Tag Archives: spelling

Quiz: Persistent Spelling Mistakes and some Orthodox and Unorthodox Techniques to Get Rid of them

The course is almost finished.

Admittedly, I’m in sore need of a respite from the pressure of end-of-the-course classes, but it’s also true that I have a lot of ideas to try and share sitting on the drafts shelf of my mind. Little by little they will see the light.

My students struggle with English spelling. Who doesn’t? Little by little I can see they’re making progress, but unfortunately there are some spelling mistakes that I keep finding in my student’s exams. A quick search on the Internet reveals that the occurrence of these spelling mistakes has little to do with your mother tongue though, admittedly, the quiz is based on my students’ spelling mistakes who are, for the most part, Spanish.

What about you? Do you also make these mistakes? Let’s find out!


Some orthodox and unorthodox techniques to get rid of these spelling mistakes


  1. Write them down. This is the dull, traditional but effective way of correcting spelling mistakes. Start with one mistake and write it down, at least 10 times. This was my mother’s favourite method. I guess it served two purposes: to help us learn the correct spelling and also to keep us quiet for a while. I can’t blame her. I have 4 siblings and there are 6 years between the youngest and the oldest.
  2. Do the quiz. Do it once and write down all the targeted words you can remember. Take the quiz again. Correct the ones you misspelled. Repeat procedure.
  3. Ask someone to help you. Write a list of the words you have trouble spelling. Write the translation in your own language next to each one. Ask someone in your family to call any of these words at random. Write them down and ask this person to correct them. Once you have mastered the spelling of the words, you might want to buy your helper a drink. He deserves it.
  4. Write a short story. Write the words you seem unable to spell correctly. Make sure you write them down properly. Read them several times. Write a short story containing them and give yourself a high five if you got most of them right. Warning: don’t ask anybody to read it. The story will probably not make any sense at all.
  5. Stick on the walls of your house flashcards with the correct spelling. I used to do it with phrasal verbs when I was at uni. It worked but my flatmates were not very happy.
  6. Use Quizlet or any other app to create flashcards. This app is great to work with spelling as it offers a variety of games to practise the correct spelling. I’ve made a short video tutorial. See it below.

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Photo via Visual hunt

Some Personality Adjectives Spanish Speakers can Easily Remember & Why

Do you speak Spanish? Then, it’s your lucky day today! Why? Because without you being aware of it, you know lots of personality adjectives in English. Unfortunately, in most cases, you’ll  still have to learn the Germanic equivalent if you want to sound informal, but we are off to a good start and besides, sometimes we all want to sound a bit more academic, don’t we?

A bit of history first.

Why does English have so many words of Latin origin?

Although some of the most frequent used words in English have Germanic roots, there are lots of words in English that have Latin origins.

This is due to the fact that during the Renaissance period, which started in France but reached England via France, there were a lot of new ideas or old ideas rediscovered. The problem was that there were no words to describe them in English, so the language adopted or adapted Latin words. In fact, during this period the English lexicon is said to have doubled in size.

What is more, for more than a century, the English aristocracy couldn’t speak any English. William the Conqueror had conquered England (1066) but he didn’t speak the language and although he tried at first, he very soon gave up. He was the first Norman King of England and all the barons he appointed spoke French. But not only did the aristocracy speak French, the religious institutions also spoke French. And that’s the reason why Latin words sound more prestigious than Germanic ones.

About 10,000 French words entered English in the century after the Norman invasion.

It was not until 1204 that the English nobility lost their estates in France and it is then when they started to adopt English as their language, but the Latin form coexisted with the Germanic one.

So, English has a huge number of synonyms, where the main difference is the level of formality, being the prestigious form the Latin option.

Think for example of the adjectives friendly, motherly or clever and their synonyms amicable, maternal and intelligent where the difference is the level of formality, being the Latin choice the most formal one.

So, these are some of the adjectives to describe personality you didn’t know you knew. Warning: spelling sometimes is different. Every cloud has a silver lining!

Source: Oxford Dictionary blog

At the end of the list, you’ll find a spelling quiz .

