The following are some of the most commonly/easily misspelled words in English. For many of the words listed below, the common misspelled form of the word is in parentheses.

Spelling Tips

  • a lot
    (mistakenly written as alot)
  • all right
    (mistakenly written as alright)
  • convenient
  • definitely
    (mistakenly written as definately)
  • dessert
    (as in the sweet stuff, not the geographical term; mistakenly written as desert)
    Tip: Remember that dessert has two s‘s because it tastes so good that we want more of it.
  • forty
    (mistakenly written as fourty)
  • its
    (for showing possession; mistakenly written as it’s, the contraction for it is)
  • lose
    (as in “unable to find”; mistakenly written as loose)
  • mnemonic
  • paraphernalia
  • receive
    (mistakenly written as recieve)
  • restaurant
    (mistakenly written as restuarant, restraunt, and countless other ways)
  • separate
    (mistakenly written as seperate)
  • truly
    (mistakenly written as truely)
  • you’re
    (contraction for you are; mistakenly written as your, which is for showing possession)
  • weird
  • (mistakenly written as wierd)

Saint Joseph’s online university, SJU online, features teaching certificate programs for aspiring English teachers.

Tips on How to Be a Better Speller:

  • Do not rely too heavily on your computer’s spell checking program. While spell check may recognize receive written as recieve as incorrect, it will not alert you when you spell dessert as desert. If in doubt, consult a dictionary.
  • If you find that you consistently misspell a word, practice writing it five or ten times the correct way. This will help you to remember the correct spelling the next time you use the word.
  • Use mnemonic devices to help you remember tricky words. For example, remember this rule for spelling words like receive: i before e, except after c, or when sounded like a as in neighbor and weigh. For the exceptions to this rule, remember the following sentence: Neither financier seized either weird species of leisure.
  • Read! By being an avid reader, you will be better able to recognize when the spelling of a word just doesn’t look right.

Leave a response to “Spelling”


  1. Samantha says:

    I have checked with MANY people. WE all were taught in grade school this……..


    A lot means a lot of many of one thing.
    Such as……..I have a LOT of 2t clothes for sell.

    Alot means mean of many things.
    Such as…….I have alot of pink clothes.

    Over time things change….


    “Heroshema”…… “her o shema”


    Just a few examples.
    So the next time an English major corrects my grammar maybe they need to speak with a history major first…lol

    • Jessica says:

      Since the topic is spelling you might want to spell Hiroshima and diabetes correctly. By the way, the original American pronunciation of Hiroshima is closer to the way the Japanese pronounce it.

  2. Lynne says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I cannot tell you enough how much your tips helped me. I had to reread the tip about the word WEIRD because I always use the “I before E except after C” rule. WEIRDLY enough, I’ve always spelled WEIRD right without having to use the “I…E…C” rule. I grew up an avid reader and misspelled words jump out at me all the time. (An old boyfriend used to send letters full of misspellings which drove me so crazy it detracted from the content of his letters!)

  3. Christine says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to write these AWESOME articles! 🙂 I love to improve my English and your site has helped me a lot! Thanks! ^_^

    • karina says:

      the four published steps about “HOW TO BE A BETTER SPELLER”is interesting. those are good advices. Congratulations for this.

  4. John says:

    Your post is excellent. I’m running a blog about mnemonic devices and you know how to teach this topic. Mnemonic devices are my passion so I’ve decided to start a blog about this. I think I will come back very soon to share more ideas.

    Best regards,
    John from Mnemonic Devices – The Revision Guy

  5. Scooterch says:

    “…our students are come from extremely diverse backgrounds…”

    a mistake anybody could make, but poignant here: ‘…our students have come…’ (or, present perfect: ‘…our students come…’).

  6. Diana says:

    My father taught me how to remember the correct spelling of separate: There is “a rat” in separate.

    Love your site

  7. Barbara says:

    What so many commentators here are not aware of, is the fact that our students are come from extremely diverse backgrounds and education levels. Many are getting their GED at the same time that they are attending our class to acquire computer skills. A good number are ESL students, learning English.

    Our goal is to encourage them. We are not out to impress others. The blog is used as a chace for them to learn how to put comments on a blog or website. Some have never used a computer before, so this is a totally new experience for them….

    • Barbara says:

      “My 8th grade English teacher taught us “Neither the weird financier nor foreigner seizes leisure at its height”

      Liked this… will use it to help our students.

    • Barbara says:

      “used as a chace”… whoops.

      That is what happens when one does not proofread!!

  8. rameez says:

    Thank you
    It was my problem with when i used to write something, i do many mistake in spelling , but after read it. i shell over come on it.

    • zav says:

      You “shell” overcome it? Try the verb, “shall”, instead of the noun, “shell”.

  9. Daisy2011 says:

    Thank’s for tips. Yeah often times I commit the same wrong spelling of word over again. You just said type the word ten times and so you can remember the write spelling of the word. Is a great idea.

  10. Kristi says:

    I almost bought a TV on Saturday, but I went for a new outfit instead, a TV is the last thing I need right now!

    Need to know what the grammer error is?

  11. Peter says:

    If you want to be really confused about English, and how poor the general standard is, have a look at this priceless piece: http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~norman/Jokes-file/StudentBloopers.htm

  12. spelling bee says:

    I was in search for some new ideas for a new spelling test and your article was really helpful. I think i will quiz some adults too this time 🙂

    Thank you.

  13. ngwako machethe says:

    i havelernt a lot from visiting this website, information is still a lot out there, we should just go out to get it

  14. Rachel V says:

    Dill_Weed: Thanks for sharing the link!

  15. Anonymous Says: says:

    http://yourofficecareer.blogspot.com/ is terrible! That’s a college class??? Teachers are writing that! That’s funny.

  16. For me, as a poet, it was very interesting!

  17. Dill_Weed says:


    If you want to see some terrible grammar, spelling, and punctuation, check out this blog. By the way, this blog is written by people with Baccalaureate degrees. This is an office administration program at a state college in Florida.

    • Barbara says:

      http://yourofficecareer.blogspot.com/ …. The students that come to this class are not going to a regular class. Our class is for those who are working on their GED or with ESL. Some have never seen a computer before. The programs that send us students are WorkForce, FarmWorkers, United for Families, and Vocational Rehab.

      There are others… who lost their jobs and are trying to get better computer skills. We teach MS Office to everyone from the basic to the advanced. We teach those people who cannot get the skills they need through regular channels or cannot afford to pay.

      Our goal is to give them a chance to learn how to post a comment on a blog. We cannot correct grammar and do not shun their comments because of it. The blog is for them only. They are a special group of students who work hard so they may find a better life

  18. Rachel V says:

    Andy, you are right. “Species” technically isn’t an exception. This is a sentence that I learned in school years ago as a way to remember the “i before e” rule. I think “species” may be considered an exception because the “i/e” combination is used to form the plural of a word, so it doesn’t fit in with the typical “i before e” words.

  19. jake says:

    Alright. Your a truely convinient resource. This definately helps alot.

  20. Andy says:

    Sorry I meant the word species

  21. Andy says:

    Hello there. Why is the word receive the exception to the i before e except after c rule?

  22. Ann McReynolds says:

    My 8th grade English teacher taught us “Neither the weird financier nor foreigner seizes leisure at its height.” I still say it today, on occasion, right along with “i before e…” And I was in 8th grade a LONG time ago!

  23. Marge says:

    Ahh, I can’t thank you enough!!!!

  24. Marge says:

    Thank you all so much! I have to write an important letter and these tips really helped. Thanks again!