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Common misspellings
Common misspellings
Common misspellings
Common misspellings
Common misspellings
Common misspellings
Common misspellings
Common misspellings
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Common misspellings

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  • 1. Business, IT and Engineering Division Learning to Learn Spelling 1
  • 2. Contents PageCommon Misspellings 3Proofreading 5Types of errors 5Aids to memory 5Confused words 5Plurals 7 2
  • 3. Common misspellingsHere’s a quick-reference guide to the top misspellings according to the Oxford EnglishCorpus – an electronic collection of over 2 billion words of real English that helps us to seehow people are using the language and also shows us the mistakes that are most oftenmade.The table gives the correct spelling of the word, handy tips on getting it right, and alsothe most common misspellings that we’ve found in our research, so you can check to see ifany of the same mistakes have been tripping you up.Correct Spelling Spelling Advice Incorrect Spellingaccommodate, two cs, two ms accomodate, accomodationaccommodationachieve i before e acheiveapparently -ent not -ant apparantlyappearance ends with -ance appearencebasically ends with -ally basiclybeginning double n before the -ing beginingbelieve i before e beleive, belivebusiness begins with busi- buisnesscalendar -ar not -er calendercolleague -ea- in the middle colleguecoming one m commingcommittee double m, double t, double e commiteecompletely ends with -ely completlydefinitely -ite- not –ate- definatelydilemma -mm- not -mn- dilemnadisappear one s, two ps dissapeardisappoint one s, two ps dissapointembarrass two rs, two s’s embarassenvironment n before the m enviromentexistence ends with -ence existancefamiliar ends with -iar familarfinally two ls finalyforeign e before i foriegnforeseeable begins with fore- forseeableforty begins with for- fourtyforward begins with for- fowardfriend i before e freindfurther begins with fur- futherglamorous -mor- in the middle glamourousgovernment n before the m govermentguard begins with gua- gaurdCorrect Spelling Spelling Advice Incorrect Spelling 3
  • 4. happened ends with -ened happendharass, harassment one r, two s’s harrass, harrassmenthonorary -nor- in the middle honouraryhumorous -mor- in the middle humourousimmediately ends with -ely immediatlyincidentally ends with -ally incidentlyindependent ends with -ent independantinterrupt two rs interuptirresistible ends with -ible irresistableknowledge remember the d knowlegeliaise, liaison remember the second i: liais liase, liasonnecessary one c, two s’s neccessarynoticeable remember the middle e noticableoccasion two cs, one s ocassion, occassionoccurred, occurring two cs, two rs occured, occuringoccurrence two cs, two rs, -ence not occurance, occurence ancepiece i before e peicepossession two s’s in the middle and two posession at the endpreferred, preferring two rs prefered, preferingremember -mem- in the middle rember, remeberseparate -par- in the middle seperatetomorrow one m, two rs tommorow, tommorrowunfortunately ends with -ely unfortunatlyuntil one l at the end untillweird e before i wierdwherever one e in the middle whereeverwhich begins with wh- wich 4
  • 5. ProofreadingMany spelling errors remain in a document because it has not been properly proofread – ornot at all. It is essential that you do this before handing in any assignment but do NOT relyon your computer’s (grammar and) spellchecker to do this for you. It is unreliable and oftenwrong. It will miss some errors and occasionally suggest something is wrong when it is not.One of the simple principles it relies on is “that word is in my dictionary, so it’s OK”, whichclearly does not always work. A typing error may not be picked up by spellcheckers sincethe word does exist, such as “form” for “from”; “fiend” or “fried” for “friend”; “three” for “there”or “apologies” for “apologise”.You must also ensure that any document written in Word is set to English (UK), not (US).You can make it your default setting.Do make use of a good dictionary to check your spelling; that is one reason we have them.Types of errorSpelling errors could be placed into one of four categories:  omissions (e.g. buton)  additions (e.g. hopefull)  substitutions (e.g. attendence)  inversions (e.g. tabel)This might be useful to know when typing