Writing 101

    How to spell a word correctly

    How to spell a word correctly


    Bad spelling can be dangerous.

    Let’s take the commonly misspelled words  – your and you’re.

    Some folks might write – “Your going to die,” when they meant to write, “You’re going to die.”

    @_ryanpm_Bad grammar is scary #inverted #SometimesIRun #grammarlesson #tiktokteacher♬ Sometimes – Britney Spears

    Okay, this might be an extreme example.  

    Whether you are writing an essay for school, an important email, or a resume for a new job, the spelling of the words you use matter a lot. After all, an email with a bunch of spelling errors can make you look lazy or unprofessional.  

    However, the English language is drawn from multiple sources, like Latin and Greek. Add in the nuances between American English and British English. And, it is easy to see how people get confused about all of the different spelling rules.

    Luckily, it is easy to fix. Our phones and computers now come with built-in spell checkers, so we don’t have to turn to Merriam Webster,, or, heaven forbid, memorize all of the ways to spell words like our grandfathers and grandmothers had to do back in the old days pre-computers, Internet, and smartphones.  

    However, the best spellers – you know the ones who participated in the National Spelling Bee as kids – know autocorrect won’t always have your back and can sometimes feel like it’s actively working against you. For example, every time your phone autocorrects a certain word to “duck” or “ducking” in your texts.

    In this post, we’ll share the basics of spelling, tips for improving your skills, and a few of the most commonly misspelled English words.

    What does spelling mean?

    Essentially, spelling is the forming of words or letters in the correct, accepted order. It boils down to a series of letters that make up a word.

    Being able to spell words correctly is not this magical force or superpower. Anyone can learn to be a better speller if you learn these basic rules to guide English spelling. 

    Without diving into the specifics of each, here are 5 of the categories that most spelling rules apply to in English:  

    • Prefixes and suffixes

    • Doubling letters

    • Dropping and adding letters

    • Verb forms

    • Plurals


    The dictionary uses both American and British spellings of words. For instance, “color” is the American form of the word “colour” in British spelling. Though neither spelling is incorrect, the spelling you’ll use will likely depend on where you live.

    British and American spellings of words often follow different spelling rules, so you’ll need to be sure to follow the rules of whichever you use.

    How to spell words correctly

    There are many rules to follow when it comes to spelling, and so many of these rules aren’t set in stone. The rules aren’t always applied the same way to different words.

    This is a recipe for confusion.

    But don’t worry! By keeping a few hints in mind, you can improve your spelling without having to memorize a ton of rules.

    • Start by sounding out the words. Not every word is spelled how it sounds, but the phonetic respelling will give you a good start.

    • Remember the old saying, “I before E except after C.”

    • Know that adding a prefix doesn’t change the spelling of a word.

    • Look for smaller words within a larger, more complex word. If you can spell the smaller words, it can get you closer to the bigger picture.

    • Know that the second vowel is silent when two vowels are next to each other.

    • Make a list of your most commonly misspelled words and practice spelling them correctly.

    • Use a memory trick! For example, this one to help you remember the spelling of island: an island is land in the ocean.

    • When in doubt, use as a shortcut to find synonyms of the words that are easier for you to spell.

    Commonly misspelled words

    Spelling is a fundamental skill, but it takes time and practice to get the rules right. Even then, some words are just trickier than others and are often misspelled.

    People often have the same natural tendencies toward making similar spelling mistakes. Here are a few of the most common reasons that people misspell words:

    • Not understanding patterns or blending

    • Inability to apply phonetic rules

    • Reversing certain letters

    • Misunderstanding of the relationship between letter sounds

    • Inability to put spelling rules into action

    • Not adding an apostrophe in the right place – or even at all. 


    Not everyone struggles with the spelling of the same words or even makes the same type of spelling mistakes. However, some words in general are just more difficult for people to spell.

    For example, this epic middle school teacher shares a bunch of commonly spelled words in this fun TikTok.

    @queenbc84##inverted ##MyRoutine ##grammarcheck ##teachersoftiktok ##ela ##middleschoolenglish♬ original sound – Shuba

    In addition, here are 20 more frequently misspelled words in the English language:



    Correct spelling: separate

    Common misspelling(s): seperate



    Correct spelling: definitely

    Common misspelling(s): definitly, definately



    Correct spelling: accommodate

    Common misspelling(s): accomodate, acommodate



    Correct spelling: separate

    Common misspelling(s): publically, pubically 



    Correct spelling: government

    Common misspelling(s): goverment



    Correct spelling: receive

    Common misspelling(s): recieve



    Correct spelling: independent

    Common misspelling(s): independant



    Correct spelling: acceptable

    Common misspelling(s): acceptible



    Correct spelling: piece

    Common misspelling(s): peice 



    Correct spelling: grateful

    Common misspelling(s): greatful



    Correct spelling: gauge

    Common misspelling(s): guage



    Correct spelling: aluminium

    Common misspelling(s): alluminnum, alluminum 



    Correct spelling: possession

    Common misspelling(s): posession, possesion



    Correct spelling: perseverance

    Common misspelling(s): perserverance, perseverence



    Correct spelling: questionnaire

    Common misspelling(s): questionaire, questionnaire



    Correct spelling: rhythm

    Common misspelling(s): rhytm, rythm



    Correct spelling: maintenance

    Common misspelling(s): maintanence, maintenence, maintnence



    Correct spelling: exceed

    Common misspelling(s): excede



    Correct spelling: entrepreneur 

    Common misspelling(s): entepreneur 



    Correct spelling: misspell

    Common misspelling(s): mispell


    In sum, the best way to improve your spelling? Practice, read, and write often. You could also try Writer! Start a free trial today and keep your spelling game sharp with the power of an AI writing assistant.