The Dirty Thirty: Part 2

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Last week we wrote about The Dirty Thirty – a list of words that are often misspelled, even by people who consider themselves to be good at spelling!

These words often aren’t pronounced phonetically, or fall among the exceptions to common spelling rules – in short, they’re sneaky. We thought it’d be useful to come up with a list of tips and tricks to help you remember how to spell each word in the list.

Click here for part one of our advice on dealing with The Dirty Thirty, and read on for part two!

  1. minute
    ‘Minute’ has the word ‘nut’ in the middle of it.
  2. necessary
    Try using one of these mnemonics to help you remember that ‘necessary’ is spelt with one C and two Ss:
    “I drink my tea in one cup with two sugars.”
    “My shirt has one collar and two sleeves.”
  3. neighbour
    This word is spelt with the E before the I – remember that neighbours live next door in grand houses.
  4. nervous
    That sneaky U in ‘nervous’ is easy to forget – think of someone who makes you feel uncomfortable and imagine saying to them “Only yoU make me nervous”.
  5. opportunity
    Remember that ‘opportunity’ has the word ‘port’ in it. Break the word down in your head as you write it to help you spell it correctly: OP PORT UNI TY.
  6. persuade
    Please Erase Records Showing Upsetting And Delicate Examples
  7. queue/
  8. queuing
    Think of the two UEs queuing up after the Q.
    If it helps, imagine or invent two people with the initials ‘UE’ who you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a line with, e.g. Ugly Emma and Unbearable Eric.
  9. quiet
    Quiet: Understand It Ends Talking
    To help you remember how the end of this word is spelt, imagine an embarrassed person saying: “Please keep quiet about my diet.”
  10. quite
    Think of something you hate and then say to yourself: “It is Quite Unbelievably Impossible To Enjoy ____.”
  11. receive
    “I before E except after C.”
    The opposite of ‘give’ is ‘receive’.
  12. separate
    Look for smaller words in the middle of ‘separate’ to help you remember the order of the letters:
    separate - rat
    separate – para
    Alternatively, remember that the two As are separated with an R.
  13. sincerely
    Try working your way up from the word ‘sin’ to ‘sincerely’ by adding two letters at a time to create a new word at each step:
  14. surprise
    Sarah Understands Rude People’s Rudeness Intensely Shocks Emma
  15. until
    To help you remember how the end of this word is spelt, say to yourself: “I will only use one L until the spelling rule changes.”

Now that you’ve seen our spelling tricks, why not test yourself on these words? Click here for part one of The Dirty Thirty Spelling List, and here for part two.

Do you have any tricks for remembering how to spell any of the words in The Dirty Thirty? We’d love to hear them – Tweet us! Have a good week.

23 Jun 2014
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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