English has some pretty weird words when it comes to spelling…YACHT is a perfect example. Many words are borrowed words from other languages (Italian, French, Greek, Latin) but are sometimes pronounced differently.

You may think writing and spelling are not as important as speaking, but we are using writing now more than ever.

A great way to practice your English is writing: texting, emailing, updating Facebook statuses, etc. To write effectively, you need to be able to spell. Knowing how to spell correctly helps others to understand you. It will also help you understand more of what you read every day. The more that you learn about spelling, the more you understand how words function. This knowledge can help you figure out how to pronounce the words and what the new words mean.

The most important thing to remember is to choose the English you will be using…?

British, American, Canadian and Australian English have different spellings for some words. Example: colour vs color.

Okay, once you have decided, you can use these 5 easy ways to improve your spelling:

  1. Using Mnemonics:

Remembering stuff can be really difficult sometimes! But if we give some meaning to that information, it becomes easier to memorise. A few examples of Mnemonic devices would include:

  • Song/rhyme: ‘i before e except after c’
  • Acronym: We all know LOL and BRB, but we can make our own to help us remember spelling. RHYTHM could be “Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move
  • Use a sentence to explain AND spell a word. An island IS a LAND that is surrounded by water

2. Learn the Rules:

? Like when you’re learning to drive a car. you need to know the rules of the road. I know misspelling a word may not hurt anyone, but knowing the rules will give you more confidence with writing.

You can start off with the basic rules:

  • Every word has at least one vowel
  • Every syllable has one vowel
  • C can say /k/ or /s/. C says /s/ before an e, i, or y (centcitycycle). It says /k/ before everything else (catclip)
  • G can say /g/ or /j/. G may say /j/ before an e, i, or y (gemgiantgym). It says /g/ before everything else (gardenglad)
  • Q is always followed by a u (queen)
  • Double the consonants f, l, and s at the end of a one-syllable word that has just one vowel (stiffspellpass)
  • To spell the sound of /k/ at the end of a word, we use ck or k. Use ck after a short vowel (sick). After everything else, use a k (milk)
  • Capitalise names (John)

You can then tackle the next batch of rules:

  • A, e, o, and u usually say their name at the end of a syllable (a-pronmegou-nit)
  • Words do not end in v or j. We add a silent e at the end of the word (have)
  • Contractions replace letter(s) with an apostrophe to shorten a phrase (I’ve represents I have)
  • I and o may say /ī/ and /ō/ before two consonants (kindsold). /j/ is spelled dge after a short vowel (edge)
  • Capitalise the names of places (London)

3. Learn the commonly misspelt words:

There are still some times while writing, that I will have to pause and think ‘Does that have 1 ‘c’ or 2?’. Now, it is quite easy to fall into the trap of relying on GRAMMARLY or auto-correct to fix our mistakes, but if we learn it right the first time… ?

Start learning these 10 commonly misspelt words:

  • across
  • basically
  • beginning
  • believe
  • foreign
  • friend
  • forty
  • interrupt
  • until
  • weird

4. Make your own list or dictionary:

Many students have found it very useful to have a little book that they can refer to if they cannot remember the tricky words. They have also learned to group letters together when spelling (like how you remember a telephone number).

The word “embarrassed,” for example, can be chunked like this:


5. Sound the word out and play word games to help you remember

Okay, we cannot sound out EVERY word (like FRIEND), but it can help with some words. Playing word games is a fun way to learn new words and how to spell them. The SCRABBLE board game and spelling apps can be enjoyed by nearly any age.

With these five methods, you will be on your way to improving your spelling.

And remember: Practice makes Perfect!


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