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Commonly Misspelled Words

Spelling matters - if you want to create a good impression in your writing and get the right meaning across, it's important to spell correctly. Here are some commonly misspelled words with explanatory notes to help you learn to spell them correctly. accessory noun Spell accessory with a double c and a double s; the ending is -ory. Rule: Change the -y to -ies to make the plurals of words which end in a consonant plus -y (as in berry/berries): accessories. accommodate verb Spell accommodate with a double c and a double m; remember that there is an o before and after the m's. Related word: accommodation noun address noun and verb Spell address with a double d. Tip: please add your address. aggression noun Remember that aggression is spelled with a double g and a double s. Related words: aggressive adjective aggressor noun alcohol noun Spell alcohol with alco- at the beginning. Tip: drink a large cold orange juice, not alcohol. allege verb Remember that allege has a double l and is spelled with -ege at the end. amend verb Remember that amend and the related word amendment are spelled with a single m at the beginning. apologize or apologise verb Spell apologize and the related word apology with -olo- in the middle. apparent adjective There is a double p in apparent but only one r; the ending is -ent. argument noun There is no e after the u in argument, even though it comes from argue. It does not follow the usual rule that the final silent e is kept when adding endings that begin with a consonant. average noun and verb Spell average with an e after the v; the ending is -age. beautiful adjective Remember that beautiful and the related words beauty and beautify are spelled with beau- at the beginning. Tip: bare elegant arms are usually beautiful. belief noun Rule: Belief and the related word believe follow the rule i before e except after c (as in thief). Related word: believable adjective

Tip: controversy arouses really opposing views. controversy noun (plural controversies) Remember that controversy is spelled with -ro. change).in the middle. Related word: deceit noun definite adjective Remember that definite ends with -ite. extraordinary adjective Spell extraordinary with extra. if this is needed to preserve the soft sound of the first part of the word: changeable. a double t. fascinate verb Remember that fascinate and the related word fascination are spelled with an s before the c. eighth adjective Remember that eighth is spelled with -hth at the end.in the middle. fluorescent adjective Remember that fluorescent and the related word fluorescence begin with fluor-. changeable adjective Rule: Keep the final silent -e when adding endings which begin with a vowel to words which end in -ce or -ge (here. Related word: burglary noun business noun Remember that business begins with busi-. committee noun Spell committee with a double m. cemetery noun (plural cemeteries) Remember that cemetery ends with -ery. Tip: Sam hoped that he wouldn't finish eighth. and a double e at the end. Tip: embarrassed. extreme adjective and noun Remember that the ending of extreme is spelled -eme. Tip: perhaps he was desperate to escape. . Related word: definitely adverb desperate adjective Spell desperate with -per. Related word: controversial adjective deceive verb Rule: i before e except after c (as in receive). she was rosy red with severe shame.burglar noun Spell burglar with -lar at the end.in the middle. consensus noun Remember that consensus and the related word consensual are spelled with -sen.at the beginning (it is made up of the words extra and ordinary). embarrass verb Remember that embarrass and the related word embarrassment have a double r and a double s. disappoint verb Remember that disappoint and the related word disappointment are spelled with one s and a double p.

to words that end in -our (in this case. liaise verb Remember that liaise is spelled with two i's. Related words: hypocrite noun hypocritical adjective humorous adjective Rule: When adding certain endings. hypocrisy noun Remember that hypocrisy begins with hypo-. harass verb Spell harass and the related word harassment with a single r and a double s.g. and -oe keep the final -e: guarantees. such as -ous and -ist. fulfil verb Spell fulfil with one l in the middle and one at the end (the spelling fulfill is American).in the middle. Tip: she's an independent agent. humorist. bake. one before and one after the a. change -our to -or before adding the ending: humorous. Rule: Drop the last l when adding suffixes (endings) which begin with a consonant to words which end in a double l (here. Related word: immediately adverb independent adjective and noun Remember that independent always ends with -ent. Rule: Double the l when adding endings which begin with a vowel to words which end in a vowel plus l (as in travel): fulfils. grateful adjective Remember that grateful begins with grate-. both the noun and the verb are spelled license. guaranteed. immediate adjective Spell immediate and the related word immediacy with a double m. the ending is -isy. whereas license is a verb meaning 'give a permit to someone: allow something' (the loggers are licensed to cut mahogany trees). humour). verbs ending in -ee. baking). Tip: you must liaise with colleagues in Italy and Ireland. In American English.in the middle (the spelling gage is American). fulfilled.friend noun Spell friend with -ie. install): instalment. Related word: liaison noun licence noun Do not confuse licence with license. not one (a lot can happen in a month). Related word: fulfilment noun gauge noun and verb Spell gauge with -au. lot pronoun and noun You should spell a lot as two words. itinerary noun (plural itineraries) Remember that itinerary ends with -erary. Licence is a noun which means 'a permit to do something' (a driving licence). fulfilling. -ye. Related word: independence noun instalment noun Spell instalment with one l (the spelling installment is American). guarantee noun and verb Rule: Although most verbs ending in -e drop the final e before adding -ing (e. . guaranteeing.

