How to Improve Spelling Using the Peculiarities of English
The Weird Bits

There are lots of oddities in English that can be used to improve spelling. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a long boring stuffed up grammar lesson.

This page will be of interest to you if the inconsistencies of the English language get right up your nose. We can’t change the language unfortunately. However you can make these imperfections work to your advantage. This page will work well in conjunction with How to Remember Any Word.

Nothing is perfect:

The English language has lots of imperfections. This is good it means you never have to worry about making mistakes. With English everyone makes mistakes even if they pretend not to.

Don’t second guess yourself if you make a mistake who cares? Just make sure you learn from it, if you don’t you’ve missed an opportunity.

Word relationships:

If words are linked by their meaning they may also be linked by their spelling.

For example,

Know, Knew, Knowledge, Known,

All these words refer to knowing information. Therefore they are all linked with the silent K.

It’s the same for:

Psycho, psychological, psychiatric,

They all refer to the mind and therefore start with ‘psy’.

More examples,

Medicine, medical, medic,

Words found in other words:

Sometimes you can find words within other words. For me this makes them easier to remember. For example,

Sign, Can be found in, Design, More examples, Science – conscience,

Height - Weight.

Spelt in a similar way but not related:

Some words are spelt in a similar strange way but have no meaningful relationship: For example,

Light, Might, night, flight,

If you generally misspell words like these try making a list of them in your mind. Click here for a memory technique to help you do this.

The dreaded ‘o-u-g-h’ sound:

Though, Through, Thought, Thorough, throughout,

If you find these words irritating to spell try thinking of the word without the ‘o-u-g-h’, for example.

Though= th, ----,

Through= Thr, ----,

Thought= Th, ----, t,

The other way to use ‘o-u-g-h’:

Rough, Tough, Enough,

They all have the ‘uff’ sound spelt with the letters ‘o-u-g-h’.

Words with ‘o-u-g-h’ in them use to annoy me. However grouping them together like this makes it easier for me to remember them.

Similar examples:

Laugh, daughter, draught,

Again I find these easier to remember when I group them together in my mind. Grouping is a natural function of memory that can help improve spelling.


I hope that looking at some of these oddities of English has been interesting. Anyway these are just a few examples of how some words are connected in weird ways.

Dissecting the English language, in this way, can help improve spelling. Click here for Vowel Lessons that will also help you dissect words to make them easier to spell. Try to be constantly on the lookout for new ways of connecting and grouping words to make them easier to remember. Click here for more spelling help.

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