Five Challenges for 2019

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New year, new start!

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your spelling and writing, you’re in the right place. Our spelling courses are great for working through the basics of English spelling and our blog is full of other helpful resources. If you’re not sure where to begin, our Spelling Ability Test will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses and create a personalised pathway to guide you through our course. For those of you who are looking for more ideas on how to improve your writing, here are five areas people often make mistakes in. Pick one or more to focus on this year and let us know how you get on!

  1. Abbreviations
    Shortening words can be a tricky business. Should you capitalise an abbreviation? Does it need an apostrophe? What about full stop after it? Whether or not you should capitalise or use a punctuation mark depends on the type of abbreviation you are dealing with. Different types of abbreviations include acronyms, contractions, and initialisms – learn more here.
  2. Apostrophes
    If you struggle with apostrophes, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, we have a sneaky suspicion they’re among the most-often misused punctuation marks. When used correctly, apostrophes are either indicate missing letters in contractions or show that someone is in possession of something. Click here for ten tips for using apostrophes and here for some common apostrophe errors and how to fix them.
  3. Homophones
    English can be a confusing language to learn and one of the things that makes it so difficult is that it’s full of words that sound the same but have different meanings or spellings. These words are called homophones. Over the years, we’ve looked at many pairs and groups of homophones in our Commonly Confused Words series. In this article we share our top tips for handling homophones – make sure you never mix up your meanings again!
  4. Plurals
    How do you make sure you’re forming plurals correctly? A quick tip: don’t use apostrophes. While most plurals are formed by adding the letter ’s’ to the end of a word, there are some exceptions. We explore them in this blog post.
  5. Subject and Object
    One of the most common misconceptions people have about English is that ‘and I’ is always correct and ‘and me’ is always wrong. Another point of difficulty is when to use ‘who’ and when to use ‘whom’. Learning about subjects and objects and subjective and objective pronouns will help you understand these issues better and teach you to determine what is correct in each particular instance. All verbs have a subject, and the subject is usually the person or thing doing whatever action the verb indicates. The object is the person or thing that the action of the verb is being done to. Learn more here.

Do you have any spelling-related goals for 2019? We’d love to hear about them. Happy New Year!

10 Jan 2019
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"Thank goodness for Spellzone during this remote learning phase. The site is easy for students to navigate independently and they're really enjoying the activities and spelling games. You get an awful lot for your money with Spellzone. Really reassuring is the very prompt response with helpdesk queries. I've very rarely needed the helpdesk, but when I have, the issue has been addressed and sorted within a very short time."

Sarah Taggart, Oasis Academy Lord's Hill