle the shed where my own school books from the 1960’s reside and then again maybe I should just suck it up, type my email & keep this nasty secret close to my chest..

  131. Raising my hand for the “dilemna” spelling too. I’m 62, went to school in Wichita Kansas, one public school and one private school, moved to Orange County, California in 1967 and went to multiple public and private schools, and when I saw “dilemma” my Hypercritical Spelling and Grammar Checker kicked in with ERRNT! WRONG! So either somebody is messing with the timeline again, or I was with you in the parallel universe. My wife apparently learned it in school with the n, but somehow relearned it without later.

  132. I got caught in this wormhole today! This was amusing, as I just had to google why it was that spellcheck did not like dilemna. At 49 years old, the -mma was a revelation to me! Strange…

  133. My 18 yo daughter just posted something with #dilemma on her Instagram. I immediately rolled my eyes and thought she spelled it wrong! I learned DILEMNA too! Before publicly outing her mistake, I looked it up to double check and, to my dismay, came across this article… my life will never be the same. I’m 49 and a 3rd grade teacher and have never taught that word- now I don’t know what I will tell my students if I come across it in their writing….

  134. DILEMNA, and I refuse to use dilemma.
    Hopefully, this is not a trap to round up all the Dilemna newcomers.

  135. Raised in south Georgia in the 1950s, I was taught dilemna. I’ve been reassured that I’m still of sound mind at 70 by the insistence of the hosts of the BBC’s weekly “Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review” program and podcast. that the “n” be pronounced. (They know the letter has never been properly pronounced; they are just confirming the proper spelling from their early British educations).

  136. Silent N Universe citizen here…

    I attended parochial school and they taught us the ‘na’ trick as well in 4th grade.

    I still love spelling. I don’t understand the change to the double m.

    Might be my British ancestry, but I’ll definitely be keeping the correct spelling regardless of what any American spellcheck says.

  137. I absolutely love this article. I too learned with the n and would pronounce it that way in my head! This is hilarious and says everything I have wanted to say about the “proper” spelling.

  138. I am one like you. Have you found this universe to be suitable? Have you connected any other dots to back home?

    1. I am 55, educated in Alberta, Canada, and it’s always been dilemNa for me, including the silent reciting of the word as it as phonetically spelled in my head every time I read or write it.
      I plan on adding this dilemNa and also the Isaiah “lion and lamb” one, to my list of things to ask God when I finally get to meet Him face to face.

  139. Bob from London
    I’m absolutely gutted that it’s taken me nearly 55 years to discover the word I so proudly spelt correctly in a test in 1965 is allegedly wrong, rest assured i’m in no dilemna as to how to spell this beautifully constructed word with a silent “n”

  140. After wrestling with my daily anagram in today’s paper, I conceded to go with dilemma although I felt wrong about it….where’s the n? I was most intrigued by this blog/posting examining the mystery. Surely there’s the n I’ve been taught or injected with (alien theory). As a retired English teacher of 30+years, there’s no telling how many kids I affected (effected??) or infected on their way to misspelling that word. I like alien theory and believe it. Stay safe and beware of our international dilemma.

  141. I also learned to spell it by memorizing “dilem-na”

    It was only recently, after spell check’s continual correction of my alleged misspelling that I Google’d it and came across dilemna.info and now, your blog post.

    As others have stated, how could all of us had a “bad teacher” and not only learned the incorrect spelling but also the way in which to recall it

  142. imagine someone calling you and asking you to spell dilemma. not just someone, but someone you haven’t spoken to for more than fifty years. the folks i was able to contact that went to elementary school where and when i did, (far upstate new york; think close to montreal.), in the late 1950s and early 1960s, were all sure the ‘correct’ spelling we were taught included the ‘n’. one woman told me she won a spelling bee with that word.
    i too use tricks to remember spellings like connect-i-cut and the mississippi mnemonic and now must remember to not pronounce the ‘na’ on the end of this word. i always thought it was akin to colum-n, lim-n and autum-n. you are never to old to learn but unlearning is much more difficult. thanks for tackling this without contem-n.

  143. A dilemna is an impossible choice.
    Lemna is “duck-weed”.
    If you’ve ever had the intractable stuff in your pond, you’ll know it can never di(e).
    Dilemna therefore a hopeless imperative, because it’ll never die.
    Therefore Dilemna encapsulates the very essence of an equally impossible choice, namely leaving your pond choked with Duck-weed, or to find enough napalm at Walmart to at least singe it a bit.

    Clealy “Dilemna”!

  144. Interestingly, if you type “dilemma” and “dilemna” into software that can pronounce the letters in Greek, it is the former, ie “dilemna” which, at least to my ears, sounds most like our current pronunciation.

  145. I just watched The Social Dilemma last night (which is awesome and worth a watch) and then googled this morning to try and figure out why they spelled it wrong. Which led me here. I am 44, grew up in New England–elementary school on Cape Cod, MA. Pronounced the ‘Na’ every time.

  146. Absolutely, I remember being taught “dilemna.” It was second grade and my teacher was Ms. Kachevar (sp?). I can remember, vividly, both she and her aide, Mrs. Blakely, specifically instructing us to pronounce it with an “n,” silently in our heads, so as to be sure to spell it correctly. This is an “anchor” effect for me — or an especially strong Mandela Effect. I wonder where you are with all of this today…did you simply move on, or did you go down this deepest of rabbit holes?

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