Spelling tricks for tricky words, ed. 6




  1. an area set apart for or containing graves, tombs, or funeral urns, especially one that is not a churchyard; burial ground; graveyard

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: cemetary

Trick: don’t let spelling this word be the death of you, just remember it’s Easy, just use three ‘e’s




  1. a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: athiest

Trick: Lord help you believe the rule i before e except after a non-believer


[juhj-muh nt]


  1. an act or instance of judging

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: judgment

Trick: spellers using British English will judge you if you neglect the ‘e’, but not in a law context.


Spelling tricks for tricky words, ed. 5


[fahyuh r-ee, fahyuh-ree]


  1. consisting of, attended with, characterised by, or containing fire

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: firey

Trick: the ‘e’ does not act like the word’s definition – when met with a ‘y’ it cowardly retreats into safety.


[greyt-fuh l]


  1. warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: greatful

Trick: you will be grateful that you didn’t put the great in grateful.


[hyoo-mer-uh s]


  1. characterised by humour; funny; comical

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: humourous

Trick: humour us and use American spelling even in British English.

Spelling tricks for tricky words, ed. 4




  1. a cardinal number, ten times four


  1. amounting to 40 in number

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: fourty

Trick: naughty forty has no ‘u’, or, when I am four, I need ‘u’, when I am fourteen, I still need ‘u’, when I am forty, I no longer need ‘u’.




  1. a cardinal number, ten times nine


  1. amounting to 90 in number

Definitions from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: ninty

Trick: say nine-ty, not nin-ty, so putting an ‘e’ on the end of ‘nine’ makes the ‘i’ say its name.


[mi-len-ee-uh m]


  1. a period of 1,000 years

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: milenium, millenium, milennium, melenium, malenium

Trick: a millennium is so large, you have enough time to write two ‘l’s and two ‘n’s.

Spelling tricks for tricky words, ed. 3



verb (used with object), verb (used without object)

  1. to spell incorrectly

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: mispell

Trick: take the time to spell this word correctly by making the most of its two syllables: mis + spell


[v. sepuh-reyt; adj., n. sep-er-it]

verb (used with object)

  1. to keep apart or divide, as by an intervening barrier or space

verb (used without object)

  1. to part company; withdraw from personal association (often followed by from)


  1. detached, disconnected, or disjoined


  1. usually, separates. Women’s outer garments that may be worn in combination with a variety of others to make different ensembles, as matching and contrasting blouses, skirts, and sweaters

Definitions from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: seperate

Trick: use an ‘r‘ to separate the two ‘a‘s




  1. involving or suggesting the supernatural; unearthly or uncanny

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: wierd

Trick: we are weird

Spelling tricks for tricky words, ed. 2


[uk-kuruh ns, uh-kuhr-]


  1. something that happens; event; incident

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: occurrance, occurence/ance, ocurrence/ance

Trick: I see see (cc)  you (u) are are (rr) entering a spelling bee


[pas-tahym, pahs-]


  1. something that serves to make time pass agreeably; a pleasant means of amusement, recreation, or sport

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: passtime

Trick: passing over the second s is a good pastime for spelling this word




  1. to present as worthy of confidence, acceptance, use, etc.

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: reccommend, reccomend, recomend

Trick: one would see (c) it best to recommend the correct spelling of this word

Spelling tricks for tricky words, ed. 1


[ig-ner-uh ns]


  1. the state or act of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information etc.

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: ignorence

Trick: if you ignore the ants you will realise your ignorance


[pruh-nuhn-see-ey-shuh n]


  1. an accepted standard of the sound and stress patterns of a syllable, word, phrase, etc.

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: pronounciation

Trick: if you pronounce pronunciation wrong you will be nun too happy


[vak-yoom, -yoo-uh m, -yuh m]


  1. a space entirely devoid of matter
  1. a vacuum cleaner or sweeper

Definition from Dictionary.com

Misspelled as: vaccum, vacum

Trick: it would suck if you two spelled vacuum wrong

Spelling tricks for tricky words: an introduction

Spelling is




Ever been in that situation? Choosing a different word just because you don’t know how to spell the one you wanted to use? I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been there at one stage.

Worry no more.

Last semester I took a class called Editing and Developing the Manuscript. Each week in our tutorial we had a short spelling test, which fortunately counted for nothing.

This test was simply to, well, test our spelling ability. More importantly, it was to test our spelling ability without the aid of a computer.

Technology is a wonderful thing. But it has made us lazy, both physically and intellectually. We more often than not rely on Word’s spellcheck function to get us out of sticky spelling situations, but Word’s spellcheck is detrimental in numerous ways.

  1. Spellcheck can only tell you if the word itself is spelled correctly, and has no way of checking whether the word has been used in the correct context.
  2. Although endowed with a grammar function, spellcheck can make some horrendous grammatical mistakes.
  3. Similar to number one, spellcheck cannot tell you if you have in fact used the right word. “Going public (minus a letter)” can be quite embarrassing.

So I am endearvouring to improve your spelling by providing some spelling tricks to remember the spelling of tricky words.

These posts will come on a Wednesday morning at 8am AEST, to keep you occupied if I am late posting about my Tuesday Writing and Publishing Industry lecture.

Note: all spelling will be in UK English.