Word for Wednesday: Neighbour or Neighbor

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for 2023 is tricky spelling words. This year, after sharing the definition and etymology of each week’s word, we will end every blog post with some tips and tricks to help you spell it.

So far in May, we've looked at the words embarrass and minute. Our third word of the month is neighbour (or neighbor in American English!). 

Neighbour or neighbor is the term given to someone who lives next-door-to or near you.

Here is neighbour/neighbor used in some example sentences: 

  • My neighbour/neighbor feeds my cat when I go away.
  • Our neighbours/neighbors play loud music late at night. 
  • Do you watch the Australian television show Neighbours?

This word comes from the Middle English ‘neighebor’, from the Old English ‘neahgebur’ meaning ‘one who dwells nearby’, from ‘neah’ meaning ‘near’ and ‘bur’ meaning ‘dwelling’. 

You can use the following mnemonic to remind you how to spell the first part of this word in both British English and American English: neighbo[u]rs live next door igrand houses.

Neighbour/neighbor is an example of an exception to the ‘i before e except after c’ spelling rule which you can learn about in Spellzone Unit 21. The 'i' before 'e' rule – does it work?. Why not test yourself on these other exceptions.  

British English spellers can also test themselves on other words ending in our and learn more in Spellzone Unit 25. Word endings: -er, -ar, -or, -our, re, a and -ery, -ary.

17 May 2023
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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