Spelling Problems in English

Scrabble tiles
Patrick LaRoque/Getty Images

Spelling words in English is challenging work. As a matter of fact, many native speakers of English have problems with spelling correctly. One of the main reasons for this is that many, many English words are NOT spelled as they are spoken. This difference between pronunciation and spelling causes a lot of confusion. The combination "ough" provides an excellent example:

Tough - pronounced - tuf (the 'u' sounding as in 'cup')
Through - pronounced - throo
Dough - pronounced - doe (long 'o')
Bought - pronounced - bawt

It's enough to make anyone crazy! This feature provides a guide to the most common problems when spelling words in English.

Swallowed Syllables - Three Syllables Pronounced as Two Syllables

Aspirin - pronounced - asprin
Different - pronounced - diffrent
Every - pronounced - evry

Swallowed Syllables - Four Syllables Pronounced as Three Syllables

Comfortable - pronounced - comfrtable
Temperature - pronounced - temprature
Vegetable - pronounced - vegtable

Homophones - Words That Sound the Same

two, to, too - pronounced - too
knew, new - pronounced - niew
through, threw - pronounced - throo
not, knot, naught - pronounced - not

Same Sounds - Different Spellings

'Eh' as in 'Let'

'Ai' as in 'I'

The following letters are silent when pronounced.

D - sandwich, Wednesday
G - sign, foreign
GH - daughter, light, right
H - why, honest, hour
K - know, knight, knob
L - should, walk, half
P - cupboard, psychology
S - island
T - whistle, listen, fasten
U - guess, guitar
W - who, write, wrong

Unusual Letter Combinations

GH = 'F'
cough, laugh, enough, rough

CH = 'K'
chemistry, headache, Christmas, stomach

EA = 'EH'
breakfast, head, bread, instead

EA = 'EI'
steak, break

EA = 'EE'
weak, streak

OU = 'UH' 
country, double, enough

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "Spelling Problems in English." ThoughtCo, Dec. 29, 2017, thoughtco.com/spelling-problems-in-english-1212366. Beare, Kenneth. (2017, December 29). Spelling Problems in English. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/spelling-problems-in-english-1212366 Beare, Kenneth. "Spelling Problems in English." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/spelling-problems-in-english-1212366 (accessed March 20, 2018).