The English language develops from several different language families. Evolving from different cultures and languages, learning how to spell words correctly can be a big nightmare! But improving your English spelling is not impossible.
In the English language, different ways exist to spell the same sound & different ways exist to pronounce the same spelling.
Accept it or not, but your spelling skills are used throughout your life. It evaluates you as a person. No doubt, English spellings are full of contradictions as well as exceptions. It implies that sometimes it’s become difficult to apply logic when you’re not sure how a word should be spelled. For instance, you have heard about the word “phone”. It sounds as if it should begin with an ‘f but it begins with ’p’.
Before moving on tricks, let’s have a look at an important question: why English spelling is necessary?
Why English spelling is important?
You need to learn to spell in English while learning this language. Maybe a thought may arise in your mind that writing and spelling aren’t so important for everyday communication. But if you are thinking that you only need to write in school, you must give it another thought!
There are a bunch of instances to prove the statement right, “today, people are writing more than ever”. People update their Facebook status. They used to text each other. Writing reviews of things they buy on Amazon, writing emails to friends and at work, many other things require writing.
You don’t realize this. But writing is a big part of your life. That’s why spelling plays so important role! If you know how to spell correctly, it helps others to understand you. It also helps you understand better all what you read.
Improving your speaking skills can really help you to figure out the meaning of new words, along with their pronunciation.
English spelling can be frustrating from writer to master as poor spelling can be both embarrassing and costly. But with some patience, you can improve yourself in your spelling by using some techniques used by good spellers.
Don’t worry! Here are simple tips and tricks in this article that can help you make rapid progress.
How To Avoid Common Spelling Mistakes?
We agree that memorizing information can be typical. But when that info becomes more meaningful, it becomes easier to remember it. It’s quite easy to turn information into a picture, a sentence or a rhyme with the help of mnemonic devices to remember.
Three types of mnemonic devices used to remember difficult spelling are:
- Rhymes and songs are interesting ways to make words and information much easier to remember. For example, “using i before e except using after c or when it sounds like an as in neighbor and weigh.” You can see that this rhyme tells you when one must write “ie” and when to write “ei.” You can listen to any another rhyming song for spelling or you can make up your own.
- An acronym is the other best device to memorize spellings. It takes the first letter of a few words and places them together. You might be using acronyms online or in texts. Suppose, LOL stands for “Laughing Out Loud.” One way to remember the tricky spellings is by just turning each letter into a word. Start turning difficult words into silly sentences keep them in your mind for a long time.
- In order to understand and explain the difficult part of spelling, some mnemonics use sentences also. Do you face trouble while spelling the word “island”? Now you don’t need to! Remember that “An island is a land.” Similarly, “There’s a rat in separate!” You can search more useful sentences on online spunky.com.
Learn a few rules
One of the best ways to learn is to know the rules clearly. You can start by learning a few of them. Gradually as you will learn new words, you will get to know about more rules. Till then you’ll be able to spell many words.
You can find a short list of basic spelling rules at many renowned sites like online spunky.com. Never go for the way to learn them all at once! Instead of doing this, you can learn and practice one or two at a time till the time you understand them well.
Now when next time you find a word troubling you to spell, try to find out if it follows a rule.
For instance, why it happens that the ‘y’ in “friendly” turn into ‘i’ in “friendliness”?
Have you ever noticed while adding a suffix to a word ending with the letter ‘y’, that ‘y’ changes to ‘i’? But it doesn’t happen if the suffix starts with an ‘i’.
Therefore, some people can be “trying” but that same person “tries.” Also, you can say that you can be “partying” or you can go to many “parties.” You must thank to knowing one word making you learn how to spell many others following the same rule.
Learn commonly misspelled words
There are some words that are so tough to spell even for the native speakers too. Scroll the page a little bit to read some commonly misspelled English words to avoid any type of confusion in your learning strategies.
Actually, many commonly misspelled words are not those words that you need to use very often. Here is a small list of commonly misspelled words that you might need to know to improve your spelling skills:
It’s quite obvious that you don’t need to memorize all these words in one turn! Don’t need to run. Just learn them one by one, begin with the ones you use the most often.
Make a list of the words you have trouble spelling
Yes, maybe you are already aware with most of the commonly misspelled words. Or it may be that you just don’t use the word “vacuum” while writing and that too so often.
