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Difficult English Spelling Words

young woman studying hard at a laptop, biting on a pencil

If you've been studying English spelling words, you know that there are plenty of difficult ones  to learn. Words can be difficult for many reasons. Some are impossibly long and unusual. Some have hard-to-remember vowel combinations such as EI or IE or AI or IA. In some words, final consonants are doubled when adding consonants. In other words, those consonants are not doubled. 

Where can you find lists of these words to study? What are some of the best ways to learn these words? 

You'll find those word lists right here! Study suggestions begin immediately below. 

  • Read good literature. You'll see the most important words spelled correctly and used in context. Read newspapers and high-quality, reputable blogs.
  • Study word lists, like the ones on this page.
  • Keep a list of the words that are most difficult for you. Learn as much as you can about these words by looking them up in a good dictionary, such as www.dictionary.com or a good hard copy resource. Read about the word meaning, language of origin and other clues that will help you to remember the word, inside and out!
  • Practice writing your most challenging words, again and again. If you want to keep this practice interesting, use some these spelling homework ideas

Lists of English Spelling Words to Study

300 Commonly Misspelled Words

 300 Commonly Misspelled Words - Skim this long list of words to find the ones you misspell the most often. Then follow the tips on this page to master their correct spellings. Why make the same mistakes over and over again when you CAN improve your spelling skills?! A free printable page is included, along with many additional helpful resources. 

Hard Words to Spell pg 1

172 Hard Words to Spell  Study what makes these words (and so many others) so difficult to spell! Improve your spelling skills as you master the challenge words on this list. Learn more about unfamiliar words, words with tricky vowel combinations, silent consonants, double consonants and more. Follow the links to additional word lists and study tools!  Words on the list include abecedarian, absquatulate, boutonniere, cappuccino, connoisseur, diaphanous, impuissance, logorrhea, pastiche, psephology, querulous, rinceau, terpsichorean, and many, many more. 

because misspelled - crossed out

102 Most Frequently Misspelled Words - If you study just one word list on our site, it should be this one. It contains words we use often. They're words you'll want to get right every time! Helpful for ESL students, adults and kids in grades 6 and up. If you ever have trouble with words like accidentally, accommodate, definitely, embarrass, familiar, lightning, millionaire, niece, preferred, receive, rhythm, or separate, truly, or vacuum, then this list is for you!

List of Difficult Spelling Words with IE and EI, part one, from Spelling-Words-Well.com

Difficult English Spelling Words - Here's my whopping list of 285 words spelled with IE and EI!  Use this list to learn and practice the words you use most. Expand your skills and vocabulary with words you don't know. Use our free Step by Step spelling lesson plans to learn more about mastering these words. If you'd like to add more to this mega-list, please contact me with your additions!

Spelling Demons - Sometimes the words that trip us up are those that are easily-confused with other words, like desert/dessert, lose/loose, and allusion/illusion. Master this list to improve your spelling skills.

Hard Spelling Words - To double, or not to double, the final consonant when adding the suffix?

Hard Spelling Words - This list includes words in which it's sometimes hard to remember if the consonants are doubled when suffixes are added. Print out the word list to use with the Step by Step free spelling lesson that explains this skill.

100 Difficult Bee Words - Both flat covers 150 px

You'll find our most difficult words in this set of 100 Difficult Spelling Bee Words. the eBook includes pronunciations, definitions, sentences, & more.

8th grade spelling words - No matter what your age, you need to learn these words!  These tough words provide great practice for spelling bees.

9th grade spelling words - More spelling demons for high school students and adults. Learn tough words like ubiquitous, idiosyncrasy, rococo and more!

Hard spelling bee words - How many of these 25 challenging words can you spell? Definitions are also included.

Try these three tough new word lists!

Take This Quick Quiz.

Find zero, one or two errors in each sentence. Check your answers below.

1. I made a greivous mistake when I mispronounced my grandmother's name.

2. Did you know that it's ilegal to shoot off fireworks in our city?

3. Because of Timothy's excessive absenteism, he had to attend summer school.

4. We'll ride the ferry across the straits.

5. Penny's lackadasical atitude often resulted in missed deadlines at work. 

Especially for Kids

3rd grade girl raising hand and spelling words aloud

Tricky Elementary Spelling Words - Students in grades 2-5 sometimes need extra practice with these 100 common words.

We have printable standard word lists for grades 1 - 12, too, and more difficult spelling bee word lists for grades 3-8. Check them out!

Do some spelling words frustrate you? Study our word lists and free spelling lessons!

1. one error; grievous was misspelled
2. one error; illegal was misspelled
3. one error; absenteeism was misspelled
4. no errors
5. two errors; lackadaisical and attitude were both misspelled

6th grade vocabulary words - page 1

I've recently added new lists of graded English Vocabulary Words, beginning with Kindergarten on up. These lists contain words that students should begin to learn to use orally, as they learn to use the words first in conversation, then in written work. Finally, some students will be able to also learn the correct spellings of these tougher vocabulary words. 

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Author Ann Richmond Fisher

Ann Richmond Fisher is a longtime published educational writer, a former classroom teacher and a former homeschool teacher. Ann's spelling bee resources, graded spelling word lists, spelling games, worksheets, and other language arts resources have become respected around the globe since she launched Spelling-Words-Well in 2010.

Ann is also the creator of www.word-game-world.com.


Spelling Words Well logo

Think a Spell brain teaser eBook

Think-A-Spell! A fun collection of brain teasers and spelling challenges. Best for ages 10 to adult. 

101 Word Play Puzzlers 275 px

101 Word Play Puzzlers   Discover the FUN of letters & words as you solve each unique puzzle. Great vocabulary & spelling practice!

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Gigantic Spelling Bee Word Lists with definitions, sentences and languages

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Spelling Bee Toolboxes for Grades 3/5 and 6/8   All the resources you need for a successful bee! 

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Monumental Spelling Bee Word Lists for grades 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8 with definitions, sentences and languages

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Mammoth Spelling Bee Word Lists  for grades 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8  with sentences, definitions, and languages

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Young Spellers Spelling Bee Word List for Grades 1 & 2 only 

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100 Difficult Spelling Bee Words with Definitions, Sentences and Pronunciations, Volumes 1 and 2

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600 Spelling Bee Words & Sentences for Gr 3/5 & 6/8 Extra words & sentences at two levels

AnyWord Spelling Practice eBooks

AnyWord Spelling Practice Series Worksheets, Games and Prompts that work with almost ANY spelling words!

Fun Spelling Worksheets for Grades 1-2

Fun Spelling Worksheets for Grades 1 and 2    50 All-new reproducible pages for early learners!