General Question

Bri_L's avatar

How do I become a better speller?

Asked by Bri_L (12191points) April 26th, 2008

As many of you may notice in my answers, I am a terrible speller. I even spell words incorrectly with words that are spelled properly. I want to improve but don’t know how. i have done battle with this my whole life. Thank you.

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22 Answers

freerangemonkey's avatar

Read more. Reading is widely regarded as one of the best ways to improve spelling, grammar and vocabulary. And online blog reading shouldn’t count; grab a good book or mag.

Breefield's avatar

Get an in text box spell checker, what are you running right now (your computer)?
I’m a poor speller too, so I just keep a dictionary handy when writing papers by hand, but on the computer I use dictionary (sometimes google) to find the correct spelling of the word I need.

wildflower's avatar

My spelling is far from perfect, but I try. I have a few, conscious efforts I apply:

* Use spellchecker where possible and always take the time to read the correction you insert.
* When you look up a word, think about how you would pronounce it based on it’s spelling – not applying grammatical rules or exceptions. That can be easier to remember than letter by letter.
* When you are corrected on a mistake – by yourself or others – try to make an association for that lesson, some sort of one-liner to remember it by. F. ex. I used to be terrible at mixing up ‘advice’ and ‘advise’. My boss pointed this out to me and since then I always remember that ‘advice’ is a piece of information (stand-alone if you will) and ‘advise’ is a person (giving help or information)

Also, when completely lost, ask for help. I sometimes add the ”(sp?)” after a word I just don’t know if I got right and can’t spellcheck.

richardhenry's avatar

Read as much as you can, it really does help. Buy a newspaper every morning, and read some decent journals on the web (like Dean Allen’s Textism). Not to substitute a good book, of course. Also, Firefox and Safari have spellchecking built in, which is helpful when you’re on the web.

@wildflower: Rather good suggestions there.

Off topic: Is it me, or is it refreshing and beautiful to be reading a question asking how you can better spell correctly, instead of one where someone is complaining about the way everyone gets hung up on spelling?

Bri_L's avatar

Excellent suggestions all!! this is great everyone thanks.

I always looked the words up but you all have given me ways to think about the process so as to improve along the way!


Response moderated
responsible's avatar

Wildflower’s answer is just what I would say, but everyone has had great suggestions. The most powerful strategy for remembering how to spell a word is to look at your misspelling and the correct spelling side by side to see where you erred. Unfortunately, computer spellchecks do not allow you to see your mistake for long. Franklin Co. sells portable electronic dictionary /spell checkers which are useful when you do not have your computer. I carry one in my backpack at school.

wildflower's avatar

As proof of my statement that my spelling isn’t perfect….
”..pronounce it based on it’s spelling…”, should of course have been its (thanks for the feedback :) )

susanc's avatar

Wow – so refreshing. I somehow learned to spell really well as a child (phonics?)
but I learned a lot from this conversation. Kudos to Bri for asking.

gooch's avatar

Read more

Bri_L's avatar

@richardhendry – thanks. I am big on self improvement.

It just occurred to me that having a physical dictionary with me, and physically looking the word up might better embed the correct spelling in my brain. I use spell check, but I have become so efficient at it I don’t even look at what is going on. It is just a part of my work process.

richardhenry's avatar

@Bri_L: That’s a good idea. Actually studying the word itself each time would certainly embed it in my mind a little better.

TheHaight's avatar

I agree with the majority, to read more. I was the biggest bookworm in the 5th grade and won our school spelling bee!! I love spelling.. I still have my big bee trophy, haha

LunaFemme's avatar

I have a great dictionary that is called, “The misspeller’s Dictionary.” It allows you to look up a word spelled incorrectly & gives you the correct spelling. It also has a looks alike, sounds alike section. Best thing about it, it’s small enough to carry around in my purse or briefcase. People are always asking me if they can use it. I used to keep it on my desk at work & everyone was always borrowing it. Its really helped me become a better speller, especially with my problem words. I don’t need it near as often as I used too.

Bri_L's avatar

@LunaFemme THANK YOU! I have a Bookstore gift card burning a hole in my wallet and you just helped me use it. That sounds perfect!!!!!

SAWEET! (I am aware that is the incorrect spelling)

@ The Haight I want a bee trophy!

tupara's avatar

Crosswords and word games are a good way to improve your spelling osmotically (good for vocabulary too). Use a dictionary and thesaurus to help you and I’m sure your spelling will get better naturally; it’s fun too (if you like that sort of thing, I love a good cryptic crossword).

Bri_L's avatar

@ tupara – that is a great idea. I am kind of tired of sudoku. I never thought of crossword!

mvgolden's avatar

Bri L, I too am a horrible speller. It has been a major struggle in my life. I understand how you feel. While I am very good at math, other engineering skills and verbal communication my spelling still sucks. The only thing that I have found that works is to put whatever I am writing down and come back to it at least a day later or to get someone else to read what I just wrote.

The other thing I have had to do is come to grips with how bad I am at spelling and just accept it. I basically lost a job because I let it get to me too much when other people pointed it out. Now that I know I suck at it, I have made career choices based on it. I know what I am good at and spelling is not one of them. The way I look at it, it is not my fault that English makes no logical sense with how you spell things.

Bri_L's avatar

@ mvgolden – Part of me just wants to give up but it is a big part of my career as a designer and animator. But your comment raised an interesting thought in my mind, that being how often spelling is connected to intellect. If you look at the Fluther guidelines themselves they actually say they will remove a question or answer if it is spelled to poorly.

I started thinking about all the people I know with different levels of articulation and literacy and think how much I would miss out on as a person if I judged them on their ability or inability to spell or use only a select set of words.

Just some transient thoughts.

mvgolden's avatar

@Bri L It is tough not to judge someone on spelling. I do it too even though I am such a bad speller myself. I have found that I Google a lot of words to see if I spelled them right. It is the best tool that I have found to find the correct spelling. Once Google agrees the group of letters are a real word, I click on definitions to make sure it is the word I really want.

As to the root of the problem, I think mine is due to my ADD. My mind tends to move so quick that I often look over details like spelling.

Bri_L's avatar

Perhaps it is my inability to spell that allows me to overlook that in others. I just don’t notice.


LunaFemme's avatar

I’ve become much more tolerant of mispelling since the iPhone. Especially when it auto-corrects for me when I didn’t ask it too. Sometimes I catch it, most times not!!

@Bri: I hope the dictionary works for you. I found that spell checkers, while great for correcting words, didn’t help me retain the correct spelling as much. I learn better tactilaily (sp?). Also, I use heavily.

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