Technology has left many Britons unable to spell words like "definitely" and "separate", a survey has found.

It suggests that the UK has produced an "auto-correct generation" that relies on computer spell checks.

The poll, which questioned more than 2,000 adults, found that around a third could not spell "definitely" while a similar proportion failed to pick the right spelling of "separate".

And around two thirds (65%) picked a wrong spelling for "necessary" from a list that did not include the right spelling.

But while many adults struggle to spell these common words, the poll also found that three quarters of those questioned (76%) think they are good at spelling, with 96% saying that spelling is important.

And many people are relying on spell checks - 18% said they use this all the time, while a further 21% said they rely on it most of the time.

Fewer than one in 10 (9%) said they never use a spell check.

The survey was commissioned to mark Mencap's Spellathon Championships, which take place this week.

Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring said: "With over two thirds of Britons now having to rely on spell check, we are heading towards an auto-correct generation.

"This survey has highlighted that many Britons have a false impression about their spelling ability.

"Today's tough economic climate means that poor spelling on a CV is fatal, as it says that an individual cannot produce work to a given standard, no matter how highly qualified they might be. Language used by a company or person is a reflection of their attitude, capabilities and skill."

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