Wednesday, June 30, 2010

S P E L L I N G . . .

I consider myself a pretty durn good speller. However, there are some words that trip me up every time, and with those words I have to play little games with myself. Some of those games have finally finally led me to the correct spelling without that tripping up. Most are my own made up games; however, one like the Principal/Principle I heard from somewhere or other so I know what to do when writing about the school principal versus the principle of the thing (the principal is my pal).

There’s separate—seems easy enough of a word, but I’d hesitate on it. Two a’s or one? Until I began saying to myself as I typed it: Sep – AR – Rate. Problem solved!

Shampaine, although I can’t imagine a time when I couldn’t spell champagne – oops! Ha! I just hesitated on the word until I thought in my head: sham – pag – nee. Haw!

What about obsess? – Hey! I just did it! Although I usually obsess over how many ssss’ss there are in obsess. Success—two c’s, two ss’s – this I know, but I suppose if I didn’t, I’d say in my head: Suck-Cess, teehee.

Accommodate: yup, two c's, two m's! Tomorrow Tomorrow I love ya Tomorrow - you have one M and two R's! These things I know. But sometimes the more simple the word, the more I second guess myself. Huhn.

Many of us may have words we stumble or hesitate over. Of course, if we’re writing in Word, our computer may fix it for us. But in twitter or facebook or commenting or . . . well, there just may be those times when we need to know how to spell something and spelling it correctly would be awfully nice.

What about you? What word(s) trip you up? How do you deal with it/remember to spell it right? Or, like me, are there some words you obsssesss about and can’t ever seem to remember to spell correctly?

(Be sure to visit Dr. Mahmutovic - he's on Blog Tour for his new release "Thinner than a Hair" and I am one of this stops *smiling*)
cartoon image

Update! hey - there's a place called "The Spelling Blog" - (see comments below) She gives tips and ideas for the whys and hows of spelling, et cetera


john bord said...

Spelling is a pain as is usage.

Difference between: There and Their or effect and affect, then my pet peeve.... Its and It's.

For me usage is a struggle as is spelling. There are times when spell check is no help if I can not get the skeleton out.


Titus said...

Just like John, I automatically type "it's" all the time. Even sent a letter with it in today - only noticed when I looked at the hard copy I'd saved.

The ei's and ie's still bugger me up a bit.

And athlete! I always want to write athelete.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I'm going to the blackboard now and write the word restaurant 100 times without having to look it up with spell check!!! LOL!

And then there's: separate, linoleum (who ever uses that word anymore?!), maintenance and so many more!

(BYW...I had to look up the spelling of all those words so I could write this comment! UGH!

Deb Shucka said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one with these issues. I'm a strong speller (something we come with, like blue eyes) but certain words just never look right, no matter what. Desperate is my biggest bugbear (I spelled it wrong here, but the red squiggles saved me).

Waterfall said...

I used to think that to pare an apple meant to cut it in half. So when I learned to spell "separate," I remembered the "p-a-r" because it was also in "pare," which meant to separate an apple in two.

Of course, that isn't what "pare" really means (I learned that much later!), but the memory trick still works for me! :-D (And the two words really *are* related--just not in the way I originally thought!)

Karen said...

Spelling is crazy. English things are spelled all different ways. I know Spanish and everything is written, just like you pronounce it. So thier makes my piont!

Janna Qualman said...

Anything with -ility or -ilities at the end, though it's more my fingers that get tripped up.

I'm a strong speller, too, but I was clueless over entrepenuer (see? I don't even think that's right) the other day. That one just stinks.

Janna Qualman said...

PS. I love that cartoon. :)

Sandra Leigh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra Leigh said...

Let's try that again.

It's amazing that you don't end up putting two Rs in separate. That's what I would do, if I tried to use that hint. Fortunately, separate isn't one of my problem words. I used to be an excellent speller, but I find that as I grow old, spelling doesn't come to me as naturally as it once did. It's mostly suffixes that get to me -- I'm never quite sure whether the L gets doubled when I go from travel to travelled - No, apparently not. Traveled, then. See what I mean?

Johanna Stirling said...

The problem with English spelling is that different words need to be learnt in different ways. If I can offer a bit of help to some people who have commented...

there/ their - just remember that 'there' contains 'here' - so there's a link in the meaning as well as the spelling.

its/it's - there is only an apostophe if there is something missing - the 'i' from 'is' or the 'ha' from 'has'.

separate - remember there's 'a rat' in it.

deperate - it may help to think of 'desperado' - the sound is more similar to the spelling there.

traveling/travelling - both are right, it just depends which side of the pond you are! American English uses one 'l' which is more in line with spelling patterns for other words (if a verb ending in consonant vowel consonant has more than one syllable we double the final consonant IF the stress is on the final syllable - so 'TRAvel' doesn't double the 'l') but in British English such words ending with 'l' (but not other letters) do double.

If you need any more help with spelling, please head on over to The Spelling Blog at


Jill of All Trades said...

Hate it when I make spelling errors and I know how to spell, really. I'm The Hubby's spell check but he's getting better.

Sandra Leigh said...

Thanks to Johanna for the tip re double L -- No wonder I'm confused. I grew up in the U.S., but I've spent most of my life in Canada, and now I travel to England pretty well every year. It's a wonder I can spell anything.