We want to suggest you the best tricks here. That’s why we are saying that instead of studying a list of words made by someone else, why not to create your own list?
Follow these simple steps:
- Write down all those words that you have trouble spelling.
- Learn their spelling rules or memorize them with mnemonics.
You might get trouble while reading or writing some words in terms of their spelling. For instance: “percent,” “preview,” “presentation” etc…
Knowing about the things that you need to learn is a crucial part of learning.
Check word origins in the dictionary
There are many English words that have Greek and Roman origin. This implies that Greek or Latin words are present in them. When you will know about the common roots, it can really help you to spell and understand more words correctly.
Whenever you search for a particular word in the dictionary, you might check the meaning as well as the part of speech. Sometimes, it can also be useful to check the origin of the words i.e: from where they have arrived from. And yes, many dictionaries have the origin of the words.
No doubt, the memory aids are very useful for memorizing even the most difficult words to spell. But the good spellers never completely rely on memory. They make use of a reliable, up-to-date dictionary. Many kinds of dictionaries are available for you, both in print and online. You will find many instructors who will have strong preferences about spelling conventions while others will accept any standard spelling only.
Sometimes it’s much better to crush the difficult words into small parts to spell them efficiently and effectively. This method is known as chunking. Chunking implies that you separate the word into chunks. Hence, in this way manner, you’re not remembering or memorizing the spelling for one long word but just a few short ones.
Have a look on one example to understand it well to apply it in your real life for spelling improvement. The word “embarrassed,” can be chunked like this:
Now what you are required to do is just remember the spelling for these four short words. It will enable you to spell “embarrassed” correctly every time. You can try this with any word in which you faces trouble to spell in right manner.
Sound it out
It’s a very simple spelling trick usually taught to little kids as it is easy to grasp. Whenever you’re not sure how to spell a word, What should you do? Just say it out loud, very slowly. After that write down what you hear.
But it will not work with every word. For example, the word “friend,” doesn’t sound the way it’s written. You will have to use some other method for words that don’t sound the way as they’re spelled.
In the end, what all matters is you should be able to get the correct spelling by sounding the word out. You may be confused for similar words like “blink” and “blank”, better to sound them out, letter by letter. This will not only help you to spell well but also improves your pronunciation.
Draw a picture
Drawing a picture can also serve as another mnemonic device. Have you ever noticed – the word “bed” actually looks like a bed or not? Using pictures can help you to remember spellings easily.
Mold the most difficult words into pictures to spell them properly. For example, “balloon” looks as if it has two balloons in the middle. Simply draw any word in which you’re facing trouble with, converting letters into pictures. Hence, you will easily memorize and spell the words quickly.
Play word games
The fun way to test your new spelling skills is to play word games. It is one of the most interesting methods to learn new words. You can go for classic board games like Scrabble and Scattergories for spelling practice. Spelling City and SpellTower are other fun apps to test yourself much better. You have methods now that can improve your English spelling, all you need to do is to work on it.
Crosswords and codewords
Do you know about the most innovative and best way to make your brain work harder and improve your general knowledge is solving the puzzle that works well to improve your spelling skills also?
Crosswords provide you a series of clues which are required to get fit correctly into overlapping horizontal and vertical boxes. And codewords are somewhat similar to crosswords, except for the thing that it involves working out with numbers as per their respective letters.
Now you might be thinking how it is helping you to spell the words accurately? See, if you get the spelling wrong in either of the game whether it’s a crossword or a codeword, the other words won’t fit properly. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a dictionary beside you.
Watch out for homophones
There exist many English words that have identical or similar pronunciations but they have different spellings. For all the writers, using the wrong word of a homophone pair can be one of the most common spelling pitfalls.
Here are some homophones where people mostly make mistakes to spell them correctly:
Use your computer spellchecker
Many people think that spell checker is a proofreading tool for spelling purpose. The spellchecker will catch any combinations of letters which do not form a known English word. But for positive outcomes, you should not rely completely on your spellchecker. This is because it can miss many incorrectly spelled words forming another English word. The spellchecker will not record who is as a misspelling of whose.
Over-relying on this tool can be a big danger for learners as you may become less conscious of your spellings as you write and revise and this may consequently lose confidence in your ability for recognizing correct spellings. Students who make themselves totally dependent on spell-checkers suffer a lot, especially during exams. In exams, they are not allowed to use any electronic aid.
