Featured Design Wordz blog article

Copywriting tip # 16 – Can you spell?

Some of the strict grammar and spelling rules you memorised so painfully in school may no longer be completely valid given the more liberal approach applied to the English language these days. As a purist you may be considered stuffy and pedantic but where does educated speech end and illiteracy begin? What I do know is this. As a copywriter and business operator the image of you and your business if reflected in everything you do. This applies equally to all your business communications as it does to your level of service and quality of product or service.

Improving your spelling is not hard. Take a few minutes and read on. You will be amazed.

Same 100 words

It’s worth noting that 95 percent of spelling errors occur in 100 words. Not only do we misspell the same words but we misspell them in the same way.

Memory is the key

Correct spelling relies exclusively on memory and the most effective way to train yours is by means of association.

A demonstration

Let’s start with the words principal and principle. In speech you can can get them as confused as you like because no one will be the wiser as both words are pronounced identically. In writing however, your spelling will give you away. So how to memorise? The words “rule” and “principle” both end in “le” and a principle is a rule. On the other hand, “principal” contains an “a” and so does ” the word “main” and “principal” means “main”.

Some people admit that their principal (main) goal in life is to become wealthy but such a principle (rule) is not guaranteed to lead to happiness.

In the first column you will find the correct spelling of each word and in the second column the simple hint that will forever more fix the correct spelling in your memory.

Correct spelling

Tip to memorise

All right Two words no matter what it means. Keep in mind it’s the opposite of all wrong.
Coolly You can spell cool. Just add the adverbial ending – ly.
Supersede The only word in the English language ending in “sede”
SucceedProceedExceed The only three words in the entire language ending in “ceed” and when you think of the three words in the order given here, the initial letters form the beginning of the word SPEED.
Precede, recede etc All other words with a similar sounding final syllable end in “cede”.
Stationery This means paper. Notice the “er” in “paper”.
Stationary This means standing. Notice the “a” in “stand”.
Separate Remember the “rat” in this word.
Absence Think of the allied form “absent” and you will not be tempted to misspell it “abscence”.
Conscience “Science” plus the prefix “con”.
Anoint Think of “an ointment” hence no double “n”.
Ridiculous Think of the allied form “ridicule” which is always spelt correctly. You will avoid spelling it as “rediculous”
Despair Think of “desperate” and so avoid spelling it as “dispair”

The lesson is…

The best way to learn to spell those words that plague you is to devise an association for each one. Keep an eye on my next installment in which I list more of those demon words always misspelt.


About Helen Ward

Copywriter Melbourne based Helen Ward, specialises in providing copywriting services that includes creative design, copywriting and marketing advice. Her company, Design Wordz was established 10 years ago. Design Wordz services small to medium businesses. Visit www.designwordz.com.au
  • http://au.linkedin.com/in/raykeefe Ray Keefe

    nice tips Helen. And it makes such a difference on the web if you spell your keywords correctly so the search engines can find you.

    Ray Keefe
    Successful Endeavours