If you're like billions of other people in the world, chances are at some point you have been confused about how to spell a word. Spelling is difficult, because there are many rules, but the rules are not always applied in the same way on all words. Also some words, like names, are spelled differently by different people.
Everyone has different words that they have difficulty spelling; therefore, your trouble words may very well not be commonly misspelled by others. Every rule is not going to apply perfectly to every situation. The best way to acquaint yourself with proper spellings is to read and write constantly, and to use Spell Check and other tools available to you.
Here are a few hints to help you out in tough spelling situations; but remember, the English language is extremely complex.
- Remember the old adage: "I before E except after C."
- Sound out words. This method will not always work; however, it will at least put you on a path to determining the spelling of a word.
- If two vowels are next to each other in a word, the second vowel is silent. For example, in the word coat, you only hear the "O" pronounced.
- The spelling of a word remains the same if you add a prefix to it.
- Be alert for homonyms and homophones.
- Use mnemonic devices to help you remember the proper spelling. Mnemonic devices are tricks and tips that help you remember how to spell certain words. For example, take dessert versus desert. Remember that the letter "S" is used twice in dessert, because you always want seconds of dessert.
- See if you can find smaller words in the larger word. Spell those smaller words, and you can more easily deduce the correct spelling.
- Edit someone else's work. We are accustomed to not noticing mistakes in our own work because we know what the meaning is. Editing helps us to see common errors because we need to understand the writing in order to know the meaning.
Commonly Misspelled Words
Reviewing a list of commonly misspelled words is not going to teach you how to spell everything; however, it will acquaint you with some words that tend to be problems for a vast majority of people. Please note that the spelling in the list below is correct; any other spellings of words are not correct in American English.
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The best way to improve on spelling is to practice, and to look up words that you are unsure of, as opposed to just guessing the correct spelling.
Words With Multiple Valid Spellings
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"How to Spell a Word." YourDictionary, n.d. Web. 20 June 2018. <http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/spelling-and-word-lists/how-to-spell-a-word.html>.
How to Spell a Word. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20th, 2018, from http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/spelling-and-word-lists/how-to-spell-a-word.html