You can also make use of your intuitions for correct spelling by turning off the spellchecker and devoting at least one revision to spell. During revision, if you observe that a word may be used incorrectly, look it up. This is the most encouraging activity in the process of spelling. It is also the only reliable way of making your spelling skills much better than before.
In the end, you can turn the spell checker back on just to be sure that a spelling error cannot arise further when checked by examiner or person other than you.
Watch English television with subtitles
Television is one of the best and most used entertaining sources worldwide. Yes, it is the device that can help you to improve your spelling skills. You can get better at spelling without even taking classes or learning them. You must watch more English shows, movies to spell well during communication.
Just switch the subtitles on and you will get to know how the words you’re hearing should be spelled. They will move at a fast pace for you to make notes, but you’ll learn through osmosis. This will help you to recognize the instances where a word has been written by you.
Reading plenty of things in English is another fun way of learning to spell. If you will expose to English words on a regular basis, it will help new spellings to sink in and will improve your vocabulary. Reading enables you to absorb new things, information increasing your knowledge too along with the spelling skills.
How you can go for it? You can try to read the English translation of a book you have already read in your own language. This is because of the reason that you will already be familiar to its plot and characters. By keeping yourself up-to-date with English language magazines, websites, and newspapers, you can introduce more English to your daily reading.
Word of the day emails
You wanna learn new words, then use word of the day emails. Using this will also improve your spelling power. Such emails help you in learning more unusual words such as words that are used by British people.
But there are some people who are dedicated to learners like this English Learner’s Word of the Day which teaches you the various meanings of words and their contexts as well as the spelling and pronunciation.
Make a collection of your Word of the Day emails in a dedicated folder on your computer so that you can look back over them whenever you want. Add each new word to a Post-It note and paste it on your cupboard. This way you will see the new words when you’re getting ready to go out every morning.
Spelling competitions with friends
Do you know anyone around you who is also learning the English language? If yes, you must give him or her a challenge for spelling competition. Play it in turns by giving each other a word to spell. You will be astonished how much this will enhance your knowledge.
The competitive element adds more fun to this process as well as helping you to spell more and more words correctly and confidently. How to go for it now? Make a list of the spellings you find hard and tricky taking help of a dictionary to help you in compiling the list if required. After that try to learn them by heart. Finally swap lists with your competitor to test each other.
Put posters and flashcards up in your room
An instant search of Google images for “English vocabulary poster” indicates hundreds of posters that are designed to help you grasp a good English vocabulary. And this is how you will get to learn the spellings more.
If there are some particular words whose spellings may be troubling you, you can try making your own poster for tricky spellings. Paste the poster anywhere in your room and study it for a few minutes each day. Try to read each of the spellings, now recall them without looking at them.
Writing spellings out several times
This trick sounds dull, but once you will try it, you will learn more spellings by writing a word down several times. What you can do is to only look at the original word for the first two or three times, but then try to write the word again two or three more times without doing cheating or looking at them. It may seem to be very boring sometimes but it can help you a lot.
Learn Plural Versions
What do you think learning plural versions of a word is very easy and simple as adding an ‘S’ to the end of a word? No, it’s not. You can do much better by spelling plurals by learning rules for their different versions of words. It may vary based on the ending of a word and its origins. For instance, the plural of the word “berry” is “berries”.
Keep a notebook of spellings
Whenever you find any word quite difficult to spell just write it down in a notebook. It gives you an instant guide of spellings and serves as a good future reference. It’s probably going to be quicker instead of trying to look for the word in the dictionary.
No doubt that English spelling can seem a struggle many times, but don’t lose hope ever. By exposing to this language in the maximum amount, you’ll learn more and become much more confident.
Ask Someone to Check Your Spelling
There is another way to overcome your spelling issues apart from continuous improvement with a dictionary or spell-check. You can ask your any friend, relative, colleague or your partner to read what you have written and check the spelling for you.
Bonus Tips – Use Grammarly
After creating a free account, you can either use its mobile application, browser extension or Grammarly’s editor to automatically detects grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in your writing.
Spelling skill is a very important part of English vocabulary. Improving spelling skills allows you to become more confident and thus you can achieve success in life easier. We hope that all 20 tricks and techniques have helped you to tackle your spelling mistakes and weaknesses.