The spelling tag features posts related to English language spelling such as tests, quizzes and spelling rules. Some posts may refer to spelling in other languages, though.

Posts

The STAR Spelling Quiz 2016, most misspelled words

English Spelling Quiz

Most misspelled words

Test your spelling knowledge. We've put together some of the most misspelled words in English, according to the peeps at the Oxford Dictionary. Fill in the blank spaces with the correctly spelled words. Let's show them you know better!

The STAR Team

The Magic E in English spelling.

Magic E: Silent but Useful

The Magic E in English spelling.
English spelling rule: The Magic E.

Better English: The Magic E

We’re continuing our Better English blog with the Magic E. Also known as a silent E. This important and popular vowel can change the sound of other vowels, thus lengthening the sound of a word.

Rule of Thumb

If a word ends with a vowel and then a consonant, adding the letter E at then end can change the sound of the previous vowel. The Magic E changes the sound and meaning of a word, yet remains silent. For instance: by changing the sound from short: tap, to a long vowel sound: tape.

We’ve got some examples of words ending with E.

WORD ENDING WITH E
On One
Hat Hate
Bit Bite
Cub Cube
Breath Breathe
Tap Tape
Cod Code
Slim Slime
Win Wine
Sit Site
Quit Quite

Academics refer to the silent E as a marker, which means it doesn’t represent a sound but tells us the sounds of the other letters in the word. A marker makes the nearest vowel to it say its name — its alphabet name — A E I O U.

But there are always exceptions to every rule, especially in the English language.

More examples

  • love
  • glove
  • above
  • have
  • come
  • some
  • none
  • oven
  • cover
  • to live

It would seems like the academics who added the Magic E to lengthen the sound forgot about the old words above.

If you think we’ve left any words out of our lists, or just want to show us how much you know, then let us know in the comments below.

The STAR Team

Letter Q in spelling

Letter Q in Spelling, English

Letter Q in spelling, English

Master the Letter Q in Spelling, English

Q is one of the trickier letters to learn about in English spelling, as it’s often confused with C and K in phonetics. Here are the Q spelling rules to help you use it correctly and improve your spelling in the English language.

The letter Q is always followed by the letter U; at the start of a word, or after an S; it makes a sound like KW…

Examples

  • quick
  • quite
  • quiz
  • queen
  • quote
  • quantity
  • queue
  • squid
  • square

Some words end with QUE — these words with QU make a K like sound.

Examples

  • technique
  • cheque
  • unique
  • plaque
  • mosque
  • antique

These examples come from our Spelling Rules game, which helps improve your spelling skills. It was designed to help people with dyslexia improve their spelling in English. The game Spelling Rules created by Claire McNelis as part of her Master’s thesis in Digital Media at NUI, Galway. She wanted to create an application that would teach spelling rules in a way that was simple and accessible for dyslexic people.

Play the Spelling Game

Play the game for free by selecting the letter Q at the beginning. There are other games available too.

The STAR Team

Eason Spelling Bee improves your spelling!

A great competition we came across this week is being run by Eason. Eason is challenging schools in every county across Ireland to have fun and improve their spelling in a competition to find the Eason Spelling Bee champion schools.

In each county, a county Spelling Bee will offer to all schools the chance to enter and compete. The best speller from each county will go to the provincial finals. Finally, the four provincial winners will then compete for the Eason All-Ireland Spelling Bee title on Tubridy on 2FM on the 22nd of June in RTÉ studios.

The first prize constitutes a book library to the value of  €7,500 and every entrant wins a book!

All the county Bee winners who will be taking part in the provincial finals are listed as follows:

Munster

  • Kerry: Tommy O’Neill, Scoil Iosagain, Ballybunion
  • Limerick: Fiona Gleeson, St. Paul’s National School, Dooradoyle
  • Cork: John Corkery, Ovens National School, Ovens
  • Waterford: Roisin Daly, Liosmor Mochuda N.S., Lismore
  • Tipperary: Rory Delaney, Sacred Hearts, Air Hill, Roscrea
  • Clare: Emily Meehan, St John’s Primary School, Shannon

Connaught

  • Galway: Ethan Roche, Newtown National School
  • Mayo: John Ryan, St. Brendan’s National School
  • Sligo: James Devaney, St. Patrick’s National School, Calry
  • Roscommon: Shauna Mullen, St. Mary’s Primary School, Strokestown
  • Leitrim: James Clancy, Ardvarney National School, Dromahair

Ulster

  • Fermanagh: Cal Blake, Holy Trinity Primary School
  • Cavan: Adam Kelly, Killygarry N. S.
  • Monaghan: Alison McBride, Gaelscoil Ultain
  • Armagh: Elise Smyth, St. Mary’s Primary School, Derrytrasna
  • Donegal: Thomas Cavanagh, Saint Patrick’s BNS
  • Down: Àine Smyth, Holy Family Primary School
  • Antrim: Lea Carson, Pond Park Primary School (Host School)
  • Tyrone: Amy Clements, McClintock Primary School
  • Derry: Terence McLaughlin, Holy Family P.S.

