Spelling - Reviewing and editing your work

Success in Academic Writing - Trevor Day 2018

Reviewing and editing your work

Modern English spelling is challenging because English is such a hybrid language. It has grown over more than 1,500 years from many roots, including Anglo-Saxon, Norse, French, Latin and Greek. As a result, the spelling of English words can be cussedly unpredictable, with the sound of a word not necessarily being a reliable guide to how it is spelt. Many words that sound the same have different spellings as well as different meanings, for example: to, too and two; their and there; compliment and complement; practice and practise; principle and principal; and wait and weight.

If you have difficulties with spelling, consider fine-tuning a visual spelling strategy. This involves linking the sound and meaning of a word with an internal image of the correctly spelt word in your mind’s eye. Dilts and DeLozier (2000, pp. 1285-1290) describe a visual spelling technique that works for at least some people. Chapter 3 of Peck and Coyle (2012a) includes a helpful guide to some of the rules of English spelling. Betteridge (2011) is an adult learner’s guide to spelling with a refreshingly accessible and visual approach, also appropriate for those with dyslexia.