Blog March 10, 2016 by St Giles

Avoid ESL Spelling Traps: Part I

letters spelling 'ESL' on books

An ESL Student’s Guide To Commonly Misspelled Words

In this blog segment, we present Part I of an ESL student’s guide to commonly misspelled words.

English words can have similar pronunciation, yet different spellings and meanings. There are also exceptions to general spelling rules; one rule for spelling is not always consistent. Common spelling errors are best avoided by learning and memorising the words that have been the most difficult to spell.

Except vs. Accept

‘Accept is a verb that means ‘to receive, admit or regard as true’. Let’s look at some examples:

  • I accept this gift.
  • She was accepted into Cambridge University.
  • I cannot accept papers that are late.

‘Except is a preposition, conjunction or verb, that can indicate someone or something is being excluded, or mean ‘if not for’, ‘but’, or ‘other than’. Here are some examples:

  • He invited everyone to the party except me.
  • I would attend the party, except I am too busy.
  • I like all dogs except I am not fond of terriers.

Their, They’re, and There

‘Their is a pronoun that indicates ownership. When someone else owns something, it is ‘their’ possession.

Examples include:

  • We visited their house last summer.
  • That car is theirs.

‘They’re is a contraction that means ‘they are’. It combines the words ‘they’ and ‘are’.

Here are some examples:

  • They’re going on a date tonight.
  • They’re the fastest runners on the team.

‘There is a noun that indicates a thing, place, or the existence of something.

Examples include:

  • His house is there.
  • There is a pencil in the desk drawer.
  • There is a chance that we could win the football game.

Who’s vs. Whose

‘Who’s is a contraction of the words ‘who is’ or ‘who has’.

Examples include:

  • Who’s going to the cinema tonight?
  • Who’s written their essay about Queen Victoria?

‘Whose is a determiner and pronoun that means ‘belonging to whom’.

  • I think that’s the student whose dress was red.
  • She’s the girl whose family lives in Devon.

You’re vs. Your

‘You’re is a contraction that means ‘you are’.

Some examples include:

  • You’re going to the party tonight, aren’t you?
  • Let me know if you’re working late tonight.

Your’ is a possessive pronoun that means ‘belonging to you’.

  • Is that your iPad?
  • This chair is mine and that chair is yours.

We hope this blog segment on ESL spelling traps has helped you to learn a few commonly misspelled words. We will continue to bring to you additional words in ‘ESL Spelling Traps Part II’.

For more information about any of our English language courses, please contact St Giles.