PERSONALITY ADJECTIVES SPANISH PEOPLE CAN EASILY REMEMBER

  • Responsible /rɪˈspɒn.sə.bəl/
  • Rebellious /rɪˈbel.i.əs/
  • Emotional /ɪˈməʊ.ʃəəl/
  • Anxious /ˈæŋk.ʃəs/
  • Strict /strɪkt/
  • Adventurous /ədˈven.tʃəəs/
  • Affable /ˈæf.ə.bəl/
  • Calm/kɑːm/
  • Considerate /kənˈsɪd.əət/
  • Ambitious /æmˈbɪʃ.əs/
  • Generous /ˈdʒen.əəs/
  • Sociable /ˈsəʊ.ʃə.bəl/
  • Creative /kriˈeɪ.tɪv/
  • Diplomatic /ˌdɪp.ləˈmæt.ɪk/
  • Intellectual /ˌɪn.təlˈek.tʃu.əl/
  • Intelligent /ɪnˈtel.ɪ.dʒənt/
  • Passionate /ˈpæʃ.əət/
  • Persistent /pəˈsɪs.tənt/
  • Practical /ˈpræk.tɪ.kəl/
  • Romantic /rəʊˈmæn.tɪk/
  • Competitive /kəmˈpet.ɪ.tɪv/
  • Aggressive /əˈɡres.ɪv/
  • Insecure /ˌɪn.sɪˈkjʊər/
  • Impatient /ɪmˈpeɪ.ʃənt/
  • Patient/ˈpeɪ.ʃənt/
  • Immature /ˌɪm.əˈtʃʊər
  • Mature/məˈtʃʊər/
  • Affectionate /əˈfek.ʃəət/
  • Independent /ˌɪn.dɪˈpen.dənt/
  • Stupid /ˈstjuː.pɪd/
  • Honest /ˈɒn.ɪst/
  • Organized /ˈɔː.ɡəaɪzd/
  • Imaginative /ɪˈmædʒ.ɪ.nə.tɪv/
  • Conservative /kənˈsɜː.və.tɪv/
  • Conventional /kənˈven.ʃəəl/
  • Cruel/ˈkruː.əl/
  • Extrovert /ˈek.strə.vɜːt/
  • Introvert /ˈɪn.trə.vɜːt/
  • Modest /ˈmɒd.ɪst/

On the hand, be careful with these “false friends”.

  • Sensible /ˈsen.sə.bəl/= someone who has common sense and is practical
  • Sensitive /ˈsen.sɪ.tɪv/ = a person who is easily hurt or offended
  • Sympathetic /ˌsɪm.pəˈθet.ɪk/= someone who understands other people’s feelings

Here’s a little spelling quiz.

The Spelling Challenge: are you up to it?

Is it definetely or definitely? Which is correct, possession or possesion?

Most students struggle with English spelling and no wonder, English spelling is difficult. Plain and simple. The best advice I can probably give you to improve your spelling is to read a lot and then if you keep misspelling a word, you might want to write it down  several times ( I’m sorry! I know it sounds like a very traditional thing to do, but it works and this is what is really important, isn’t it?). Doing spelling quizzes can also help, and it’s certainly more fun than writing the tricky word several times.

So, are you up to a little challenge? Then, try these three quizzes based on students’ common spelling mistakes found in Intermediate, Advanced and Proficiency exams. I have created them with the aim of helping my students get rid of these common spelling mistakes and I hope they are helpful to anybody visiting the blog!

 

This is how I suggest you work with the quizzes:

  • Start with the intermediate quiz even though you are an advanced or proficiency student. Life is full of surprises and it doesn’t hurt to double-check tricky words.
  • Once you have finished the quiz, try to remember which words were tested and write them down on a piece of paper. You don’t only need to be able to recognise them, but to remember its correct spelling.
  • Do the quiz once again and compare your written answers with the ones given in the quiz.

Good luck!

 

Easy? Good! Let’s take the advanced quiz now!

Piece of cake? Well done! Let’s try now the most difficult one!

I’d like to finish this post with an excellent piece of advice from Thomas Jefferson.

“Take care that you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a word, consider how it is spelled, and, if you do not remember, turn to a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well.”

(Thomas Jefferson, American president  1800-1809, in a letter to his daughter Martha)

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Giving Students a Well-Deserved Break- 13 Addictive Word Games

Ever thought learning vocabulary or grammar was dull? I’m pretty sure this thought never ever crossed your mind, but just in case you know someone who  might need  a break from the traditional  grammar and vocabulary  exercises, let me share with you a nice alternative.

