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What Are The Most Common Spelling Errors In English?

Spelling Errors in English can be easily avoided by being mindful of your vowel and consonant choice. But knowing which vowel to use can be tricky, especially in words that are not spelled how they sound. Some words in English such as ‘feet’ are written exactly as they are pronounced however, this is not the case for most words. In this article, we’ll discuss a few different spelling errors and how you can avoid them. 

What Are The Most Common Spelling Errors In English? | English Medium

5 Common Spelling Errors In English

Here are the 5 most common spelling errors in English:

Incorrect Vowel Choice

There are five vowels (a,e,i,o,u) in the English language. Though they look pretty straightforward, vowels can be pronounced in different ways. As such, it isn’t always easy to know which vowel to use based on a word’s pronunciation. The word “definitely,” for instance, is often misspelled with an “a” in place of the second“i”:

The team will definitely lose if he doesn’t play.. (correct)

The team will definately lose if he doesn’t play. (incorrect)

This shows us that it is definitely worth it to be careful with certain words, as their pronunciation may not be a perfect guide to how they should be spelled. 

Incorrectly Repeated Consonants 

In some words, consonants are awarded extraneous twins, such as a doubling of the first t in commitment or of the r in harass. Other common erroneous doublings including the n in inoculate (perhaps because of innovation and other words in which n is doubled), the s in occasion (many words, like expression, do have a double s), and the c in recommend. Note that in many of these words, there’s already a twin double consonant, which may also confuse writers. (One word that does have two twin consonant pairs, accommodate, is often misspelled with only one m.)

Incorrect Consonant Choice

Consonants can also vary in pronunciation. The letters ‘c’ and ‘g’, for example, have both hard (e.g. ‘carrot’ and ‘grape’) and soft (e.g. ‘celery’ and ‘ginger’) pronunciations. This makes it very easy to pick the wrong consonant simply based off of the pronunciation of the word. It is highly likely that someone who isn’t a professional English speaker, misspells ‘celery’ as ‘selery’ or ‘ginger’ as ‘jinjer.’ However, this type of error is less common than the incorrect vowel choice but you should still be mindful of it. 

Extra Letters

Adding unwanted letters to words not only change the spelling of the word but sometimes even its meaning. One word that is often given an extra vowel is mischievous, perhaps because it is often mispronounced as ‘mischievious.’ Some words ending in -ly, such as publicly, are often erroneously given an -ally ending and spelt as ‘publically.’ Judgment and acknowledgment, spelled with an e after the g is incorrect in American English. However, it is acceptable in British English (therefore, the words will be spelt as judgement/acknowledgement). 

Errors With Homophones

Homophones in English are words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Many people erroneously use two homophones interchangeably. For example, the words ‘forward’ and ‘foreword’ are often used in place of each other. Other examples include: 

  1. Site instead of cite, or even sight
  2. Which/witch
  3. Here/hear
  4. Weather/whether 
  5. Lose/loose
  6. Carat/carrot; and many more. 

How Can You Avoid Spelling Errors In English?

The key to correct spelling lies in two things:

  • Practice, Practice, Practice! – There are no universal rules about vowel choice in English. But the more you write and the more words you know, the easier it will be to spot common spelling patterns and errors in English.
  • Careful Proofreading – Spell Checking softwares such as grammarly is a good start, but manually self proofreading is an even better option. Since you are the author of the work, you will be able to make the best edits. If you do not have the time to spare for either of the two options, you can always hire a proofreader to edit and make your work error-free. 

We hope this article helps you in writing flawless and faultless articles. 

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