Top Tips for English Spelling Correction


English spelling can, at times, be particularly difficult, even for those who have a strong command of the language. Words tend not to be phonetic and so guessing the spelling of tricky words will usually not get you anywhere. Many of us can identify an extensive number of words easily, just by hearing them or seeing them written down, but when asked to spell them, we often struggle. Furthermore, the increased usage of text talk and internet abbreviations also allow our brains to take a spelling vacation. With spell checkers built into almost everything, it’s very easy to become reliant and even ignorant. If not dealt with, these ugly mistakes can rear their heads at the most inconvenient or even embarrassing moments. Once you have written a text in English how can you make sure the spelling is correct?


Follow these top 11 tips to ensure that you pick up on your errors and don’t make them again.


  • “Proofread.” It sounds too obvious but it is such an important step. The trick is to not just simply glance it over straight after writing. If you have time, take a small break from that specific text. Maybe start on something else and write a reminder to return to it after half an hour. Print it off and read it aloud to yourself. By seeing and hearing it in a new dynamic, mistakes that were previously glazed over will become more apparent. You may not have the luxury to follow this process for every text you write, for example, emails that need to be sent quickly. In this case read it over, but mix up the order (start reading bottom to top) so that your brain doesn’t jump to conclusions and skim over errors.

 

  • “Get someone else to proofread it.” It is possible to read the same text over and over using many different methods and still not notice that one tiny mistake. There’s no way around it, but another person will notice different things within the exact same text, especially if they are not the author. Newspaper or magazine articles will be passed over many pairs of eyes before they make it to the shelves. Don’t have anyone on hand or don’t want to bother your colleagues every ten minutes? Use eAngel... a professional proofreading service that utilizes real people to check and correct your text quickly and efficiently.

 

  • “Double check your spell check.” The spell checker, while it can be extremely convenient at times, is not the ultimate solution and will not always be right. Blindly clicking on all suggestions that pop up might not be helping you as you assume it is. Some words may have been spelled correctly although used in the wrong context and so missed by your computer. For example, “the college principal” and “the college principle” have completely different connotations, although sound exactly the same.

 

  • Learn from your corrections.” Mistakes can often be easy to correct without paying attention to what has been corrected. Try to learn the right spelling of words that you tend to misspell by writing them down. Stick them around your house if you are struggling to remember; seeing them over and over will help them to become ingrained. Turn off the predictive texting on your phone so that you are forced to engage your brain when writing everyday messages. You will find that over time you have less errors to correct when proofreading your more important texts.

 

  • “Be consistent.” Very important! Make sure that your spell check dictionary is set to the correct language, and regional variation. Don’t start writing in UK English and then halfway through use the American version of ‘color’, for example. If you don’t have the eye to spot these differences yourself, make sure that your spell check is set to pick up on them for you.

 

  • “Take care when looking for synonyms and antonyms. ” You don’t want to be using the same word throughout your paper, so it is a good idea to think of an alternative one (a synonym). Or, you may need to find one that has the opposite meaning (an antonym). If you need assistance, look up the Thesaurus which is online. There are differing shades of meaning and if English is not your first language, you may be unaware that one of the suggested words is totally inappropriate for your context. It is helpful for a native English speaker check your writing to ensure you have chosen the right word. OK, let’s looks at an example. You want to find a synonym for ‘wonderful’, as in ‘she was wonderful with the children’. What do you think of these? ‘She was marvellous with the children’; she was ‘mean’, ‘staggering’, and ‘badass’ with the children.

 

  • “Adding a suffix to ‘Y’. ” When you add a suffix starting with ‘e’, such as ‘er’, ‘ed’ or ‘est’, the ‘y’ is normally changed to ‘i’.
    • Fly – flier.
    • Pretty – prettier – prettied.
    • Pay – paid.
    • Early – earlier – earliest.
    • Friendly – friendlier, befriended.

 

  • “I before ‘e’, except after ‘c’. ”
    • Piece, relieve, grief, believe, field.
    • Receipt, deceive, perceive.
    The exception to this rule is when it sounds like an ‘a’.
    • Neighbour, weigh, sleigh.

 

  • “Plural Suffixes. ” In English, an ‘s’ or ‘es’ is added to a noun to make it plural. When a word ends in ‘s’, ‘ch’, ‘sh’, ‘x’ or ‘z’, add ‘es’ to make it plural.
    • Kiss – kisses.
    • Bus – buses.
    • Church – churches.
    • Match - matches.
    • Box – boxes.
    • Spritz – spritzes.
    Some words are both singular and plural. Always check if you are unsure.
    • Sheep, fish, moose.

 

  • “Double Consonants. ” There are words where a single or double consonant give quite different meanings.
    • Desert – an arid stretch of land
    • Desert (as a verb) – to leave, abandon.
    • Dessert – for example, ice-cream, cheesecake.
    • Hoped – wished for something.
    • Hopped – jumped, skipped.

 

  • “How are you going to remember all the exceptions and rules in English correction? ” Write out lists of commonly misspelled words. Find these online, and then add your own. Useful devices, such as mnemonics (try spelling that right first time!) assist English correction when spelling words. Here is an excellent example found online. Rhythm – Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move. Learn some word games, such as Scrabble. Having fun is a great way to learn words.

 

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