This post is quite a departure from my other ones, but I have good reason for putting it up. During this Year of Mercy, it’s my attempt to practice the spiritual work of mercy “instruct the ignorant”! For most of my teaching ministry, I taught English. To help my students spell commonly misspelled words, I came up with some devices. These tricks helped me spell, and I thought I’d share them with you. The list here contains my own concoctions as well as traditional ones.
All right: All right is better than all wrong.
Bulletin: Who put the bullet in the gun?
Calendar: It contains days.
Cemetery: We go to the cemetery with ease.
Committee: It’s a group, so letters are doubled: 2 m’s, two t’s two e’s.
Develop: A final e is “lopped” off.
Exaggerate: It means to add on, so add a g.
February: In February we say, “Brrr.”
Friend: A friend is a friend to the end.
Grammar: Gramma knows her grammar.
Hear: I hear with my ear.
Judgment: A judge dismissed the e.
License: c precedes s in the alphabet.
Lose: It lost an o (not spelled loose).
Magnificent: There is a penny at the end.
Murmur: It’s rum-rum backwards.
Mystery: My mystery is spelling.
Necessary: We wear one cap and two shoes.
Nickel: Nickel is an element.
Niece: A niece is nice.
Parallel: All parallel lines never meet.
Pleasant: Picnics are pleasant for an ant.
Principal: The principal is your pal.
Privilege: A privileged person (VIP) is well guarded: two I’s guard the v; two e’s guard the g.
Questionnaire: Think “question” N (and) “air”
Repetition: The e’s and then the i’s repeat.
Stationery goes in an envelope.
Thorough: To do a thorough job is rough.
Accommodation has 2 m’s as in “modern motel.”
In some cases, spotting smaller words in longer words helps:
Separate: a rat
These are some confusing couples:
Truly, sincerely: The longer letter closing keeps the e.
Which, witch: Question words usually begin with wh.
Altogether/all together: Altogether is wholly; all together is all in a place.
Affect/effect: Affect is for action (verb); effect is a noun.
You might mentally exaggerate the pronunciation in these sticklers:
In these words, mentally pronounce every marked letter:
TIDBIT: In Hebrew, the original language of the Old Testament, there were no vowels. Moreover there were no spaces between words. Can you imagine how difficult it was to translate it? “No where” could just as easily be “How here.”
Do you know of other memory devices for English words that are often misspelled?