IELTS: Top 10 Spelling Mistakes



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How to Avoid Common Spelling Mistakes

Five Methods:

It's easy to make spelling errors in your writing, but it's also easy to avoid common spelling mistakes. Spelling in English is particularly difficult; English borrows so many words from other languages that nearly every spelling rule has an exception. When you're working on spelling, use tricks and tools to help you, even if you've already mastered the basic spelling rules. Also, focus on learning homophones, which are words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings, as they can trip you up if you're not careful.

Steps

Spelling Help

Using Tools and Tricks

  1. Have a dictionary handy.These days, it's easy to look up a word when you're not sure of its spelling. Often, if you just type the word into a search engine, the correct word will pop up, and you'll be ready to go!
    • If you're trying to decide between 2 similar words, you can put both in the search engine, such as "their and there." Often, you'll find a page that lists the differences between the 2 words.
    • If you don't always have access to the Internet, keep a print dictionary on hand. You can also download dictionary apps that you can use when you're not online.
  2. Make use of spellcheck.If you're using word processing software or even just writing in a browser, you'll likely see red or blue squiggly lines appearing under words. That tells you that a word could be spelled wrong, and you should check it out.
    • Spellcheck isn't right 100% of the time, but when it does pop up, you should definitely take a closer look at the word and maybe look it up somewhere else.
  3. Read your work aloud before sending it out.Spellcheck won't catch everything, and you're more likely to catch typos if you read things aloud. Doing so makes you slow down and look at words more carefully, so you can consider each word to ensure you've chosen the correct one.
    • Programs like Grammarly and the Hemingway Editor can help you check for things that spellcheck misses, like passive voice or improper word use. These don't replace careful editing, but they can supplement it.
  4. Create a list of words you have trouble with.If you're always looking up certain words, it can help to make a list of them. That way, you can quickly reference the list without having to refer to a dictionary.
    • For instance, common words people have trouble with include "definitely," "separate," "environment," "judgment," and "February."
    • You could also include short explanations of words that sound similar (homophones) but have different spellings, such as "your and you're." That way, you don't have to look them up each time.
  5. Learn the right pronunciation of words to help spell them correctly.Some words are difficult to spell because of common mispronunciations. When you learn how to say them, they become easier to spell.
    • For instance, the word "espresso" is often said "expresso," which may lead you to spell it with an "x." Try repeating "espresso" out loud until it sticks in your brain. You could even make up a funny saying, such as "I don't express myself until I espresso myself."

Learning Basic Spelling Rules

  1. Double the letters "s," "f," "z," and "l" at the end of the word after a vowel.This rule applies mainly to 1-syllable words, such as "fluff," "fuzz," "lull," and "less." These words all have the double consonant at the end.
    • You will always find exceptions to the rule, such as "biz," but they are often exceptions for a reason. "Biz," for instance," is a slang abbreviation for "business," so it doesn't have a double "z" at the end.
    • Other examples include "shell," "lass," "fizz," and "ball."
  2. Use "ck" immediately after vowels and "k" after another consonant.In 1-syllable words, pick "ck" when the word has a short vowel and no other consonant between the vowel and the end of the word, such as "quack," "crack," "lack," or "duck." Choose just "k" without a "c" if there's another consonant before the "k", such as "cork," "flank," "flask," or "dork."
  3. Double the consonant when adding "-ed" or "-ing" if the vowel is short.Typically, to make a word past tense, you add "-ed." To make it into a gerund (a verb that functions as a noun) or present participle (a verb with "ing" on the end), you add "-ing." The trouble is the spelling rules change according to the vowel sound in the word.
    • If the vowel before the consonant is short, you double the consonant when adding the suffix, such as in the words "winning," "panned," "stopping," and "penning," formed from "win," "pan," "stop," and "pen," respectively.
    • A suffix is an added ending to a word.
    • If the vowel before the consonant is long, you use a single consonant when adding the suffix, such as in the words "pined," "paring," "condoned," and "naming," formed from "pine," "pare," "condone," and "named."
    • Only double the consonant in 2-syllable words if the stress is on the second syllable, such as in "preferred," "admitted," or "committed."
  4. Put "i" before "e" except after "c." You may have heard this rhyme before, but it does need a little addition: "i" before "e" except after "c" or when making the "/ay/" sound. It doesn't rhyme as well, but it is more accurate.
    • For instance, "fierce," "tried," and "friend" all have "i" before "e."
    • However, "perceive," "receive," and "conceive" all use "ei" because they come after the "c."
    • The "/ay/"-sound rule comes into effect with words like "neighbor," "heinous," "weigh," and "feign."
    • Of course, there are always exceptions. "Weird," "seizure," "leisure," "sieve," "friend," and "mischief" don't follow these rules, for instance.
  5. Ditch the "e" at the end when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel.Suffixes in this category include "-ible," "-able," "-ing," and "-ous." When you add these to the end of the word where the "e" is not pronounced, you get rid of the "e."
    • For example, "pore" becomes "porous"; "forage" becomes "foraging"; "response" turns into "responsible"; and "move" turns into "movable."
    • An exception to this rule is when you need to keep the soft pronunciation of "-ce" or "-ge." Then, keep the "e," such as in "outrage" turning to "outrageous," "notice" becoming "noticeable," or "manage" becoming "manageable."
    • Also, keep the second "e" when there's a double "e" at the end of the word, such as "see" in "seeable" or "flee" in "fleeing." These "Es" are kept so that the pronunciation is correct.
  6. Use apostrophes to join 2 words and to make words possessive.Apostrophes can be confusing, and for good reason! Sometimes, an apostrophe joins 2 words together into a contraction, such as "you are" becoming "you're." Other times, it makes a word possessive, such as "the cat belonging to that person" becoming "the person's cat."
    • For instance, "you have" becomes "you've," and "they are" becomes "they're."
    • For possessive words, "the book Jessie owns" becomes "Jessie's book," while "the cake the man owns" changes to "the man's cake."
    • It gets a little more confusing with the word "it." "It's" seems like it is possessive because of the apostrophe, but it is actually joining "it is" in a contraction. "Its" is the possessive form of "it."

