Session 1

Do you find English spelling difficult? Don't worry, you're not alone! Many native speakers also have problems too. In this session there are some hints and tests to help you improve and feel more confident.

በዚህ ክፍል ያሉ ክፍለ ጊዜያት

ክፍለጊዜያት 1 ነጥብ።

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Activity 1

6 Minute Vocabulary

Commonly misspelled words

Finn and Catherine talk through some of the complexities of English spelling with some helpful hints and practical examples.

Listen to the programme

ፅሁፍ አሳይ ፅሁፍ ደብቅ

Finn
Hello! Welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary. I’m Finn. 

Catherine
And I’m Catherine. In this programme, we’re talking about misspelt words.

Finn
Let's start by listening to Marcus. He's talking about his last holiday.

Catherine
And here’s a question for while you’re listening: What was the weather like on Marcus’s holiday?

INSERT

Marcus
Last year we decided to have a foreign holiday. We travelled by coach to Rome and the scenery in northern Italy was beautiful. Our hotel accommodation was great, and we had some wonderful meals in restaurants. The weather was a bit changeable until the third day but it didn’t matter. We got to practise our Italian and it’s a lot better now. The whole thing was a great experience.

STING 

Finn
We asked you: What was the weather like on Marcus’s holiday?

Catherine
And the answer is that the weather was a bit changeable and that brings us to our first common spelling mistake. Changeable is spelt c-h-a-n-g-E-a-b-l-e.

Finn
Yes, there are quite a lot of words with the letters g-e in them, and the e shows that the g is pronounced softly as /dʒ/, changeable.

Catherine
Other examples of words with g-e in the middle are manageable, management, knowledgeable and acknowledgement. And they all have the e after the g.  But what other words with tricky spellings did we hear? Listen.

INSERT 1 CLIP 1         
Last year we decided to have a foreign holiday. We travelled by coach to Rome and the scenery in northern Italy was beautiful. Our hotel accommodation was great, and we had some wonderful meals in restaurants.

Finn
Now the spelling of foreign is interesting. There’s a spelling rule that says you must put i before e except after c. And that’s a really good rule for lots of words.

Catherine
Like believe, spelt b-e-l-I-E-v-e and receive spelt r-e-c-E-I-v-e.

Finn
Exactly. Or field spelt f-i-e-l-d but ceiling, with a c, c-e-i-l-i-n-g.

Catherine
Yes, so foreign breaks the rule, doesn’t it?  It’s spelt f-o-r-e-i-g-n. And there’s no letter c there.

Finn
No, that’s an exception.And there are a few others like leisure and weird. They both have e-i -but not after a c. It’s really worth learning these.

Catherine
What other tricky spellings were there in that clip? We heard travelled. How many  ls are there in travelled?

Finn
There are two. In British English, with verbs that end in a vowel before l or r, we double the final consonants when we make them into past or continuous forms.

Finn
Finally there were three nouns that can cause spelling problems. What were they, Catherine?

Catherine
They were be scenery, accommodation and restaurants.

Finn
Scenery starts with an s sound, but it is spelt with s-c . It’s easy to forget the c because you don’t hear it. The words science and scissors are the same.

Catherine
Now accommodation has a double c and a double m and restaurant has the letters au in the middle. No rule for these I’m afraid! They just have to be learnt. Next clip!

INSERT 1 CLIP 2
We got to practise our Italian and it’s a lot better now. The whole thing was a great experience.

Finn
So how do you spell the verb practise?

Catherine
So the verb practise  is p-r-a-c-t-i-S-e. It ends in s-e not c-e. That’s a very common mistake because the noun practice is spelt with i-c-e at the end.

Finn
And finally we heard experience. Now is that e-n-c-e or a-n-c-e at the end?

Catherine
Experience ends in e-n-c-e. Whereas performance ends in a-n-c-e. And yet again  there’s no rule for these spellings. You just have to check them and learn them.

IDENT            

Catherine
And it’s quiz time! Number one. My sister’s new baby’s very loveable. But how do you spell loveable?

Finn
It’s l-o-v-e-a-b-l-e.  Not forgetting the e in the middle.

Catherine
You’re right!  Now question two: The word ancient – meaning very old - does not follow the usual rule. Can you spell it?

Finn
Ancient is a-n-c-i-e-n-t.

Catherine
Exactly, and question three: How many ls are there in quarrelling, meaning arguing?

Finn
The answer’s two ls.

Catherine
Double l, that’s correct, well done.  And well done if you got those right at home. There’s more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again soon for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both
Bye!

Downloads

You can download 6 Minute Vocabulary from our Unit 21 Downloads page. Remember, you can also subscribe to the podcast version

Vocabulary points to take away:

When words have a letter g in them that is pronounced softly as /dʒ/, the word is always spelt with an e after the g.

advantageous, ageing, changeable, encouragement, marriageable

There is a spelling rule that says i before e except after c, for example achieve, perceive. It’s a good rule but there are spelt ei after other letters.

foreign, height, leisure, neighbour, weird

In British English, with verbs that end in a vowel before l or r, we double the final consonants when we make them into past or continuous forms.

travel – travelled, travelling.

prefer – preferred, preferring.

There is only one l at the end of adjectives ending in -ful.

grateful, hopeful, skilful

Words that begin with an s, may have a silent c after the s.

scenery, science, scissors

The verb practise, is spelt -ise in British English. The noun is spelt -ice.

There are a lot of words that end in -ence or -ance, but they are pronounced exactly the same. There is no rule for learning these.

experience, sequence,  acceptance, balance

Session Vocabulary

  • Vocabulary points to take away:

    When words have a letter g in them that is pronounced softly as /dʒ/, the word is always spelt with an after the g.

    advantageous, ageing, changeable, encouragement, marriageable

    There is a spelling rule that says i before except after c, for example achieve, perceive. It’s a good rule but there are spelt ei after other letters.

    foreign, height, leisure, neighbour, weird

    In British English, with verbs that end in a vowel before l or r, we double the final consonants when we make them into past or continuous forms.

    travel – travelled, travelling.

    prefer – preferred, preferring.

    There is only one l at the end of adjectives ending in -ful.

    grateful, hopeful, skilful

    Words that begin with an s, may have a silent c after the s.

    scenery, science, scissors

    The verb practise, is spelt -ise in British English. The noun is spelt -ice.

    There are a lot of words that end in -ence or -ance, but they are pronounced exactly the same. There is no rule for learning these.

    experience, sequence,  acceptance, balance