occasion noun and verb Spell occasion with a double c and a single s. The plural can be spelled either millennia (like the original Latin) or millenniums. if the stress is at the end of a word (as in refer): occurs. Related word: naivety noun necessary adjective Remember that necessary and the related word necessity are spelled with one c and a double s. manoeuvre noun and verb Spell manoeuvre with -oeu.maintenance noun Remember that maintenance is spelled with -ten.in the middle. Tip: she was naive. occur verb Rule: Double the last consonant when adding endings which begin with a vowel to words that end with a single vowel plus a consonant. Related word: manoeuvrable adjective millennium noun Spell millennium with a double l and a double n. Tip: the book has many serious and significant omissions. the past tense is misspelt or misspelled. misspell verb Spell misspell with a double s. Tip: a miniature minibus. Related word: negligibly niece noun Rule: i before e except after c (as in thief). as in the original French. with an appealing innocence. Related word: millennial adjective miniature noun and adjective Remember that miniature begins with mini-.in the middle. Tip: a ceremony celebrating a special occasion. the ending is -ance. Related word: necessarily adverb negligible adjective Remember that the ending of negligible is spelled -ible. minuscule adjective Remember that minuscule is spelled with a u after the n. Related word: omissible adjective . misspelling. the ending is -re (the spelling maneuver is American). It can also be spelled naïve. occurred. Remember that mischievous ends with -vous. mischievous adjective Rule: i before e except after c (as in thief). Tip: it's necessary for a jacket to have one collar and two sleeves.in the middle. naive adjective Remember that naive is spelled with -ai. Related word: occurrence noun omission noun Spell omission with one m and a double s. The different forms of this verb are: misspells. with two dots over the i. occurring.

Related word: present adjective privilege noun and verb Remember that privilege ends with -ege. then -thm. outrage). whereas practise is a verb meaning 'do something repeatedly to improve your skill' (they were practising for the Olympics). parliament noun Spell parliament with -ia. In American English. . it is not spelled with an n before the second t. outrageous adjective Rule: Keep the final silent -e when adding endings which begin with a vowel to words which end in -ce or -ge (here. Related word: possessor noun potato noun The plural of potato is made by adding -es: potatoes. perceive verb Rule: i before e except after c (as in receive). Tip: I am a member of parliament. receive verb Rule: i before e except after c. questionnaire noun Remember that questionnaire (a French word) is spelled with a double n and ends with -aire. secretary noun (plural secretaries) Spell secretary with an e after the r. rhythm noun Remember that rhythm is spelled with rhy. Practice is a noun meaning 'the action of doing something rather than the theories about it' (putting policy into practice). if this is needed to preserve the soft -ce or -ge sound: outrageous. Tip: rhythm really has your two hips moving. both the noun and the verb are spelled practice.original adjective and noun Spell original with an i before and after the g. Tip: he recommended that I cut out milk and meat from my diet. possess verb Spell possess and the related words possession and possessive with a double s before and after the e.between the t and r: it is a French word. restaurateur noun Although restaurateur (a French word) is related to restaurant.at the beginning. really adverb Remember that really is spelled with a double l.before the m. recommend verb Spell recommend and the related word recommendation with a single c and a double m. the ending is -ary. presence noun Remember that presence ends with -ence. restaurant noun Remember that restaurant is spelled with -au. practice noun Do not confuse practice with practise.

it is one of a group of words in which the final silent e is dropped before adding -ly. Rule: Drop the last l when adding suffixes (endings) which begin with a consonant to words which end in a double l (here. Related word: similarity noun similarly adverb skilful adjective Remember that skilful is spelled with one l in the middle (the spelling skillful is American). Related word: successor noun sufficient adjective Spell sufficient with a double f. truly adverb Rule: Truly is formed from true plus the ending -ly. the ending is -cient. vehicle noun Spell vehicle with -icle at the end. suppress verb Spell suppress with a double p and a double s. separate verb and adjective Remember that separate is spelled with -par.in the middle. . twelfth number Remember that twelfth has an f in the middle. Tip: go to the twelfth floor of the building.seize verb Remember that seize and the related word seizure are spelled with the e before the i: they do not follow the rule of i before e except after c. tomorrow adverb and noun Spell tomorrow with a single m and a double r. Tip: tomorrow morning. surprise verb and noun Remember that surprise has an r before and after the p. tomato noun The plural of tomato is made by adding -es: tomatoes. success noun Spell success and the related word successful with a double c and a double s. Related word: separation noun similar adjective Remember that the ending of similar is spelled -lar. rise refreshed. skill plus -ful): skilful. threshold noun Remember that threshold is spelled with a single h. it cannot be spelled with an -ize ending. the ending is -arian. vegetarian noun and adjective Remember that the beginning of vegetarian is spelled vege-. Unlike most verbs ending in -ise. Tip: the rock split into two separate parts. unfortunately adverb Spell unfortunately with -ately at the end (it is made up of the adjective unfortunate plus the ending -ly). until preposition and conjunction Spell until with a single l.

inhuman sound. withheld) Remember that withhold is spelled with a double h (it is made up of the words with and hold) . wilful adjective Remember that wilful is spelled with one l in the middle (the spelling willful is American). Rule: Drop the last l when adding suffixes (endings) which begin with a consonant to words which end in a double l (here. withhold verb (withholds. will plus -ful): wilful. eerie. Tip: a weird. withholding. weird adjective Remember that weird is spelled with the e before the i: it does not follow the usual rule of i before e except after c.vicious adjective Remember that the beginning of vicious is spelled vici-.