Whether you have two minutes or two hours, spend your break testing your knowledge with these amazing vocabulary and grammar games, some of them from well-known dictionaries. Have fun and learn some new words along the way. You don’t have to register for any of them, although some of these sites offer this possibility for those students who want to track their progress.

My favourite? Yes, I do have a favourite. I am hooked on Fluent (nº 12) from a website called Road to Grammar. Addictive!!! Trust me!

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VOCABULARY GAMES

1. Learner’s Vocabulary Quiz (intermediate and higher)

A 10-question quiz you can try  as often as you would  like as they have  many different versions.

2. Vocabulary Quiz ( advanced and higher)

Take this quiz from Encyclopedia Britannica to test your knowledge of English words and their definitions. You have 10 seconds to answer each question.The faster you answer, the higher your score.

 

3. Topic Vocabulary Quiz (upper Intermediate and higher)

Select a topic -from the Animal Kingdom to Religion and Philosophy-, select a level ( 1 or 2), a timer (30 or 60 seconds) and the number of questions (10 or 25).

4. Knoword  (Proficient)

A challenging vocabulary game for the most advanced students. When you start a new game you’ll be given a definition, the first letter of the word it’s referring to and 1 minute to solve the problem. Guess the correct word and you’ll move on to the next puzzle. If you don’t know the answer, simply press the “X”-shaped skip button.

5. Challenge (upper Intermediate and higher)

This vocabulary game presents successively harder words. Read the sentence or phrase at the top and choose the most appropriate answer. You have 20 seconds per word. Play as many times as you want to obtain a more accurate score which will be calculated by the number of correct words and the speed at which you complete the challenge.

6. Wordbuster   (upper Intermediate and higher)

Type a word that begins with the given 3 letters, and press enter. Press space to delete the letters. Find as many words as you can, that begin with the three-letter seed. The longer the word, the higher the score.

7. Wordshake (intermediate and higher)

How many words can you make from the random assortment of 16 letters in a time limit of 3 minutes? Spell the words correctly and remember, the longer the words, the more points you will score.

VISUAL VOCABULARY GAMES

8. Name that thing  (intermediate and higher)

A visual vocabulary quiz you will get addicted to. You are given an image, four options and 15 seconds.

9Name that Thing  (Proficient)

With the same name as the previous one but sponsored by Encyclopedia Britannica, this visual game will test the most proficient students. You have 10 seconds to answer each question. The faster you answer, the higher your score. When you’re done, try again to beat your best score!

SPELLING WITH AUDIO

10 .Spell It (intermediate)

A 10-word spelling quiz you can do as often as you’d like as it has different versions. Hear the word, and then spell it.  You’ll have 15 seconds to answer each question. The faster you answer, the higher your score.The harder the question, the higher your score.

11. Spelling Challenge  (Upper-Intermediate and higher)

Select difficulty level : Tricky/Difficult/Fiendish and whether you want  British English or American English spelling. Click to hear the word and have fun.

A BIT OF EVERYTHING

12. Road To Grammar.  (upper intermediate and higher)
My favourite. I am addicted to this game. It tests many areas of your knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary and it allows two students to play . Be careful if you choose this game. It’s kind of addictive!

APOSTROPHES

13. The Apostrophe Challenge  (intermediate)

Do you have problems with apostrophes in English? Then, this quiz is for you. Choose the level of difficulty and improve quickly.

Common Errors 5: Spelling Mistakes

My favourite season is undoubtedly spring. The weather starts to warm up and you can enjoy the  warm rays of the morning sun while sipping some iced coffee on the shaded terrace of a cafe.  Sometimes, if  it is a very quiet place, I take with me the exams I need to correct and  what would have been a boring task, takes on a new dimension  I can almost say I enjoy it.

So, once again, it’s all about exams. June also means exam time .

Most probably you don’t have these speling mistakes but, just in case, check  or (much better) double-check  you know how to write these words because, trust me on this one, these are real spelling mistakes from B2 students.

This is how I suggest you do it.

