(And, practice makes perfect!)                        June 14, 2017


Way back in the fourth grade, I placed third in the school’s spelling bee. A mere two-syllable word that I’d never heard before sent me packing. After the Bee was finished, I ran to my classroom and got a hug from my teacher, which gave me a little comfort.

Which word took me out? “Adage.” Hear that heavy “d” sound in the middle? It’s heavy enough that I guessed in an extra “d,” which was one too many. As you can tell, heavy-sounding consonants, among many other potential difficulties, can cause uncertainty for spellers of any age.


What causes so many misspellings?

  1. Lack of spelling skills/knowledge AND/OR mispronouncing the word
  2. In a hurry/guessing/not consulting a dictionary
  3. Don’t care/don’t want to know


Here’s an example from an ad that I saw last week:  “Sterling Silver Jewellery Set.”

In my opinion, “jewelry” is one of the top misspelled words of all time.

My response: For most people, there’s no excuse. If you say it correctly (“joo-el”) and if you already know how to spell “jewel,” you CAN correctly spell “jewelry” (jewel + ry, “joo-el-ree”).


Many years ago I sometimes did small favors to ease the workload in another office. Whenever I did, a certain staff member there said with a grateful smile, “You’re a jewel.”


Practice saying the entire word, or start with the root word. In this case the root word is “jewel” (joo-el). Next, use it in a sentence: “You’re a jewel,” or one that you make up. I know this much: If you work in making, repairing, or selling jewelry, you’d better be able to pronounce it and spell it correctly.


Here’s my favorite, but also most-annoying, example of how mispronunciation can majorly mess up spelling.

Some USA folks mispronounce names/words, especially if they’re from the South; although I might excuse or learn to tolerate their mispronunciation, I don’t excuse a misspelling of those names. Some of you blog fans are in other countries, and you might not know the names of many USA cities. So, if you were to hear a name pronounced as “Loo-vuhl,” would you know what that city is and how to spell it? Most likely, you would not. But, if I were to say “Loo-ee-vill,” how would you spell it? Everyone has heard of a King Louis, and everyone has heard “vill.” So, should the correct spelling be “Louisville”? Yes, you’re right!

If you don’t spell well, what’s your excuse? Dog ate your homework? I doubt it. Friend borrowed your book? Nope, he has his own. You’re on your own, and YOU CAN DO IT if you care and try. Listen + pronounce correctly = spell + improve. Practice  makes perfect. Being an avid reader and writing and spelling well are important for life success!


How’s this for incentive? On June 1st this year, a twelve-year-old sixth-grader from Fresno, California, took home the $40,000 first prize, and more, in the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee. The three-time champ for the State of California and this year’s winner is a girl, Ananya Vinay. Ananya, an Indian-American, struck out on her second word last year, coming in 172nd and vowing a strong comeback. This year, as the youngest finalist on the stage, she spelled 35 of 35 words correctly, winning with “marocain.” I’ll bet she’s also good at writing. How does one achieve such an accomplishment? Not by endlessly texting and playing video games, that’s for sure. It’s done by being a good, avid reader and by studying spelling at least a couple of hours every day, which includes learning to understand root words. You can find out more at http://spellingbee.com/rules-prizes.

Vickie L. Weaver

Vickie L. Weaver

Owner at Writestyle
Writing has been an important talent and part of my life since I was a child.Professionally, after decades of employment for others, I founded Writestyle in 1996 to provide writing, editing, proofreading, training, and more to clients worldwide (www.writestyle.com).Clients often call my work “magic.”I have written and/or edited for “Coexistence Magazine” (national), for “Ohio Magazine,” and for various newspapers.In addition, I have edited or contributed to the writing of numerous books.Personally, I have written in various genres.I have always composed poetry; as such, I have won awards and publication for some of my poems, and I am compiling a book of my poetry.One of my children’s books is set for publication.With my second husband, family and friends in Ohio, I enjoy music and dance, aid charitable causes, and strive for beauty and harmony in life.
Vickie L. Weaver

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