Unit 18 - Spelling some common words

The more common the word, the more people expect us to be able to spell them. There are some tricky common words, though, because the English language is complex—partly because it is made up of lots of different languages.

Short words can be just as tricky as long ones:

  1. Often they are not spelled as they sound
  2. They can look very similar to other words.
  3. Our brains are good at covering up our mistakes, making our misspellings look correct!
Spelling some common words
A lot of our question words begin with wh. For example:
why Why are you crying?
when When is it time to go home?
which Which house does she live in?
what What are you wearing that hat for?
where Where is it? It's not here and it's not there.
who Who ate the last chocolate cookie?
whose Whose smelly socks are these?

In English, most words that end in the /v/ sound, end with the letters ve
live They live in a very small house.
give I'll give you a ride home.
love This letter comes with all my love.
have What have I done with my car keys?
English spelling learning revision Remember:
We drop the e when adding a vowel suffix but, even though the vowel is short, we never double the letter v:

living given lover having

Learn the Words:
Study this word list 'Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check' spelling exercise English spelling games spelling test

We’ve learned that a split digraph can make the first vowel say its name:

pale here life bone tune
a-e e-e i-e o-e u-e

Words that do not follow this rule can make things tricky for us. Here are some common exceptions that you will need to learn:

one One by one they went through the gate.
done At last I've done all my work.
gone They've gone to Florida for a week.
some Would you like some fish and chips?
come I'll come round to your house.
were What were you doing out late last night?
before Pierce the lid before before cooking.
English spelling learning revision Remember:
/or/ on the end is usually -ore.
sure I'm sure I paid that bill.
because He's not coming because he's ill.

Some words have vowels that are not sounded in them. Again, we have to learn these:
friend - friend
Learn and remember:
I to the end
Will be your friend
Spelling some common words
build - build
Learn and remember:
U and I
Build a house
Spelling some common words
people - people How many people watched the game?
beautiful - beautiful That's a beautiful dress you're wearing.
their - their Their means 'belonging to them.'

Learn the Words:
Study this word list 'Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check' spelling exercise English spelling games spelling test
English spelling learning revision Remember:
Some words use the letter o to spell the short /u/ sound.
some I'd like some help with this work.
come Come and sit beside me.
one You are the only one for me.
once I'll only tell you once.
done What have you done to your hair?
other Let's walk on the other side of the street.
another Would you like another cup of coffee?
love I'd love to visit Africa.

Many people find it hard to remember the -ould words:
could I wish I could remember this word.
would You would remember if you worked at it.
should You should learn every day.

Irregular verbs can also be tricky. Learn these words in groups of three:
do I don't know what to do with this game.
does Why does this word look strange?
done The dog has done something on the carpet.
go Where did you go last night?
goes Jack goes swimming every Saturday.
gone They've gone out for the day.

Learn the Words:
Study this word list 'Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check' spelling exercise English spelling games spelling test
The 'the....' words
they They are all my friends.
there There it is, over there, not here.
Learning tip to help your spelling
There is to do with a place; so is here and where.
Each word contains the word here.
their Their means 'belonging to them.'
they're They're all looking very happy.
They're is short for they are.
these What shall I do with all these papers?

To finish, a 'mixed bag' of words. They all have odd spellings:
any Do you need to learn any of these words?
anyone anybody anywhere anything
many I do know many of these words.
said She said we'd all done very well.
busy Don't interrupt me when I'm busy.
Learning tip to help your spelling
Remember:
busy + ness = business
sure Are you sure you saw a wild bear?
minute Sixty minutes make one hour.
The same spelling is used for minute, meaning very small. Write and learn this sentence:

A minute is a minute length of time.
woman
women
This woman sailed alone around the world.
Are women paid equally to men?

Learn the Words:
Study this word list 'Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check' spelling exercise English spelling games spelling test
More Words:
Study this word list 'Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check' spelling exercise English spelling games spelling test

You have not completed a Learn the Words activity for each word list on this page.

When you are confident you know how to spell the words, click the arrow to continue.

next part of the spelling course
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homophones for common words.

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Unit 18: Common words with odd spellings

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One of the students has put in a huge amount of effort in completing Spellzone at least 3 times a week since his arrival with us in January. Looking at his scores after the latest GL testing, his standardised score has risen from 99 to 131. This is a truly phenomenal result. I just wanted to share the best result I have ever seen.

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