1. Read through the list of misspelt words

2. Look up the ones you don’t know how to spell or check the correct spelling  below the poster

3. Take pen and paper and  write down all the words on the poster  you can remember. Repeat the exercises as many times as necessary until you feel confident  you can remember how to correctly spell the words.

Correct Spelling: comfortable, professional,discussion , responsible, successful, writing, necessary, recommend, appropriate, frequently, opportunity, immediately, foreign, conclusion, beautiful 🙂

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Spelling Revision with Spelling City

We are almost on holidays and students are beginning to feel the heavy burden of passing all their exams. It’s never too late to start studying, is it?

English spelling is difficult. There is no point in pretending otherwise but… nevertheless, students have to learn to spell so let’s choose a motivating activity to speed up their learning.
I plan to take my students to the computers room and use the excellent website Vocabulary and Spelling City.com.

Aim: to revise the spelling of words and practise their pronunciation.

Procedure:
♥Assign a computer to every student (or alternatively to every two students)
♥Tell them they are going to help their classmates revise the spelling of some of the words studied in this course. Decide on the numbers of words you want to revise and ask students to go to the website Vocabulary and Spelling City.com
♥Students type the words in the spaces provided and click on the button Spelling Test. .See pictures below.
♥Ask students to stand up and choose a different computer. Students click on Say It and Sentence to guess the hidden word and type it. Click Check me to see your score and then there is the possibility of clicking on the button Teach me where the word will be spelled.
♥You can ask them to repeat the procedure and revise new words. They will surely love it.

If you want to read a bit more about English Spelling, click here

You might also want to read:

A Game to Practise Spelling with Teens

Yes, yes… here I am again, struggling to find ways to teach my demotivated students from E.S.O. That’s why I’m constantly surfing  the net  looking for different ways to teach the same things over and over again.

This game can be used to revise vocabulary from the lesson and at the same time practise spelling. It goes like this:

♥ Divide the class in two teams, A and B and ask them to invent a name for their team.
♥Then, divide the backboard into two halves and mark each side  of the board for each team.
♥ On each side of the blackboard draw either:

a river with stepping stones for students to get across the river. The winner is the team that crosses the river first.   For every correct word they write, mark a stepping stone.


a ladder. The winner is the team that climbs the ladder first. For every correct word they write, mark a step on the ladder.
a mountain with climbing points for the teams to climb and put their country’s flag up on the top. The winner is the team that climbs the mountain and puts their country’s flag up first. For every correct word they write, mark a climbing point.
a daisy. The winner is the team whose daisy is wiped out first. For every correct word they write, wipe out a petal and after all the petals have been wiped out, then wipe out the leaves and the stem until the whole daisy has gone.

♥Call a member from each team up on the board and dictate a word from their vocabulary to them. The students write the word they hear on their side of the board making sure at the same time that the student from the opposite team cannot see what the other student is writing. So cheating is eliminated.

This has proven a very nice and exciting way to check spelling, listening comprehension and pronunciation in a fun way.

Many thanks to Barbara Koziori for this idea

There are also lots of sites on the web to practise spelling with the typical hangman game so if you have a little time to spare ,why don’t you try some of these?

http://www.hangman.no/ divided into categories ( Harry Potter,Countries of the World , Musical Instruments..etc

http://www.playhangmanonline.com/ also divided into categories , namely, music, sports , geography …etc

http://www.englishbanana.com/hangmanhome.html and that’s the place you want to go if you want to play the game with colours, everyday adjectives or household things.

If you are feeling creative or just need a specific category to work with (as is my case) , you might want to create your own hangman. To do this try this site http://www.what2learn.com/. It’s good fun!

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What to learn: a funny way to revise

I have found this site only today http://www.what2learn.com/ and I can’t wait to share it with you. It has lots of interactive exercises although most of the published games won’t be of any use to you as they deal with Maths, History and some other subjects.
But it has some games devoted to spelling and this is where you can do a lot of practice. I especially like the game  below these lines because it trains your ears too. If you feel it’s too easy for you , you can always click here and choose a harder level or play hangman or whatever you fancy.

This site also allows me to create my own interactive games and I’ve decided to try the hangman game first and see what it looks like….  awesome!!! Come on ..what are you waiting for??? Play the game  and guess the word before Grandma is abducted by aliens..  Target language : Sports. Level: Pre-intermediate

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