Spelling the schwa ending: er, ar, or, our, re, a

The most common way of spelling the schwa sound on the end of a word is -er. Next most common is -or, followed by -ar. Here are some examples:

Spelling English words with schwa ending Spelling English words with schwa ending Spelling English words with schwa ending

as in computer
or as in monitor ar
as in calendar
Adjectives:
hotter
sharper
lighter
smoother
braver
wider
tidier
nastier
heavier
...and many more
Other words:

baker
cooker
toaster
driver
dancer
rider
runner
swimmer
teacher
daughter
butcher
lawyer
writer
manager
publisher
anger
answer
deliver
differ
helicopter
...and many more

-ctor words:
actor
doctor
collector
inspector
instructor
-itor words:

visitor
editor
creditor
competitor
exhibitor
janitor
solicitor

-ator words:
accelerator
alligator
applicator
calculator
commentator
creator
dictator
decorator
demonstrator
educator
elevator
indicator
operator
radiator
refrigerator
senator
spectator
ventilator
-essor words:
aggressor
assessor
confessor
possessor
predecessor
processor
professor
successor
-rror words:
error
horror
mirror
terror
Other words:
anchor
author
debtor
censor*
donor
emperor
mayor
sailor
sponsor
survivor
scissors
-lar words:
burglar
cellar*
collar
dollar
caterpillar
circular
molar
polar
scholar
solar
muscular
particular
popular
rectangular
regular
spectacular
triangular
similar
Other words:
altar*
beggar
familiar
peculiar
lunar
sonar
sugar
vicar
vinegar
vulgar
Notes:
1) For learners of US spellings:
You will find some more -or and -er words on page 5.

2) Words marked * are homophones; please see page 14.

Learning Tip for English spelling The words above all end in the same schwa sound, but with three different spellings. You cannot hear any clue to the spelling so you must use your eyes to learn which ending to use. To help you remember:

Print this page and mark any words you are unsure of.
Group the words by their endings and think of some way to connect them. For example:

1. Draw the large outline of a car and write the ar words inside it.

Adding drawings where possible will help you to remember the words.

2. Make up sentences containing several words with the same endings. Your sentences do not have to be sensible! For example :

The professor, the doctor, the actor and the author all rode on a tractor to see the governor.

3. Use the 'Look, say, cover, write, check' method. As you write, say the word in a 'spelling language' so that the schwa sound changes to the normal sound of those letters. For example:

    Spelling English words with schwa ending
Spelling English words with schwa ending
doctor calendar

Note: calendar is one of the words most often misspelled by adults. Don't be one of them!

next part of the spelling course Go to the next page: Some practice in -er, -or and -ar words
Print this page
share this page:

Your current location:

Unit 25: Spelling the schwa ending: er ar or our re a
Page 2 of 14

Quick guide to Spellzone

Free Trial

Sign up today

Dictionary



Word lists and Games

Words ending in er
Words ending in ctor
Words ending in itor
Words ending in ator
Words ending in ssor and rror
More words ending in or
Words ending in lar
More words ending in ar