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201 Commonly Misspelled Words: Spelling Review Study Guide (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

–ABLE VERSUS –IBLE

The suffixes -able and -ible are often pronounced the same way, making it difficult to remember which is which. When you're working to memorize these words, it helps to stress the a or i sound at the end, even if this is not how the words are really pronounced. As we learned in Chapter 3, the -able suffix is often added to base words that can stand alone (such as regrettable and bearable), while the -ible suffix is often added to roots that cannot stand alone (such as eligible and susceptible). There are exceptions to this rule, of course. The following are the most often misspelled -able and -ible words.

acceptable eligible manageable
accessible feasible noticeable
changeable indispensable susceptible
collectible irresistible usable
    Pay special attention to:
  • There are two cs and two ses in accessible.
  • The ea combination in the word feasible is pronounced with a long e sound.
  • Changeable, manageable, and noticeable all keep the silent e at the end of the base word for help with pronunciation. Usable does not.

–ANCE VERSUS –ENCE AND –ANT VERSUS –ENT

As with -able/-bile words, the similar pronunciations of -ance/-ence and -ant/-ent cause frequent confusion. Use the trick of mispronouncing these words to remember which ending to use.

abundance experience permanent
acquaintance guidance perseverance
apparent independence persistence
appearance independent pleasant
attendance ignorance reference
coincidence insurance relevant
correspondence intelligence resemblance
defendant irrelevant sergeant
dependent maintenance vengeance
existence performance  
    Pay special attention to:
  • Acquaintance begins with an unusual acqu- letter combination.
  • The ea sound is different in appearance and pleasant.
  • There is only one r in apparent and two in correspondence
  • Defendant is spelled with an a, while dependent is spelled with an e.
  • Resemblancedoes not have an e between the b and l, although it is sometimes pronounced as if it does.
  • The most common errors in this group occur with the words independence, independent, permanent. All three of these words have an e instead of an a.

I BEFORE E OR E BEFORE I?

These are the most commonly misspelled i + e combinations. Some of them, like believe and medieval follow the "i before e, except after c" rule, but many do not. This is a group for which there aren't too many memory tricks; sometimes, your only option is pure memorization!

achievement height medieval receipt
believe leisure neighbor weird
foreign leisure receive
    Pay special attention to:
  • There is a silent g in foreign.
  • Height and neighbor both have the silent gh combination.
  • Receipt has a silent p.

IT'S ALL IN THE PRONUNCIATION

People sometimes have trouble with these words because they are either spelled differently than they're pronounced, or they are often mispronounced. For example, many people mistakenly say the word across as if it has a t at the end: acrost. Similarly, restaurant is usually pronounced as if the au in the middle was silent: restrahnt. For these words, it can help to carefully pronounce each sound in your head while you're spelling them.

across congratulations grateful practically
again consistent jewelry preferred
allege desperate library privilege
always disastrous lightning probably
bargain environment maneuver really
basically equipment minuscule recognize
biscuit extraordinary mischievous restaurant
business familiar mysterious schedule
candidate February narrator tyranny
clothes gauge opportunity undoubtedly
colonel generally outrageous valuable
    Pay special attention to:
  • Allege and privilege do not have ds before the final ge.
  • Always only has one l.
  • Basically, generally, and practically end in -ally.
  • The word colonel is pronounced kernel.
  • There is no e in disastrous.
  • Extraordinary is a compound word composed of extra and ordinary.
  • The word is undoubtedly, not undoubtably.
  • Valuable does not have an e before the -able suffix.
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