Leinster

  • Longford: Ciarán, St. Matthews National School, Ballymahon
  • Wicklow: Rebecca White, St. Kevin’s National School, Greystones
  • Dublin: Edward Collins, St. Mary’s National School, Donnybrook
  • Westmeath: Bronwyn Smith, Scoil Etchen Naofa
  • Laois: Ciara Phelan, Scoile Bhride
  • Carlow: Raena McElwee, Scoil Naomh Peaders, Ballon
  • Meath: Diarmuid MacMurchada, Rathbeggan
  • Kildare: Ciarán Reilly, Scoil Diarmada N.S., Castledermot
  • Wexford: Conn McIntyre, Barntown N.S. (Host School)
  • Offaly: Gillian Razon, Durrow N.S.
  • Louth: Clarice O’Brien, St. Buites N.S., Tenuer, Dunleer
  • Kilkenny: Liam O Lionaird, Gaelscoil Osrai

Good luck to all of them! Have fun and do the best you can!

We also have an online Spelling Rules Game should you wish to test your English language spelling. The Spelling Rules Game is an app that teaches spelling rules in a dyslexia-friendly way.

The STAR Team
Updated: 11th May 2015

Better English: It's not its

What’s the difference between it’s and its?

Better English: It's not its, it's and its

Better English: difference between it’s and its.

How to use it’s and its correctly

The dreaded contraction! Fear not. The solution is a simple one to memorize the difference between it’s and its in your writing.

It’s

It’s is a contraction of it is or it has. Simple.

Example: It is always a pleasure to help you or it’s always a pleasure to help you.

Its

Its is a possessive determiner.

Examples: John is ready to help the company grow its business; a baby in its mother’s womb.

Perhaps the easiest way to ensure you are using the correct word is to separate them; if you can say it is, then it’s [as a contraction] is the one to use.

The STAR Team

Other references:Oxford English Dictionary: its or it’s

They look alike but have different meanings (Part 1)

Different meanings, Similar words

What are the different meanings of similar words?

Languid or limpid
Languid means something listless; weak or sluggish, whereas limpid means something clear or transparent.
Pretence (US pretense) or premise
Pretense is an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true. A premise is an assertion or proposition which forms the basis for a work or theory.

Examples

We reviewed an e-commerce website that claimed, “Our site has been built on the pretense that customer service is our priority.”

The marketing team obviously meant premise, i.e. the basis for the company’s devotion to customers.

Pretence is synonymous with faking; make-believe; insincere. This is certainly the last thing the marketing team wanted to imply.

Proofreading Advice

Spelling checks don’t pick up on these errors as they’re contextual; so remember to always have your new copy proofread.

The STAR Team

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

One L or two? Test your spelling skills!

Test your spelling skills with this quiz

Writing clear English is always hard but spelling can also be a challenge. Some words are particularly tough to spell. Improve your spelling skills with our quiz.

Here’s a quick test for you.

Choose the right word in each set of parentheses

  1. The central meeting room can __________ more people.
    • [accomodate / accommodate / accommodate]
  2. Success requires __________.
    • [committment / comittment / commitment]
  3. I was __________ when the plate fell on the floor.
    • [embarrased / embarrassed / embarassed]
  4. I’ve __________ so much on business I don’t know which country I’m in.
    • [traveled / travelled]
  5. We are looking for __________ suggestions for designs for our new brochure.
    • [inovative / innovative]

Warning! Answers below

  1. accommodate
  2. commitment
  3. embarrassed
  4. Both spellings are correct; traveled with one L is commonly used in the US, while travelled with two Ls is used in the UK and Ireland.
  5. innovative

The STAR Team

International Radio-telephony spelling alphabet

International Radio-telephony Spelling Alphabet

International Radio-telephony spelling alphabet

The international radio-telephony spelling alphabet developed by the ICAO

The International Radio-telephony Spelling Alphabet, listed

Below is a useful list of letter-related words for communicating a complex code, name or string over the phone. The standard is officially used internationally by radio operators and communicators.

  1. Alpha
  2. Bravo
  3. Charlie
  4. Delta
  5. Echo
  6. Foxtrot
  7. Golf
  8. Hotel
  9. India
  10. Juliet
  11. Kilo
  12. Lima
  13. Mike
  14. November
  15. Oscar
  16. Papa
  17. Quebec
  18. Romeo
  19. Sierra
  20. Tango
  21. Uniform
  22. Victor
  23. Whiskey
  24. X-Ray
  25. Yankee
  26. Zulu

NUMBERS

  1. Zero
  2. One
  3. Two
  4. Three
  5. Four
  6. Five
  7. Six
  8. Seven
  9. Eight
  10.  Niner

The STAR Team