In everyday spelling, we all make some common mistakes. Here are 5 quick things you can do now to improve your writing.
Here's a peek at our favorite quick tips. Download the free printable shorter version here, or read below to find the slightly expanded information!
Many spellers can improve their writing simply by mastering these ten words: because, a
lot, definite, doesn’t, friend,
necessary, occasion, separate, sincerely, and tomorrow. (For
a longer list,
please see our list of 102
Frequently Misspelled Words.) These ten words account for a large number of frequent spelling errors.
You may have a lot of work to do, or a lot of bills to pay. You may be planning to have a lot of fun over the weekend.
But you will not (correctly) be doing alot of any of these things. A lot is spelled with TWO words.
This is not alot of money...
...but it is a lot of money!
Please note that there is a word allot. It is a verb that means to assign or reserve something.
For example, a company might allot one locker to each employee. Or, you might allot two shelves in your garage to food storage.
ALSO, try some mnemonic devices to help you remember your biggest spelling demons. For example, if you're prone to mistakenly write/type becuase, like so many other people, try this. As you write the word, say to yourself,
" 'Be calm and useful, says Ed.' "
The first letters of the words in this phrase will remind you of the correct order of the letters in BECAUSE.
Study these commonly confused word pairs, and any others that are confusing to you.
accept – to receive, agree to or believe. He couldn’t accept the fact that he was fired.
except – not including. Everyone went to the store except Sally.
are – helping verb. We are happy that it’s snowing.
our – belonging to us. This is our new car.
desert – dry region. Few plants grow in the desert.
dessert – sweet course at the end of the meal. Mary likes to serve pie for dessert.
The poor apostrophe is greatly abused in many everyday spelling situations!
An apostrophe is used correctly in contractions, such as don’t, I’ll, and they’re. The apostrophe in it’s says the word means it is. In which sentence is the apostrophe used correctly?
(It is time to eat
The cat finished it’s food. (The cat finished it is food.)
Clearly, the apostrophe belongs only in the first sentence.
The apostrophe is also used in many possessive words. It is not used in plurals.
How many times have
you seen signs like this?
We make the best burrito’s.
Wrong. (Actually, the restaurant may, in fact, make the best burritos.) But if there is an apostrophe, something must belong to the burrito. It would be correct to say,
My burrito’s flavor is out of this world!
The flavor belongs to the burrito.
Our list of 50 sets of frequently-confused homonyms covers the ever popular their/there/they’re, to/too/two, and 48 more sets.
Many writing errors fall into this category. Tell me how many times you've accidentally written--or seen--mistakes like these:
I'm not to hungry yet, so let's wait on dinner. (The to should be too.)
If your done with your homework, you may watch TV. (The your should be you're.)
Its time to go outside. (The Its should be It's.)
Let's go over to there house tonight. (The there should be their.)
You will catch many of your own everyday spelling errors when you take just a couple of minutes to read your work over. Better yet, read it aloud. Best tip of all? Let someone else read it. The more important the document, the more crucial it is to proofread it.
Free Spelling Tests - These free spelling tests cover 20 tough, frequently misspelled words. In this convenient format, kids and adults can test themselves. How well will you score?
Step-By-Step Spelling Lesson Plans - Here's a very methodical way to teach, or learn, those tricky IE/EI words. Great for ESL students, upper elementary students, or adults. You can use every step of this lesson, or just the ones that you need. This free printable lesson includes a link to big list of IE/EI words for extra study and practice.