A Few Tips for Learning & Spelling Tricky English Words

Two English second language students studyingLearning English comes with its challenges, including how to correctly spell tricky words. For example, how do you know when to use “there” or “their”? These two words sound the same but have different spellings. They even have different definitions, too. Also, how do you distinguish between “peace,” “piece,” and “peas”? Here are a few tips to help you.

Create Rhymes

Develop rhymes to help you tell the difference between similar words. For example, a rhyming phrase like, “I use my ear to hear,” works as a great reminder. It tells you that “hear” means to listen because it is spelled just like “ear.” This will help you remember that it is different than the word “here” when you are spelling.

Another example: “There is my pen, right where I put it.” In this case, “there” and “where” rhyme in both spelling and sound, making it easier to tell the difference between “there,” “they’re,” and “their.”

Read As Much As Possible

It’s helpful to read a great deal, preferably books or magazines that have been carefully edited. The internet is less reliable since much of the content is full of misspellings. Go to the library and check out a variety of books that catch your eye. Then read, read, read! As you read the books, look at how different words are spelled, especially the tricky ones.

Learn by Writing

Writing is also an effective way of learning English words and their correct spelling. Write down phrases by copying them from books or newspapers. Keep a dictionary nearby to look up unfamiliar words. This process of writing down words and researching their meaning will make it easier to memorize new words. By writing them out you can visually see how the words look and practice the spelling, too.

Play Word Games

Learning English becomes more fun when you’re playing games. Try board games like Scrabble or Upwords. Do crossword puzzles or try Words with Friends online. The more you surround yourself with words, the sooner you’ll know how to correctly spell the tricky ones.

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