Making Words Plural

  1. Use an "-s" to make the most simple words plural.Adding an "-s" to the word is the most basic way to make a word plural. It works on words that end in vowels or consonants with some exceptions.
    • For instance, "apple" becomes "apples"; "tree" turns to "trees"; "book" changes to "books"; "painting" becomes "paintings"; and "signal" changes to "signals."
  2. Add "-es" to words ending in "-ch," "-ss," "-s," "-sh," "-z," "-x," and "-o." When making words plural that end in these letters, you need to add "-es" rather than just "-s." This creates a new syllable in the word.
    • For instance, words like "crush," "buzz," "fox," "dish," "loss," and "echo" become "crushes," "buzzes," "foxes," "dishes," "losses," and "echoes."
    • Some exceptions to this rule include words like "radios," "typos," "altos," and "epochs." In the case of "epochs," the "-ch" sounds like a hard "k," which is why you don't add "-es."
  3. Change words that end in "-fe" to "-ves" when making them plural.This rule applies to most words that end in "-fe," such as "knife," but it doesn't apply it to words that end with a vowel and then "f," such as "chef." Those words just take an "s" at the end.
    • For example, "knife" becomes "knives"; "wife" turns into "wives"; and "life" becomes "lives."
  4. Exchange the "y" for "-ies" when words end in a consonant and a "y." With these words, "y" may act as the only vowel in the word, such as "spy" or "shy." However, this rule also works on longer words, such as "apply" or "supply."
    • These words would become "spies," "shies," "applies," and "supplies," respectively.

Learning Confusing Homophones

  1. Use "too" to show an excess, "to" as a preposition, and "two" to refer to a number.These 3 words can be difficult to spell correctly because they are so commonly used, and they're pronounced the same. "Too" is what you use to show that there's an excessive amount of something, such as "She ate too much chocolate" or "They watched too much television." "To" is the form you use as a preposition before a noun, such as "go to the store" or "run to the end of the block." "Two" refers to the number 2.
    • "To" usually indicates going somewhere, so to remember it, think of "go" and "to" each having just one "o" and one other letter. "To" is used as a preposition and an infinitive phrase conjunction.
    • You can tell "too" means excessive because it has too many "Os" in it.
  2. Pick "affect" for a verb and "effect" for a noun.While this rule doesn't work every time, it will point you in the right direction most of the time. Remember, a verb does action, while a noun is what does the action or has it done to it.
    • Another way to remember the difference is think of cause and effect, replacing "cause" with "affect." "Cause" iscausingthe effect, so "affect" isaffectingthe effect.
    • "Affect" is only used as a noun when it means it produced a feeling or "affect." It's the root of words like "affection." It's also the root of "affectation," as another meaning of the verb "affect" is to "put on a pretense."
    • Likewise, "effect" is used as a verb when talking about bringing about change, as in, "to effect change."
  3. Use "they're" for a contraction, "their" for possession, and "there" to point to an object."They're" is a contraction of "they are," such as "They're going to the movies" or "They're eating apples." "Their" is the possessive form, such as "Their car is next to yours" or "Let's go to their house." "There" tells you where things are, such as "The cat is over there" or "Please go and sit right there."
    • Remember, "there" shows you places, so it has "here" in it.
  4. Pick "where" for location and "were" for a past-tense form of "to be." "Where" asks about the location of something, such as "Where are you going?" "Were," on the other hand, shows something happened in the past, such as "They were going to the store when they got in an accident."
    • Another common mix-up with these words is "we're," which is a contraction of "we" and "are," such as "We're eating oatmeal."
    • Remember to look for "here" in "where" to help you remember it's a place word.
  5. Choose "then" for time and "than" for comparisons.Even though these words aren't exact homophones, they can still be confusing. Just keep in mind that "than" is the word you use when comparing things, while "then" refers to time, such as "then and now."
    • For instance, you'd say, "She's smarter than him," or "They ate more bananas than the other table."
    • For "then," you could write, "We ate better back then," or "The area was quieter then."
  6. Pick "accept" for the verb and "except" for a preposition.Remember, the verb does the action, and "accept" will always be a verb that means to take something given by someone else or to agree to something. "Except" means everything but a few or all but one.





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Date: 07.12.2018, 21:02 / Views: 45575