A Speling Be

I realize certain words are difficult to spell for a lot of people. “A lot,” for example is too commonly written as “alot.” The simple trick to remember that is, you’d never write “alittle,” and so you’d not “alot.” I love those little tricks because they work so well to provide context for what would otherwise be an exercise in rote memorization (a technique that clearly didn’t work in the first place). Sometimes a trick does not exist for a word I often misspell, so I have to make up my own. Here are a few of them.

  • I struggled with “significant” for a long time until I noticed that you can make a little sentence out of parts of the word. “Sign if I can’t” is, minus the apostrophe, the correct spelling.
  • The word “their,” aside from being part of the they’re/there/their trifecta of grammatical butchery, stymied me for some time because I was always trying to spell it “thier.” Once I noticed that no matter what form of the word you’re using it always contains the three-letter sequence “the,” it was no problem.
  • Definitely is “in it.” That’s how I remember that it’s not “definately” or “defanitely” or “defineitely” or whatever other mess of vowels people toss into that word. After the “def” and before the “ely” it’s just “in it.”

If you have your own little spelling tricks, I’d love to hear them.

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2 thoughts on “A Speling Be

  1. Red

    I have a few. As a child, it was difficult for me to learn how to spell my brother’s name Christopher: Chris-stop-her (minus the double ‘s’). Dessert and Desert: Dessert-Strawberry Shortcake (double “s”) Desert-Sand (one “s”).

  2. Scott

    Mine would be “Separate”. I always remember that it’s spelled with “a rat” in it, although there isn’t any sort of helpful mnemonics going on. I just always say it “sep-a-rat-e” in my head while I write/type it. Maybe that doesn’t help…

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