10 Common Spelling Mistakes (and Ways to Tackle Them Easily!)

Is spelling your greatest nemesis? If your answer is yes, you are not alone! Mastering the spelling of English words is challenging even for adults because English spelling can be so infuriatingly tricky and unpredictable. However, this should not stop us from striving to become spelling wizards! Read on to pick up some easy ways to battle against 10 of the most common spelling mistakes that students tend to make.

10 Common Spelling Mistakes (and Ways to Tackle Them Easily!)

1. Accommodate / Accommodation

Commonly misspelt as: Acommodate, Accomodate etc.  

How can you better remember the spelling? 

Accommodate / Accommodation. Editing

Two cats (cc) and two mice (mm) have to accommodate one another in their accommodation.

Take note of the two pairs of double letters!

2. Stationery vs. Stationary

Unbeknownst to some students, these words carry entirely different meanings! Unlike [grey] and [gray], [stationery] and [stationary] are not two variations of the same word.

Stationery, spelt with an ‘e’, is a noun that refers to things required for writing (e.g. pens, pencils, erasers, paper). On the other hand, stationary, spelt with an ‘a’, is an adjective that can be defined as“staying still; not moving”.

Common error: Some students may mix these two words up! 

How can you better remember the spelling?

Stationery -> e = eraser

Stationary -> a = at rest

3. Necessary / Necessity

Commonly misspelt as: Neccessary, Neccesary, Necesary etc.  

How can you better remember the spelling?

Necessary -> I “c” that money ($$) is nece$$ary.

Necessity -> I “c” that money ($$) is a nece$$ity.

Extra tip: These two words are pronounced differently!

Necessary -> /neh-se-se-ri/

Necessity -> /ne-seh-see-ti/

4. Separate

Commonly misspelt as: Seperate 

How can you better remember the spelling?

Separate -> “Don’t separate me from my papa!”

5. Principal vs. Principle

Once again, these two words may sound the same (with frustratingly similar spellings as well!), but they are immensely different.

Principal, ending with ‘al’, typically refers to the person in charge of a school. Principle, ending with ‘le’, can be defined as the moral rule or belief that helps you distinguish between the right and wrong, or a basic idea that explains how something works.

Common error: Some students may mix these two words up! 

How can you better remember the spelling?

Principal (person) -> The principal is my pal.

Principle (moral rule or belief) -> A principle is a rule.

6. Embarrass / Embarrassed / Embarrassment

Commonly misspelt as: Embarassed, Embarrased, Embarased etc. 

How can you better remember the spelling?

Embarrassment -> My face turns really red when I’m super shy and embarrassed.

Take note of the two pairs of double letters!

7. Environment

Commonly misspelt as: Enviroment (missing the n) 

How can you better remember the spelling?

Environment -> There is iron in the environment.

8. Recommend

Commonly misspelt as: Recomend, Reccomend, Reccommend etc. 

How can you better remember the spelling?

Recommend -> I “c” that many men recommend this ramen.

9. Diarrhoea

Commonly misspelt as: Diarrhea, Diarhoea etc. 

How can you better remember the spelling?

Come up with an acronym to help you remember!

D.i.a.r.r.h.o.e.a -> Dining. In. A. Really. Red. House, O!. Expect. Accidents!

10. Desert vs. Dessert

Definition of ‘desert’:

(verb) to abandon someone in a disloyal manner
(noun) a waterless land covered with sand

Definition of ‘dessert’:

(noun) the sweet course eaten at the end of a meal

Common error: Some students may mix these two words up! 

How can you better remember the spelling?

Desert -> The desert is sandy.

After he deserted me, I was stranded.

Dessert -> Strawberry shortcake is my favourite dessert!

There may be many other words out there that are causing you a headache simply because they are so tricky to spell. Fret not! Apart from doing consistent spelling practices, you could also come up with interesting (and personal) mnemonics that will aid you in remembering the correct spelling of commonly misspelt words. Do you have any creative spelling mnemonics in mind? Let me know in the comments section below!

Such commonly misspelt words are often tested in the editing section in Paper 2! Do you wish to know what other commonly misspelt words there are? Does knowing how to spell mean that you will be able to answer the question? Let Edit-Tea share with you the essential techniques and useful resources to conquer the editing section in the Edit with Edit-Tea online course!





Edit with Edit - Tea

Course Features:

1. Video Lessons

2. Targeted Worksheets and Overall Practice

3. Notes to recapitulate video content

4. Notes to extend learning e.g. commonly misspelt word list

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