Forgetting Simple Words
Why are Easy Words Difficult to Remember?

Forgetting how to spell simple words is a problem for many dyslexic people. However this happens to everyone from time to time. This is because we take it for granted that we know how to spell these common words. A lot of the time they can be more complicated than they seem.

Why do we forget how to spell easy words?

Many short words that we use every day are very unphonetic, meaning that the sounds do not match up to the letters properly.

For example the word ‘one’ is a very unphonetic word. If it was spelt phonetically it be ‘wun’ (see graphic).

Nevertheless it's easy to take for granted the spelling of the word ‘one’, nobody really cares it’s spelt in a weird way.

The same can be said of many other small words.

  • Know
  • Why
  • What
  • Where
  • There
  • Their
  • Two
  • who
  • Any
  • enough

With easy words like these we usually spell them from memory. Come on, how many times have you really stopped and thought to yourself ‘why on earth does ‘one’ start with an ‘O’ when it should start with a ‘W’.

We take it for granted that we know how to spell short words like these. Because they are unphonetic it can be difficult or impossible to sound them out if you forget how to spell them. This can leave you not being able to spell a simple word you’ve known all your life.

How to overcome this problem:

When you forget how to spell a simple word you need to add an extra layer of memory to it. This means to make it distinctive in a different way. For example if you sometimes forget how to spell the word ‘why’ just imagine the silent ‘h’ as a sky scraper in the middle of the word. That should make it stick in your mind.

To give you another example if you sometimes forget how to spell the word ‘what’ just think of the word ‘hat’ with a ‘w’ stuck on the front. For more ways of adding extra layers of memory to words click here.


Obviously you don’t need to do this with every short word only the ones you find yourself forgetting from time to time. It's an unusual feeling to forget how to spell an easy word, but don't let it bother you. Just add an extra layer of memory to it and it will stick in your mind.

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