English Topic 08 - Identification of incorrect spellings


The identification of incorrect spellings is a skill that is commonly tested in 11 plus exams.

Words may be misspelt because:

(i) Some words are spelt differently depending if the word is used in UK English or American English.

(ii) The incorrect homophone of a word has been used – see the next section about homophones.

(iii) A plurals spelling rule has not been used – see the section on plural words

(iv) An English spelling rule has not been used.

(v) An irregular spelling has not been learnt.

Examples of commonly misspelt words:

leisure, receipt, neighbour, definitely, grammar, embarrass, questionnaire, separate, recommend, amateur, calendar, foreign, medieval, niece, library, rhythm, fourth, weird

If you learn some spelling rules you will make fewer mistakes, but there are some words that are irregular and do not follow the rules – these words you will have to memorise. There are some words that have silent letters in them and these words need learning too e.g. knot, gnaw, ballet, knife, plumber, bomb.

Here are some useful spelling rules to learn:

All the plural spelling rules – see the section on these rules

‘i before e except after c’ e.g. field (no c before), receipt (c before)

‘change the y to i when adding a suffix’ e.g. happiness, happier, happiest

‘full is spelt with one l = ful when used as a suffix’ e.g. beautiful, hopeful

‘when adding all the start of a word,drop one l’ e.g. although, alright

‘doubling up the consonants – the 1:1:1 rule’ e.g. running, hopping

‘drop the e with an ing’ e.g. hoping, writing, fading

Video Tutorials:

Silent letters in words:

Back to: Spelling