How to Improve Your Spelling
A Guide for Students
want to know how to improve your spelling, read the
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Buy now: stories, exercises, rules, and answers for the simple present, simple past and simple future
Even if you have good speaking
skills, or even
can be badly affected by your
Bad spelling can leave a bad impression on the person reading your
work, so it's good to get it right.
(Just think about how you feel when you encounter spelling errors in a
piece of writing...)
In English sometimes the same groups of letters, such as ough
, can have a
number of different pronunciations. That can make spelling more difficult to
But there are some things you can do to help.
English spelling: learn the rules
English spelling keeps to the spelling rules more than English grammar
keeps to its grammar rules!
There are other articles on this site that detail some of the spelling
rules, so it's a good idea to learn as many as you can:
Practice makes perfect
Practice difficult words. Write them over and over until you can
One technique that works well is "Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check."
Using this method, you:
- Look at the word
- Say it
- Say the letters
- Say the word again
- Cover it and try to write the word
- Check your spelling
- Repeat if you get it wrong
This works even better if you write some of the difficult words on
cards and use them for your practice.
Read as much as you can.
Read books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements... anything you
can get your hands on.
The more you read, the more you will see words and will start to
remember how they are spelled.
Make sure you always understand what you read and don't guess words "out of context."
Good English dictionaries
will help you do just that.
If you can get together with a friend or classmate to practice your
spelling together, this can really help.
You may even enjoy having spelling competitions with each other, and by
doing so you will be helping each other.
Group words together
If you have a vocabulary
, it is a good idea to have a page or two for words
you find hard to spell.
This is even better if you write the words in groups that use the same
groups of letters.
words, such as thought,
It also helps if you write one sentence or more using the word every
time you enter a new word into your notebook.
Other tips and tricks
- If you come across a new word that you think
may be difficult to spell, highlight
the difficult letters.
For example, in the word daughter,
the letters augh are
not obvious, so you can write it in your notebook as daughter.
- Write words you find difficult to spell on sticky notes and put
them around your home so you see them more often.
- Ask your teacher to give you spelling quizzes and
play spelling games
- Find online
There are some for ESL students and some designed for native English
- Play games such as Scrabble or other word games online.
Online or computer versions of word games are great because they will
tell you if you don't have the right spelling.
Here is one final point you should keep in mind:
Don't rely too much on a spell-checker
Don't rely too much on a spell-checker when you are typing work on a
This will make you a lazy speller!
Your spell-checker may not always inform you about your spelling
For example, lets say you type in the following sentence:
temperature should not go bellow 15 degrees."
Well, are there any typos inside?
All words are indeed correctly
, but this sentence is still incorrect.
The word "bellow" (double L) is actually a verb meaning, "to shout in a
loud deep voice."
The word "below" (single L), on the other hand, means "lower than
So the correct sentence is:
temperature should not go below
Not all spell-checkers would notice this type of error, since it requires considering the context of words.
So I hope that these tips will help you learn how to improve your spelling.