Tricky English Spellings

As we all know, there are 26 alphabets in English and the words in English are formed using these alphabets.

All of us are introduced to the world of “letters” in our kindergarten. First we are made familiar with the alphabets, in the next step pronunciation of each letters are taught. Then each alphabet is related to a word. For example – A for Apple, B for Bat, C for Cat and so on. This makes it easier for the child to remember the letters. Another way usually followed is to use all the alphabets in order in a song and make the child to sing it repeatedly.

As the child grows older, they are made to learn words with correct spelling and pronunciation. Each day new words are added to improve their vocabulary. Learning spellings of each word may sometimes be very easy and sometimes very tricky and difficult.

In English language, there are words pronounced similarly but spellings are different – read (a book) , red (colour). There are other words which have same spellings but pronounced differently – tear (to rip apart), tear – (in the eye). Some other words have same spellings, same pronunciation but totally different meanings – like bat (it’s a bird as well as used in a game to hit a ball).

Then there are words in which letter are silent, means they are written in the words but not pronounced like – “know” where “k” is not pronounced, “climb” where “b” is silent.

There are some words which are borrowed from other languages – like “Safari” borrowed from Arabic, “Cartoon” from Italian, “Cookie” from Dutch, “Karaoke” from Japanese and many more.

Some words are very confusing even though they are pronounced and spelled differently – like “affect” and “effect”, “compliment” and “complement”, “advice” and “advise” and many more.

So we can conclude that English spellings can’t be learned in one particular way only. We may need to know how to pronounce it correctly, sometimes get to know where the word originated, at other times its usage in a sentence etc.

Learning new words, using it in day-to-day conversation to express views and ideas in written or verbal form should be a never ending process.As this is a gift bestowed upon humans only, we should try to use it to our full potential.


Sajina Biju

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