How to Improve Spelling?
Spellings do not play a significant role in English conversations, however, when it comes to the writing part, especially academic tests, they become a nightmare for non native speakers. Even native speakers often struggle with spellings.
Almost all of the non-native speakers are puzzled by the spelling patterns, since
•There is no logic in spelling patterns
• There are exceptions to almost every spelling rule
• It is difficult to memorize the spelling rules, hence need to take every word and memorize it individually.
Here are some valuable tips on” How to Improve Spelling”?
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There are exceptions to almost every spelling rule:
When you understand this you don’t waste your time in asking “why” questions.
Assimilate and accept “There are exceptions to almost every spelling rule.”
You can’t say
“Yes, I will memorize all these spelling rules now so that I can solve all the questions in the test.”
Even if you memorize all the rules, still you find a great number of words that fall out of this “rules zone”.
What should you do then?
You can do two things.
A. Memorize all the spelling rules that already exist in usage by going through standard grammar books or online articles. Then, by observing the spelling patterns, try to discover some spelling rules in the words. There is nothing wrong in discovering new rules as most of the times your observations would come true.
B. Find the words that won’t fit in the Rules zone.
Make a list of them and memorize them individually.
This depends on your sincerity and dedication. If you really have the burning desire to achieve mastery in spellings, then your list may grow like a huge tree.
But don’t be frightened.
Every new word and every new spelling will take you to a higher level of knowledge of the language and career.
2. Visual strategy:
This method involves simply taking a mental photograph of the word and storing in the mind so that it can be retrieved when the need arises. It is quite powerful for visual learners.
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3. Kinesthetic strategy:
This is a technique known to all of us unaware of its name.
What exactly do you do whenever you feel difficulty in memorizing the spelling of a word?
Write the spelling several times.
Writing the spelling multiple times helps you without a doubt. Practice writing the spelling a lot of times and it is mechanically stored within your mind.
4. Divide into syllables:
Another simple technique to remember the spellings is, divide a word into syllables and say them aloud.
The word “AMATEUR”
Divide it into syllables.
Practice saying aloud these syllables several times and believe me it makes magic.
5. Pronounce the word as they appear:
Forget phonetic transcription
Forget silent letters
Just look at the word, pronounce it as it appears to you in the first impression, ignoring all the rules of English grammar.
The word “boutique”.
You can listen to the standard pronunciation here.
It should be pronounced as [boo-teek] or ( /buːˈtiːk/)
Forget rules and remember the spelling, by saying ( /bautikyu/ )
This could be often misleading and may not be useful in conversations, but in the spellings point of view it is certainly beneficial.
Now go through these words…
6. Create a backronym:
According Wikipedia, A backronym or bacronym is a specially constructed acronym created to fit an existing word. That means it is an acronym artificially created to suit its spelling.
A simple word “MAY”.
Fortunately, some nice backronym generators are available online. Just put the word into it and by selecting suitable words, a backronym can be created. For the word MAY, the backronym I created is “Magic Absolutely Yours.”
What we have taken is a simple word but you can create backronyms for complex lengthy words also.
This certainly takes a lot of time to create yourself. I don’t recommend you spending your precious time in making them on your own, so I suggest you two choices.
A. If you are part of a group of aspirants working hard to achieve good score in spelling tests, you can do this. Each member of the group takes a difficult word, spends some time creating a backronym. Now these words can be shared among the group so that you can save a lot of time.As discussed earlier, several backronym generators are available online, you may use one of them.
7. Play word games:
Here are some word games that will give you knowledge and entertainment at the same time.
8. Practice exercises frequently:
It’s nothing new.
It’s a conventional method that is familiar to all of us from school days.
Practicing regularly increases familiarity with words and that reduces your fear of spelling miraculously.
9. Take notes:
Are you an aspirant preparing for an English academic test like GMAT, SAT?
Then it would be definitely good idea to take notes of frequently misspelled words.
Even though right now there is a good range of “ frequently misspelled words” lists can be found on Amazon and internet, creating your own list is certainly useful. The list prepared by you is exclusively relevant and useful to you. The lists prepared by others may not be beneficial and suitable for you.
Keep on revising this list on a regular basis, so that these words seep through your memory layers and settle down there.
10. Use all your senses:
Whether you are a visual learner or an auditory learner, try using all your senses in memorizing the spelling of a word.
TOUCH: If you have the opportunity, play games like Bananagrams at home
EYES: Visualize the spelling
EARS: Listen to the word pronunciation. If any text to speech program that can read aloud the spelling is available, then it is good.
11. Mental associations:
Creating weird mental associations can help you memorize the spellings easily.
Make the association as weird and funny as possible so that it can be stored in the brain forever.
Here is a simple example to make you understand this technique
Imagine you are always making mistakes with the word “DESSERT.”
Instead of “SS” you are habituated to write with one “S”, then do this.
Visualize, you are participating in a game show and you were given a task that you cannot refuse.
The task is
Going to a desert, alone.
You don’t like it. Still you accept it, as don’t have a choice.
That means a reluctant YES
Then they offered you another task, and that is
Having a DESSERT.
You love it , you accept it immediately shouting “YES YES”
Now remember this rule
1.DESERT (single S)
2.DESSERT (double S)
You can apply this simple technique to any word. But the only drawback is you have to create these mental associations yourself. But I am quite confident, once learned, these associations can’t be erased from your memory.