Tips to Improve Your Spelling

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Nothing makes your writing look unpolished like misspelled words. While we can depend on technology like spell checkers to let us know when we've made errors, there are limits to what technology can do. 

Read over this list of techniques and try to make them a part of your routine. 

1. Make Yourself a List of Problem Words

If there are certain words that you know you misspell frequently, make yourself a spelling list.

Practice writing these words ten times each, just like you did in elementary school. Use flashcards to practice a little every night and eliminate words when you feel you've conquered them.

2. Keep a "Problem Word" File in Your Computer

Each time you run a spell-checker and find a word that you've misspelled, copy and paste the word into your file. Later you can add it to your list (above).

3. Each Time You Practice a Word, Spell It Out Loud

Later, you will recall how the word sounded as you spelled it right. You'll be surprised how well this works!

4. Review the Rules for Prefixes and Suffixes

You'll avoid many mistakes once you understand the difference between "inter" and "intra," for example.

5. Study Common Root Words of Words With Greek and Latin Origins

This is a trick used by many spelling bee participants. Understanding etymology can add a layer of logic to word spellings that will make them easier to remember.

 

6. Memorize Clumps of Words That Belong to Special Groups

For example, you will find that the group of words that contain "ough" (rhyming with tough) is finite and manageable. By observing words that do and don't belong together, you will reduce uncertainty about many similar words that don't make the list.

More lists of special groups would include:

  • aire words like questionnaire and millionaire
  • mn words like hymn and column
  • ps words like psychology and pseudonym
  • ible words like edible and audible

Be sure to revisit this list frequently.

7. Read

Many words become familiar to us because we see them often. The more you read, the more words you will see, and the more you'll memorize — even though you won't realize it.

8. Use a Pencil

You can mark your books with light pencil marks to indicate words you'd like to practice. Just remember to go back and erase! If you happen to use an eReader, be sure to highlight and bookmark words you'd like to practice.

9. Practice With a Few Online Spelling Quizzes

This is a good way to find frequently-misspelled or commonly-confused words.

10. Visualize Yourself Carrying Out an Activity to Match a Problem Word

For example, if you have trouble remembering how to spell edible, conjure up and image of the word in your head, then picture yourself nibbling on the word. (Silly activities are often the most effective.)

Any effort you make to improve your reading skills will have a surprising effect. You'll find that spelling becomes much easier with practice.

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Fleming, Grace. "Tips to Improve Your Spelling." ThoughtCo, Nov. 20, 2017, thoughtco.com/tips-to-improve-your-spelling-1856892. Fleming, Grace. (2017, November 20). Tips to Improve Your Spelling. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/tips-to-improve-your-spelling-1856892 Fleming, Grace. "Tips to Improve Your Spelling." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/tips-to-improve-your-spelling-1856892 (accessed November 23, 2017).