(ordered by seriousness) ESL Vocabulary Lists Parts of Speech Lists A-Z Idioms and Proverbs Grammar Videos
(ordered by category) Tests and Games Top Tip Install a grammar checker
for your browser
How To Improve Your English Spelling
Five Ways To Improve Your SpellingEnglish spelling is hard because the sounds of the letters are so inconsistent. Here are five ways to improve your spelling:
(1) Use mnemonics devices.A mnemonic device, or a memory device, is any technique that helps you to remember something. For example:
- "Richard of York gave battle in vain." (This is a mnemonic device for remembering the colors / colours of the rainbow, which are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.)
(1) Tell a story.
- Will your conscience let you con science?
- There's a rat in separate.
- That tattoo is tat too. ("Tat" is a slang word for something that looks low-quality.)
(2) Use an abbreviation.
- weird = when everything is really dark
- rhythm = r + helps your two hips move
(2) Use a rhyme.Here is a well-known example:
- "i before e except after c, but if you hear an A, it's the other way."
- believe (i before e) , brief (i before e) , eighth (sounds like A) , weigh (sounds like A) , receive (comes after c)
(2) Tackle the main culprits first.Here are the 10 most commonly misspelled words in English:
- separate, calendar, unnecessary, questionnaire, accidentally, necessary, surprise, embarrass, accommodation, and receive.
- Our accommodation can house two Cs and two Ms.
- What? There are two Rs in surprise.
- Calendar should be calenday.
- Spell embarrass with "emb" + two of everything else.
(3) Study the spelling rulesIf you're studying or teaching English, learning the spelling rules is essential. If you're a native speaker, you probably apply these rules without much thought, but learning them is still useful to fine-tune your spelling and improve writing confidence.
Here is an example of a common spelling rule:
(4) Break the Word DownTo help with spelling, break the word down into prefixes, root words, and suffixes.
|Prefix||Root Word||Suffix||Correct Spelling|
Studying affixes is useful not only to improve your spelling but also to help you decipher the meanings of unfamiliar words. It is worth noting that many affixes and the roots of words originate from Greek and Latin, so as part of your mission to become an expert speller and word decipherer, you should learn these too.
(5) Play spelling gamesSpelling games like Scrabble are an excellent way to improve spelling. This is why we wrote a Scrabble-themed spelling game called WordUp, which you can find on our sister site www.youAgainst.me.
(WordUp can be played as an individual or as a group challenge. It is free, and there are no logins.)
Here is a short video explaining how to play WordUp:
Why Is Spelling So Hard in English?There are five common causes of misspellings.
(1) Inconsistency with VowelsThe sounds of the vowels are inconsistent. For example:
(2) Lack of Clarity with VowelsIn some English words, the vowel is pronounced like a short "uh" sound (called a schwa), which means writers don't know which vowel to choose. For example:
|vowel||vowel as a schwa|
(3) Spelling Inconsistency with ConsonantsThe sounds of consonants can be inconsistent too. For example:
(4) Typing ErrorsTypically, with typing errors, the letters are transposed (e.g., "teh" instead of "the").
(5) Homophones and Near HomophonesHomophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings. For example:
Help Us Improve Grammar Monster
- Do you disagree with something on this page?
- Did you spot a typo?
Find Us Quicker!
- When using a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing), you will find Grammar Monster quicker if you add #gm to your search term.