Friday, April 10, 2009

The 11 Types of Tricky Words

There are a lot of reasons why people misspell words. It's therefore important to recognize the different sources of difficulty so that they may be addressed. AVKO's materials work to alleviate the different reasons why your children and students misspell words; perhaps you even find yourself having some of these problems.

See also: The Teaching of Reading and Spelling: A Continuum from Kindergarten through College (available for free as an e-book with AVKO membership) and The Tricky Words, our popular book that confronts the most entrenched errors relating to these common problems.

1. Homonyms, such as: be, bee, Bea, B.
2. Dialect dependent homonyms, such as: ant, aunt. (In dialects in which aunt rhymes with haunt, aunt, and ant technically aren't homonyms.
3. Heteronyms, such as lead and lead.
4. Typography dependent homographs such as resume and résumé.
5. Similarity of configuration words such as: solder, soldier, solider.
6. Similarity (even identity) of letters in words whose only significant difference is in the transpositions such as in: expect and except.
7. Look-alike letters: n/u n/r n/c e/a being the only difference as in: change and charge; superstitions and superstitious; and ancient, accent, and accident.
8. Words of almost identical meanings but whose pronunciation is ACCENT-DEPENDENT upon the part of speech as in: RECord & reCORD.
9. Words that have two or more acceptable spellings such as: Channukah, Hanukah.
10. Malaprop-prone words such as to circumcise instead of circumscribe.
11. Words easily distinguishable in their base form that can cause problems in other forms such as hop and hope can be misspelled in the -ed and -ing forms.

We are sure you may find a different number of categories into which you may wish to place these words.

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