Spelling and Words Easy to Spell Wrong

Spelling is a crucial aspect of your CAE or IELTS exam. A misspelled word will be seen as a mistake even if you guessed the word right. Wrong spelling in your essay will seriously reduce your overall score. At times spelling can be as simple as just paying attention to what you are writing. Other times though it can be tricky, especially when it comes to words borrowed from other languages, namely the French ones (like connoisseur).

A comforting fact is that ability to spell has little to do with your overall intelligence. Many famous writers were known for being very bad at that (spelling, that is).

How to improve your spelling

The one and only surefire way to increase your spelling literacy is to memorise words. Reading helps and so does looking words up occasionally whenever you have doubts about the correct way of spelling them. You can use flashcards to revise problematic words. Anki is probably the best free software that help memorising things — vocabulary, spelling and much more!

British or American spelling?

As you should already know by now, there are minor differences in spelling and more serious differences in vocabulary. Even though mixing British and American vocabulary isn’t punitive, you absolutely have to be consistent with your spelling. So if you choose to stick to British spelling (e.g. centre, cheque, judgement) then omitting “u” in “valour” or “labour” will be regarded as mistake and scored accordingly. Here is a basic reference table to AmE/BrE spelling:

 

American English

British English

Color, valor, honor, humor etc.

Colour, valour, honour, humour etc.

Theater, center, fiber, liter etc.

Theatre, centre, fibre, litre etc.

Realize, analyze, apologize, colonize etc.

Realise, analyse, apologise, colonise etc.

Traveler, enrollment, fulfill, jewelry, marvelous etc.

Traveller, enrolment, fulfil, jewellery, marvellous etc.

Offense, license, pretense etc.

Offence, licence, pretence etc

Words with difficult spelling

a lot
absence
accidentally
accommodate
achievement
acquaintance
acquire
advice(noun)
advise(verb)
amateur
analysis
apartment
appearance
argue
ascend(verb)
ascent(noun)
assistance
athletic
attendance
balance
beginning
belief(noun)
believe(verb)
beneficial
business
cemetery
choose
column
committee
conceivable
conscience
conscientious
conscious
controversial
controversy
criticise
definitely
disappearance
disappoint
discipline
dissatisfied
dormitory
effect
eighth
eligible
embarrassing
encouragement
environment
equipped
exaggerate
excellence
exhilarate
existence
experience
explanation
fascinate
foreign
forty
fourth
generally
government
grammar
guarantee
height
hierarchy
humorous
hypocrisy
immediate
incidentally
incredible
independence
inevitable
intellectual
intelligence
interesting
laboratory
leisure
license
lightning
loneliness
lose/loose
maintenance
marriage
mathematics
necessary
neighbo(u)r
ninety
noticeable
occasionally
occurred
omitted
opinion
paid
parallel
paralysis
particular
pastime
performance
perseverance
personal
personnel
perspiration
physical
possession
possible
practically
precede
preference
preferred
principal
principle
privilege
probably
pronunciation
pursue
quantity
queue
questionnaire
receipt
receive
receiving
recommend
restaurant
rhyme
rhythm
ridiculous
schedule
seize
sincerely
succeed
succession
technique
threshold
tomorrow
unnecessary
weather
Wednesday
weird
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