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Published: Friday, 24 June, 2016 10:44 AM
Spelling words correctly is one of those things in language that is taken for granted. It’s a minimum assumption that people make with respect to language. If you are able to speak and read the language correctly, it is considered obvious that you will be a good speller of words too. But it isn’t so. A lot of people don’t pay attention to the way words are formed and end up being bad spellers, despite managing well with other aspects of language. Spelling errors can dampen an otherwise good impression made by a person.
1. Love words
The first step to become a good speller is to love everything about words in a language. This includes their origins, how individual letters come together, the patterns they form, their meanings, synonyms, antonyms and so on. Many people err in spelling because they have never tried to form a relationship with words, never thought about the significance of words. Developing a fondness for words and observing each word carefully is the first step to becoming a good speller.
Reading is the best habit to inculcate for acquiring and polishing language skills. Developing an inclination towards becoming an avid reader will eventually improve your spellings. It is one of the best ways to encounter language. This is because the novels, magazines and newspapers express language in its written form, comprising a variety of words. These words register in your minds when you read them repeatedly and also add to your vocabulary.
Every word comprises syllables. Breaking down words into syllables can help you improve your spellings. For instance, the word, ‘interesting’ is made up of four syllables,
Interesting= in+ ter+ est+ ing
Pronouncing the words and breaking it down into syllables will help you get the correct spelling of several words.
Working with the roots of the words is an excellent way of not only improving spellings but also vocabulary. Most of the words in the English language have Greek or Latin roots, to which different prefixes and suffixes are added. For instance, the word ‘aesthetics’ has a Greek root, that is, ‘aesth’ which means feeling or sensation. In words with roots that you can recognize, it becomes easy to spell the word. Confusion can arise with prefixes and suffixes. Thus, identifying the root takes away half the problem.
5. Memorize rules
Every language is based on some rules that guide how words come together or how sentences are constructed. Memorizing some spelling rules can help you avoid mistakes that you would otherwise make. Some of these rules are:
a. ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’- for instance, believe and deceive
b. 4. 'us' and 'ous'. Nouns end in 'us', Adjectives end in 'ous'.
c. The final 'e'
When the 'e' is followed by 'ment', it need not be dropped.
Judgement Not judgment
When 'e' is followed by 'able', always drop the 'e'.
Move movable Not moveable
Make dictionary your best friend and rest assure your spellings and vocabulary will improve considerably. Don’t hesitate to use the dictionary whenever you come across a difficult word and make sure you close the dictionary only after skimming through a few more words along with that word.
Consistent and conscious effort will ensure that you don’t let yourself down just because of your spellings.
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Writing regularly helps you engage with the language in its purest form, and improve your language skills. Daily para-writing is a medium to practice what you learn and should be taken seriously.