Dew yew no how two spell in English? (This should read - Do You know how to spell in English?)

What do these words have in common?

  1. DO - DEW*
  2. YOU - YEW
  3. KNOW - NO
  4. TO - TWO
*American English pronunciation

The same pronunciation. These are part of the long list of words in English that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings - HOMOPHONES.

The four pairs above would have the same phonetic symbols then:

  1. /doo/
  2. /yoo/
  3. /noh/
  4. /too/

To explore the topic more, look at the poster below:

Found the mistake?

This sign could easily have appeared on the famous FAIL BLOG, but it is a clear example of what happens to all English speakers and users - native or non-native.

The fact is, spelling in English is tricky and we can NOT depend on how we pronounce a word to know how it is written. We see countless examples of misspelling on the Internet, a reminder of how important spelling is in the learning process.

That's why countries hold spelling bee competitions, in which students battle to see who spells best and has the best memory.

Spelling is paramount in English especially because of words like the Keep Calm poster: homophones, words that have the same sound but are spelled differently. Add to this group homonyms and homographs.

So how is your spelling? Have you checked lately?

Since we're at it, take a look at this activity to practice the first of the terrible trio. Call me maybe.

For more spelling practice go here.

To learn more about homophones, homonyms and homographs, go here.


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