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Correct Spelling in Written Work: Strategies & Tips

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  • 0:01 It Makes a Difference!
  • 0:47 Why is Spelling Important?
  • 1:50 Strategies for Spelling
  • 3:19 Helpful Tips
  • 4:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Katie Surber

Katie has a Master's degree in English and has taught college level classes for ten years.

In this lesson, we will discuss why it is important to have correct spelling in your writing. We will then discuss some tips to be sure you are using correct spelling.

It Makes a Difference!

If you were driving down the street and saw a sign that read 'Vote Four Smith,' would you feel confident in doing so? What if you stopped to eat and the restaurant's display read, 'Too for one?' Would you hesitate a little before eating there? How many times have you received a text or email and stopped at a spelling error? What did you think about the error? Did your opinion change about the author?

We are all guilty of making spelling errors. Perhaps it is that we are rushing through our work. Or, it could be that we do not take the time or know what to look for when proofreading our writing. However, it is important that we take the time to look for spelling errors in our writing. Let's take a look at some tips to avoid spelling errors and how to correct them, so it will be easier to avoid making these errors in our writing.

Why Is Spelling Important?

The ability to communicate is a necessary skill in any class or career. One of the most common ways we communicate is through writing. When we write, we are sending a message to our audience. We want that message to be clear, and we want our audience to feel connected to our topic and to us. If spelling errors are present in your writing, the audience will be distracted and may miss your message.

Your writing creates an impression with your audience. You want your audience to feel that you have taken the time to review, proofread, and edit your work before submitting it or sending it to them. This is true in essays, but also in emails or messages that you may send. If you fail to do so, you may leave your audience with the impression that you simply do not care. Finally, when you finish school, you will be looking for a career. It is important that you have an error-free resume, which requires the ability to spell correctly.

Strategies for Spelling

Better spelling happens with more reading and writing. It is important that you continue to practice and continue to read. As you begin to do so, you may also try some of the following:

1. Use phonetics, or speech sound

Sound out the new word and represent each part of the word. Just be sure that you are pronouncing the word correctly, which may require you to reference a dictionary.

2. Remember the rules

There are some rules in English that tend to stay true. For example, 'I before E except after C;' 'The letter Q is always followed by U;' 'The letter S never follows X;' 'The vowel Y ends words, not I.'

3. Learn the meaning of a new word

When you are presented with a word that you are not familiar with, take the time to look at each part of the new word. How does the word start or end? Have you seen this beginning or ending on another word before? Could these be clues that can help you learn the meaning?

4. Use a dictionary

This will help to make sure you are pronouncing words correctly and also learning the meaning of the prefixes and suffixes. You can also use the dictionary to spell check.

5. Finally, count on your memory.

Certain words can be intentionally memorized or even unintentionally through reading and writing. You could even make up some funny sayings to help you remember spelling.

Helpful Tips

1. One of the first steps to take when editing your writing is to run a simple spell check. However, remember that this is only the first step.

With today's technology, we are all probably guilty of letting spell check do the work for us. We write our papers, emails, and messages, looking for the green or red line to appear letting us know that there is a spelling error. We may then feel confident that our writing is spelling-error free. Unfortunately, spell check is not a guarantee. In fact, spell check will not fined words witch are missed used butt spilled rite. Run the spell check as a first step, but do not rely just on it.

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