or checking spellings.Aids to memoryMany people have spelling ‘blind spots’ – they find that there are certain words which theyalways need to check or always hesitate over (is that ‘-ite’ or ‘-ate’? ‘ei’ or ‘ie’?). Try writingeach one of these on its own Post-it note and stick them in places where you will see themduring the day. Highlight the correct letter(s). Or simply compile a list of these words as yougo.If you search the internet you will find lots of little clever ways (mnemonics) of rememberingdifficult spellings e.g. separate = never separate a para from his chute.You may also like to compile a list of your own common misspellings to aid checking,especially to bear in mind in exams when you are writing by hand.Commonly confused words (known as Homophones)A homophone is a word that sounds like another word but it is spelled differently and,importantly, also has a different meaning. Knowing which one to use often needs aknowledge of grammar or parts of speech (e.g. if it is a noun, adjective or verb), plus use ofa dictionary. The following is a short list of such words: 5
  • 6. advice, advise aloud, allowedaccept, except affect, effectcompliment, complementdependent, dependant discrete, discreetenquire, inquire ensure, insure, assurehere, hearits, it’slicence, licensepast, passed principal, principlepractice, practisestraight, strait stationary, stationerythere, their, they’re to, too, twowhere, were, we’re whether, weatherwhose, who’syour, you’reThese are a few of the pairs that are often used wrongly.Compliment or complement?A compliment, or a complimentary remark, is something you pay someone when youwant to be nice: “What a nice dress!” “That’s very clever”. “You played very well” etc.Sometimes complimentary means ‘free’: e.g. complimentary tickets.A complement, or a complementary thing, is something that completes something: e.g. aship’s complement is her crew; her assignment has a complementary guide toexperimental techniques; yin is complementary to yang.Principle or principal?A principle is an underlying idea, or a moral belief, etc. A principal is either a Head (e.g. asort of Head-teacher); or an adjective describing the most important thing, “The principalpoint in this lecture is…”Practice or practise?A practice is a noun – something that you do, “there is a football practice tonight”; “I did 5hours’ piano practice yesterday”; “my usual practice is to warm up for five minutes first”; “sheis in General Practice”. (If you can say “a practice” in your sentence, then it is practice.)To practise is a verb – to do something, e.g. “I practised my vocabulary last night”; “hepractised his speech in front of a mirror.” 6
  • 7. Affect or effect?To affect is a verb – to do something, e.g. “she was affected deeply by the death of herhusband”; “to raise taxes affects everyone”.An effect is a noun – a thing, or result. Cause and effect are opposites. “The effects ofthe war were…”. Sometimes effects means possessions: “Carry your personal effectswith you”.Lie or lay – or laid?To lie is an intransitive verb – i.e. it has no object. You lie down.To lay is a transitive verb – i.e. it has an object. You lay something down.Plurals – a ChecklistAlthough nearly all nouns (=names of things) form their plurals by adding an ‘s’, the spellingof some plural words can cause difficulty. There is often no rule to help you predict or workout the correct form of plural. You have to learn particular words and their plurals one byone. Below is a list of most of the irregular or other forms.Note that this is not an exhaustive list but illustrates the plurals of those words which oftenoccur in academic writing. Singular form Plural form English words – regular plurals Most nouns in English form their plurals by adding an ‘s’ table tables Words ending in ‘-y’ change to ‘-ies’ party parties melody melodies quantity quantities English words – irregular plurals child children man men woman women fish fish sheep sheep species species series series die dice goose geese 7
  • 8. Some Latin plurals commonlyused in academic English criterion criteria phenomenon phenomena curriculum curricula medium media stadium stadia bacterium bacteria referendum referenda stimulus stimuli syllabus syllabi fungus fungi analysis analyses axis axes appendix appendices hypothesis hypotheses thesis theses crisis crises emphasis emphases 8

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