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Spelling Right and Wrong

Writing Home Page
Also look at: Vocabulary and INDEX Spelling English the United Kingdom way and Spelling Tips
This is a list of words misspelt in essays. Many would have been highlighted by a spellchecker. Most of us tend to spell the same words incorrectly over and over again. By identifying what those words are we give ourselves the opportunity to improve. Where words would not be picked out by a spellchecker, because both are correct spellings of different words, I have given phrases that show the difference.

The correct words are in alphabetical order. If a correct word is in a blue box, you can click on the word for a relevant spelling rule.

I need advice.
Advice is a
noun.     Advice rhymes with vice.

Will you advise me?
Advise is a verb.     Advise me rhymes with surprise me.

agonize can be agonise, but this is unusual
I agonize over z and s. I am going to start a z s checklist, but, I usually use s instead of z in all cases where it is permitted, as you may have noticed on the website.

The United States has made z standard: organize - randomize etc. In the United Kingdom we can use either. Using s makes life simpler, because there are some ise words that should not be ize. These are when endings like prise - cise - vise are used, as in comprise - incise (make an incision) - televise. (Ask the Oxford dictionary)

always not allways
a lot of effort not alot
apparent not apparant
not arguement
or arguemment
because not becuse or becuase
being not bein
benefit not benifit
borderline not boarderline
brief not breif
comprehendible not comprehendable
conclusion not conclussion
I chose this yesterday.
My chosen topic is choice.
I choose this now.
I will choose tomorrow.
I will be choosing tomorrow.
not choosen
not chosed
not chosing
not dicision
not desisons
definitely not definately
or definatly
development not developement
difficulty not dificulty
Mrs D, Mrs I
Mrs F.F.I
Mrs C, Mrs U,
Mrs L.T.Y,
Engels not Engles
Engel means "angel" in German. By coincidence the "e" and "l" are in the same position in angel as in the name of Marx's friend.
Engels' materialist beliefs not Engel's materialist beliefs
His name is Engels, so the apostrophe goes after the s.
With Marx, it would be Marx's materialist beliefs.
You have to know if the name ends in s.
experiences not expereinces
focused not focussed
She is filling the hole and filing the rough edge. It takes two ls to fill, but only one to file
Freud's ideas not Freuds ideas
not fulfill
furthermore not futhermore
grammar not grammer
I am frequently told that someone's "spelling and grammer" are good. My spelling is poor, so I do not notice until the spellchecker picks grammer out. There is a trick that might help me remember. Look at the endings of the words. The correct ending is AR - my initials. (Andrew Roberts)
knowledge not knowelage
loose trousers (not tight)
lose your trousers (they are lost)
loosen your trousers (make them less tight)
looser trousers (less tight)
a loser (someone who loses)
not lose trousers
not loose your trousers
not losen your trousers
not loser trousers
not a looser
All the words related to lost have one o
All the words related to loose (slack or set free) have two os

You will not lose your mind if you let it loose on the problem
But if your trousers are too loose, you could lose them

If loose loses an o, it is lost (well, actually, it is lose)

not necesary
not nessities
The double "ss" makes a hissing sound. If you can remember that there is one c and a double ss, somewhere, the hiss may remind you which is which.
can be
this is unusual, but is the spelling I use
perceive not percieve
pieces not peices
plan, pronounced plan, gives planning and planned
plane, pronounced plAne, gives planing (plAning) and planed (plAned)

I plan to plAne a piece of wood
To block the wind beneath the door
But I have planned plAning before

not posesses
public not puplic
quote not qote
referenced not referrenced
not relevence
or relevent
Rousseau not Rosseau
or Rosseays
sharply not sharpley
strength not strenght
not submiting
sufficient not sufficent
There is no point moaning.
Their moan is loud.
not Their is no point moaning.
not There moan is loud.
There is here with a T - It is often used about places
Their is heir with a T - It is about people
tightly not tightley
It is too late to go. not It is to late too go
views not veiws
Were you there?
Where were you?
A place where people are abused
A place where people were abused

not A place were people where abused
a woman's hair
women's hair
not writter
not writting

Spelling Rules

I before e, except after c

When the sound is like the ee in meet, but it is spelt with an i and an e, the i goes before the e, except after c.

Two examples are belief and perceive.

As with most things in English, there are exceptions: seize, weird, counterfeit.

Drop your silent e before a vowel

The e at the end of words like argue, use and come is silent.
Sometimes the e is dropped when you make a longer word by adding a suffix:

The final e is dropped before adding a suffix beginning with a vowel:
    come becomes coming
    inquire becomes inquiry
    subtle becomes subtly
    use becomes using
Although argue becomes argument,
the final e usually stays when the suffix begins with a consonant:
    use becomes useful
    arrange becomes arrangement
    complete becomes completely
    hope becomes hopeful
    sincere becomes sincerely

Divorce double lls when you compound

Compounding words means making one word out of two. We stick full together with fill to make fulfil. Notice that as we marry the words, we divorce the ls. Double ll becomes single l in compound words.

Other examples are skilful, already, altogether, always, although, welcome and welfare.


Look at the q words in an English dictionary and you will see that they all have u as the second letter. I have only just found that out! Apparently q is always followed by u.

z s checklist

There is a suffix (fix on the end) word ize. But it can also be spelt ise. Convention spells a word ending with that sound as ize.


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