"Candidate for a Pullet Surprise" is a fun play on words using homophones. More than 50% of the words in the poem are incorrect, yet they are all spelled correctly.
Over the years, the poem has been reprinted online thousands of times, resulting in many different variations.
We tracked down the original author of the poem, Jerrold Zar, who granted us permission to post his version here.
Dr. Zar adds: "A great many of the Internet postings have shortened or otherwise mutilated the poem, and many of them attribute its creation to 'Anonymous' or make no attempt at giving credit. 'Owed to a Spelling Checker' is a cute title sometimes seen, but is not the one I gave it."
Here is the correct version of Dr. Zar's poem.
Candidate for a Pullet Surprise
I have a spelling checker,
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.
Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in it's weigh.
My checker tolled me sew.
A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when eye rime.
Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours or every word
Too cheque sum spelling rule.
Bee fore a veiling checker's
Hour spelling mite decline,
And if we're lacks oar have a laps,
We wood bee maid too wine.
Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know fault's with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.
Now spelling does knot phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped word's fare as hear.
Too rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should bee proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaw's are knot aloud.
Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear four pea seas,
And why eye brake in two averse
Buy righting want too pleas.
—Jerrold H. Zar
Northern Illinois University
Title suggested by Pamela Brown.
Based on opening lines suggested by Mark Eckman.
By the author's count, 127 of the 224 words of the poem are incorrect (although all words are correctly spelled).