Do you want to know how to fix spelling errors? Learn more in this article.
Spelling errors can quickly derail your writing and make it look less appealing. If you publish something filled with spelling errors, you look less educated and may have trouble getting your meaning across.
Learning how to fix spelling errors before you publish any written piece is an important skill as a writer. This guide will help you spot and fix spelling errors using tools available to you and your own knowledge, so you can publish error-free work.
- Step 1: Learn Commonly Misspelled Words
- Step 2: Read Your Work Out Loud
- Step 3: Mark Down Your Common Spelling Errors
- Step 4: Use Built-in Spell Check Options
- Step 5: Add Your Work to an Even More Powerful Spell Checking Program
- Step 6: Have Someone Else Double-Check Your Work
- Step 7: Watch for Homophones
- Step 8: Print Your Work (Optional)
Step 1: Learn Commonly Misspelled Words
Before you can check your work for spelling errors, you need to know what words are prone to misspellings in the English language. While all worlds can have incorrect spelling, particularly if you are prone to typos in your writing, some are more commonly misspelled than others.
According to the Macmillan Dictionary, some common misspellings in English are:
- Accomodation > accommodation
- Wether > whether / weather
- Rehersal > rehearsal
- Commited > committed
- Persue > pursue
- Occurence > occurrence
- Wich > which / witch
- Wheather > whether / weather
- Embarassed > embarrassed
- Miniscule > minuscule
- Occured > occurred
- Strech > stretch
- Embarrased > embarrassed
- Responsability > responsibility
- Assesment > assessment
- Akward > awkward
Mark these down, learn the correct spelling, and watch for them when proofreading your work. These are just some of the common misspellings. Check out our comprehensive guide to common English language misspelled words for more.
Don’t forget that US and UK spellings for some words are different. For example, “flavor” is the correct spelling in US English, but “flavour” is correct in UK English. Always check your publication’s style guide to ensure you use the correct English language spellings. You might also find our guide on how to fix sentence fragments useful.
Step 2: Read Your Work Out Loud
When you are done writing something, the next step to check spelling is to read it. English grammar errors and spelling mistakes are easier to catch if you read your work out loud. While this may not be enough to make your work completely error-free, you will catch quite a few spelling and grammatical errors if you do this step.
Reading your work out loud will also help you catch readability issues. Sometimes, especially if you have a different language as your primary spoken language, you may not catch errors by simply reading silently. You might also be interested in our list of spelling bee words for writers.
Step 3: Mark Down Your Common Spelling Errors
As you go through your work, mark grammar errors and spelling errors that you regularly make. You might not miss the commonly-misspelled words list, but you may find as you are proofing that there are words you commonly get wrong.
If you can keep a running list of these words, you may be able to stop using them incorrectly in your writing. You can even add them to your word processing program’s auto-correct tool to have the program change the word for you automatically as you type.
Step 4: Use Built-in Spell Check Options
Many word processors like Microsoft Word and Google Docs have built-in spell checkers and grammar checkers. Use these as you start proofreading to get even more errors.
When you type in Microsoft Word, for example, potential spelling errors show up with a red line underneath. You can correct the underlined word by the right-click action. This brings up suggested spellings, and you can click the one that’s correct.
In many programs, grammar errors have a different color for the underline. Again, you can right-click to get suggestions, and simply select the wording you want.
Sometimes the s spell checking systems flag words that you spell correctly. This problem pops up when you’re using a word from another language or spelling a name quite often. To eliminate it, click “ignore all” when you click on the word and the suggestion corrections box displays the suggestions for the correct spelling.
Step 5: Add Your Work to an Even More Powerful Spell Checking Program
Once the word processing program shows you all potential errors it can find, copy the work into a grammar checking online platform, like Grammarly, or run the app on your word processor. These programs check more detailed grammar and spelling concerns and may catch errors the word processor missed.
To copy and paste easily, simply hit “ctrl a” to select all of the words, then “ctrl c” to copy them. Open the grammar checking program and click “ctrl v” to paste.
After checking the work, you can repeat the process to put the clean copy back in your word processor.
Step 6: Have Someone Else Double-Check Your Work
Finally, have someone else check your work. You can have them check spelling & grammar, look for proper nouns you didn’t capitalize, and make sure your formatting is correct.
Having another set of eyes on your work will help you maximize your writing and reduce the risk of any spelling errors slipping through. Be sure to pick someone who you trust to know their grammar and spelling well, so their input is valuable.
If you have a longer work, like a book or extensive essay, you may want to hire a professional editor. While this does create an expense, professional editors have the training to catch all types of grammar and spelling errors, including commonly overlooked ones, and will give you a greater chance of an error-free piece.
Step 7: Watch for Homophones
Homophones are words that have the same sound but different spellings and meanings. Homonyms won’t show up on grammar and spelling check programs as suggested corrections, unless it’s a robust AI program like Grammarly, because they have the correct spelling. However, using the wrong homonym is still a spelling error.
According to Scholastic.com, the most common homophones are:
These are just some of the common homophones. You can read our guide on the most common homophones to get more of them.
Learn the meaning of these words and how to use them correctly, and you can avoid some unwanted spelling errors that appear right at first glance.
Step 8: Print Your Work (Optional)
Print out your work, preferably in a monospaced font, so you can read a paper copy of it. Sometimes our eyes play tricks on us when reading on a screen, and reading in a different format will give you greater clarity on your work. You can also mark up this printed version to help you see how to better word phrases and fix grammar errors.
A monospaced font works best because the letters are all the same size. You can more easily see missing double consonants or vowels when you use this type of font.