Spelling Errors


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

The most common errors fall roughly into the following categories:

(i) leaving out letters or parts of words that should have been included. For example: "acknowledgment."
(ii) errors with suffixes such as –ful or –ly.
(iii ) homophonic words substituted for each other, such as "I didn't no the correct spelling."
(iv) miscellaneous errors - such as inverting letters ("relief"), doubling consonants, or dividing words incorrectly
 

The techniques

The following are some of the techniques by which a student may begin to improve spelling:
(i) Identify strengths - Being able to identify where a student is not making errors gives a grounding sense of strength, so that the frustrations of the errors are more inconvenient than faulty.
 
(ii) Target the errors - Once errors have been identified, using various tools such as mnemonic devices such as "I before E except after C" will provide a starting point to keep it from happening again.
 
(iii) Etymological study - One of the great strategies competitive spellers use to improve spelling is studying the origins of words, their root languages, and the ways language changes. Like learning a biological evolutionary chart, a thorough understanding of a word's origins helps integrate the correct spelling into the student's consciousness.
 
(iv) Identifying patterns - As students increase their vocabulary, being aware of the common elements in the spelling of words reinforces the correct knowledge.
 
(v) Using spelling tools - Teaching children how to use the various print and electronic tools such as 
YourDictionary to check on words they are unsure of establishes a habit of reaching out for verification. Spell checkers used in word processing programs are also useful, but the student needs to be aware that even the best spell checker is no substitute for context. A program will not catch the homophonic error "I think I ate two much" as easily as a human eye.
 
                                           
 Some Odd Spelling Rules
What to do with ‘e’

There are exceptions to all the rules about ‘e’ – including the classic “‘i’ before ‘e’, except after ‘c’” (e.g. weird, science, etc.). There are a few useful general tips, however:


Dropping the ‘e’

Words ending in ‘e’ often lose the ‘e’ when a suffix (the ending which is added to a word) begins with a vowel or when a ‘y’ is added. For example:
desire + able = desirable
criticise + ing = criticising
advise + ory = advisory
educate + ion = education
arrive + al = arrival c
lose + ure = closure
noise + y = noisy


Keeping the ‘e’

Inevitably, there are exceptions to this general rule, and the ‘e’ is kept. For example:
like + able = likeable
stripe + y = stripey

The ‘e’ is also kept when the suffix begins with a consonant, as in -ness, -ly, - ment, -ful, -less etc. For example:
sincere + ly = sincerely
late + ly = lately
polite + ness = politeness
place + ment = placement
complete + ly = completely
blame + less = blameless

But (of course!), there are also exceptions to this rule. In some cases, the ‘e’ is dropped before the consonantal suffix.
For example:
argue + ment = argument
wise + dom = wisdom
true + th = truth
true + ly = truly
nine + th = ninth
 
                                             
    Common spelling errors
Heir (possessive form of they)
There (in that place)
They're (contraction of they are)
Accept (a verb, meaning to receive or to admit to a group)
Except (usually a preposition, meaning but or only)
Who's (contraction of who is or who has)
Whose (possessive form of who)
Its (possessive form of it)
It's (contraction of it is or it has)
Your (possessive form of you)
You're (contraction of you are)
Affect (usually a verb, meaning to influence)
Effect (usually a noun, meaning result)
Than (used in comparison)
Then (refers to a time in the past)
Were (form of the verb to be)
We're (contraction of we are)
Where (related to location or place)

To and too
‘To’ is used with the infinitive (to watch, to run, etc.) or with an indirect object (I gave the book to the student) or as a preposition (The Manager ran to the Fire Exit)
‘Too’ is an adverb – it adds information to a verb: ‘that athlete was too slow to win the race’. In addition, it can be used in the sense of also: ‘The teacher, too, was puzzled by this suggestion’.



Wednesday, 01st Feb 2017, 06:02:03 AM

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